Police say a Beaver County bus monitor assaulted a five-year-old girl, but he told Channel 11 he didn't assault her – he was only joking.
He didn't want to go on camera, but Channel 11 spoke one on one with Thomas Sargeson Jr., a former bus monitor for Rhodes Bus Company who was fired after being charged with hurting the girl.
Economy Borough police say Sargeson assaulted the child, who attends Economy Elementary School, during the girl’s bus ride home in late November.
According to the criminal complaint, Sargeson grabbed the back of the child's neck because she wouldn't stay in her seat. Police said Sargeson told the girl, “This is all your fault. I told you to stay in your seat. I only did this to keep you safe."
Police allege video and audio from the bus caught Sargeson saying that he was "going to get a pair of scissors and cut her hair off "
Sargeson, a former corrections officer, told Channel 11 police got it wrong.
"I did not assault her,” he said. “She is a troubled child who was misbehaving on the bus. I joked with the children and I was joking when I said I would cut her hair."
School officials in Ambridge are not waiting for this to play out in the courts, but told Channel 11 they informed the bus company that Sargeson would no longer be allowed to be on board any bus associated with the Ambridge Area School District.
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