BEVERLY — Former school bus driver Pauline Cloyd’s lawyer admitted it was a mistake for her to leave a 6-year-old boy outside his empty, locked home one cold, rainy afternoon last month.
But was it a crime?
Beverly police and the child’s mother think so. And yesterday, Cloyd, 66, of Beverly, appeared in Salem District Court to face a charge of child endangerment. The bus monitor, Walter Jankowski, 65, of Beverly, is facing the same charge.
Cloyd’s arraignment was postponed on procedural grounds yesterday, as her attorney, Travis Pregent, called the charge against the 35-year veteran bus driver “outrageous.”
“From the perspective of the 6-year-old and his mother and father, it’s certainly the furthest thing from outrageous,” countered prosecutor Patrick Collins.
On the morning of Monday, Jan. 6, the boy’s mother told staffers at St. John the Evangelist School that her son would be taking the school bus to her office that afternoon because she had to work that day. Normally, the boy rode the bus to the office only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
And that afternoon, the 6-year-old made a point of telling Jankowski, the bus monitor, that he was supposed to go to his mom’s office.
Both Jankowski and Cloyd second-guessed the child, telling him that because it wasn’t Tuesday or Thursday, they wouldn’t drop him off, the police report states. And as they passed the business, they later told investigators, they saw no one outside waiting for him.
The bus traveled another two miles to the school bus stop near the child’s home.
The boy told Cloyd and Jankowski that there was no one home. And, just like at the clinic, there was no one at the stop waiting for him. The boy told them again that his mom was at work.