SUFFERN (WABC) --A school bus driver working in Suffern is under arrest and facing charges after allegedly touching himself inappropriately while driving students.
The incident occurred on the school bus around 7:30 a.m. on October 28.
Authorities say the driver, 60-year-old Robert Bertart, was seen by a student masturbating while driving.
The student, a minor, was on the bus in route to be dropped off at a nearby parochial school.
Most importantly police tell Eyewitness News the 9th grade student wasn't harmed. He tells cops while he was on his school bus to his parochial school with 60-year-old Robert Bertart behind the wheel, Bertart allegedly stopped the bus without realizing the 9th grader behind him could see quite a bit in the rearview mirror.
"The driver of the bus, pulled his fly down, and began to masturbate. In this case, the student was able to see lap of the driver," said Det. Lt. Mark Emma, of the Ramapo Police Department.
Police say the action lasted a short period of time. The student was the only one on board at the time, as the other students had already been dropped off at Suffern High School.
After being dropped off at school, the student told officials and his parents.
"The student is very credible, old enough to understand what was going on," Emma said.
Bertart, of Orangetown, now faces misdemeanor charges of public lewdness and reckless endangerment..
He was working for the Vel Coach Company based in Nanuet. Daniel Cavarozzi, Operations Manager at Vel Coach, issued the following statement:
"First and foremost, we are concerned for the safety and welfare of the students we transport every day. Vel Coach is cooperating fully with the investigation and the school district involved. To help safeguard against this type of incident, we do conduct background checks that include fingerprinting and FBI criminal history of all drivers during the hiring process. Our records are in full compliance with article 19A and the State Education Department. We have zero tolerance on this event. This driver is no longer employed by Vel Coach."
"The driver has no past history. He was released on bail based on the fact that he has no criminal history at all," Emma said.