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Monday, Dec 22, 2014
Crime & Courts

Pasco bus assistant slapped autistic child, deputies say

BY JOSÉ PATIÑO GIRONA
Tribune staff

Published:   |   Updated: June 9, 2014 at 05:28 AM

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A Pasco County School District bus assistant was arrested Friday after he twice slapped a student with autism on a school bus, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.

James Lambert, 57, of Hudson, was charged with child abuse, the sheriff’s office said.

Lambert was on a school bus working as a bus assistant when a 10-year-old child with autism began to curse. He yelled at the student, “If I come back there you’re gonna get it,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Lambert, who is 6-foot-1 and weighs 250 pounds, walked back and sat across the student, who was restrained in a harness. He slapped the student across the face, making the student’s head turn completely to the right, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said that he then yelled at the student, “Say it one more time. Did you like it?”

Fifteen minutes after striking the student, he slapped the student again, the sheriff’s office said.

The incident was caught on video in the school bus, the sheriff’s office said.

But when a detective met with Lambert, he denied it. He told investigators that the student slapped himself.

Lambert is no longer with the Pasco County School District, the sheriff’s office said.

jpatino@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7659

Twitter: @jpatinoTBO

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