SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 4, 2013

Man charged with sex assaults

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — A Salem man was ordered held on $1,000 cash bail following his arraignment yesterday on charges that he molested two disabled young women on a van he had been hired to drive for a private transportation company.

Robert T. Buckley, 64, pleaded not guilty to four counts of indecent assault and battery on a developmentally or intellectually disabled person and a charge of witness intimidation yesterday in Chelsea District Court.

Buckley allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulted the two passengers on his MassTran Transportation van during rides from East Boston to Malden last month, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley’s office announced.

The alleged assaults were caught by a surveillance camera on the van, prosecutors said.

Conley called the incidents “shocking and disturbing.”

“These victims were made vulnerable by a disability that this man allegedly exploited,” Conley said in a press release announcing the charges.

MassTran routinely reviews video from inside their vehicles, prosecutors said. On Nov. 18, an administrator saw surveillance footage showing Buckley trying to cover the camera on his van with a baseball cap — unsuccessfully, as it turns out.

With the lens only partially covered, the camera captured Buckley assaulting one of the young women, prosecutors said.

Buckley was fired, and MassTran notified the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, prosecutors said.

Police reviewed additional surveillance video from the van and discovered other incidents.

Questioned by police yesterday morning, Buckley allegedly told troopers he had told one of the women not to disclose the assaults, prosecutors said.

While prosecutor Ursula Knight had sought a $10,000 bail, Judge Matthew Nestor set the bail at $1,000.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Jan. 3 in Chelsea District Court.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.