NORTH ADAMS — A school bus driver is facing charges for allegedly assaulting a local elementary school student over many years.
Peter Miner, 63, of Savoy, is accused of inappropriately touching the student's buttocks and attempting to kiss the student starting when they were in the third grade, according to a criminal complaint filed in Northern Berkshire District Court by state police.
The investigation began May 2, when the Berkshire District Attorney's Office received a report from the Department of Children and Families detailing sexual assault beginning five years ago that was only recently reported by the student to school officials.
The student was interviewed May 11 by Pittsfield Police Officer Kim Bertelli through the Berkshire County Sexual Assault Intervention Network, which includes personnel from various agencies, including police.
Beginning when the student was in third grade, Miner allegedly would kiss them or ask them to kiss him, as well as touch their buttocks when the student was the lone occupant on the bus.
The student said the behavior happened so many times that they could not put a number to it. They said they had not seen Miner engage in this behavior with any other students.
In the most recent incident, Miner allegedly hugged the student — then in sixth grade — and would not let go.
A representative of the bus company, DuFour Tours, told The Eagle that Miner is on leave until the proceedings are complete, per the company's policy when notified of an investigation into a driver.
Michael Fletcher, contract manager for DuFour's North Adams office, said DuFour conducts criminal record checks on its drivers annually, as well as license checks with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
"All that stuff is very closely watched," he said.
Miner, of Hawley Road, pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Friday to two counts of aggravated and indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and a single count of enticing a child.
He was released on personal recognizance and on the conditions that he not have indirect or direct contact with the student.
Miner was represented at his arraignment by attorney Sarah Morse-Field, but does not currently have legal representation, according to court documents.
He is next scheduled to appear in court June 27 for a pretrial hearing.
Adam Shanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.