Bus Driver Gets Six Months For Slapping Boy
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 9, 2004
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN--Former Milwaukee school bus driver Brian Duchow was sentenced Friday to six months in prison and three years probation for abusing a 9-year-old boy with Down syndrome.
The court also ordered Duchow, 29, to complete an anger-management program, and hold no job or community-service position in which he has contact with minors or people with disabilities, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The parents of Jacob Mutulo told reporters they thought Duchow's sentence was too lenient, given that the boy has been experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder since before the abuse came to light.
"He deserves to spend eight months incarcerated for the eight months he assaulted Jacob," Vince Mutulo said of Duchow.
Vince and his wife, Rosemary, had been concerned about reports that Jacob, who also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was being disruptive on the school bus. They put a voice-activated audio tape recorder in his backpack so they could hear how he was misbehaving.
When Jacob got home on April 29, 2003 the parents listened to the tape and heard Duchow stopping the bus, then moving toward Jacob.
On the recording, which was later played in court, Duchow can be heard threatening to break Jacob's arms and telling the boy "stop before I beat the living hell out of you."
Duchow later admitted that he had slapped Jacob, and pleaded guilty to one felony count of child abuse -- intentionally causing great harm to a child.
Duchow had faced up to six years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine. A disorderly conduct charge was thrown out in exchange for Duchow's guilty plea on the child abuse charge.
He did not apologize during Friday's sentencing hearing, but said he felt "very bad" about how he treated Jacob.
"If I could, I'd travel back in the past to correct everything that was done wrong," Duchow said.
Since the incident, the Mutulos have appeared on national news programs, telling their story and encouraging lawmakers to make video cameras mandatory in school buses that transport children with disabilities.