West Tisbury School bus driver charged with indecent assault

Mr. Bills was arraigned at Dukes County Courthouse on Friday. — File photo by Susan Safford

A West Tisbury School bus driver faces two charges of indecent assault and battery on a young girl, a charge of assault and battery, and a charge of enticement of a child under 16, arising from a series of incidents that occurred between 2009 and 2010.

Mark A. Bergeron, 47, of Edgartown, was arraigned on the four charges on November 7, in Edgartown District Court.

The victim told police the crimes began when she was nine years old and continued for a year and a half.

According to the police report, Mr. Bergeron used threats and intimidation to discourage the child from telling an adult and used the social media site Facebook to make contact with her.

The court entered not guilty pleas for Mr. Bergeron at his arraignment. He was released on $1,000 bail. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim and not to return to his job as a bus driver.

The investigation began on October 14, when West Tisbury police received a report from Tisbury police concerning a sexual assault. Police notified the West Tisbury School principal, Donna Lowell-Bettencourt, of their investigation that day “to prevent any more possible trauma to another child,” according to the report.

Superintendent James Weiss called police the next morning to advise them that Mr. Bergeron had been immediately suspended with pay from the bus driver position.

According to police, at the time of the incidents, Mr. Bergeron was involved in a relationship with the victim’s mother. The report described many instances of inappropriate sexual behavior including forcing the victim to kiss him, forcing her to touch his genitals, and frequently exposing himself. The incidents happened at the victim’s home, and during a Caribbean vacation.

The police report describes a pattern of Mr. Bergeron visiting the victim when she was alone or with other young girls, at times when Mr. Bergeron knew the child’s mother was not at home.

The police report also describes inappropriate sexual behavior with two other young girls, but Mr. Bergeron has not been charged in those matters. The sexual abuse came to the attention of police after the three girls spoke to each other and decided to speak to their mothers, according to the police report.

Mr. Bergeron could not be reached Friday afternoon for comment.