Greenland NH bus driver accused of harassing 8-year-old has been denied bail
CONCORD, NH – A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the ex-bus driver charged with threats and interstate harassment of a Greenland Central School student and his family are to remain in custody pending trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone denied bail for Eliot, Maine resident Michael Chick and bus driver formerly employed by First Student who had routes to Greenland and Rye, at the Concord courthouse on Thursday afternoon.
Chick was arrested on August 5.
Chick’s representative is Federal Public Defender Behzad Mirhashem, who argued for Chick’s house arrest. The judge denied the request.
Assistant United States Attorney Kasey Weiland, the prosecutor handling Chick’s case, read a statement prepared by the family of the child who was allegedly targeted by Chick before the judge’s ruling.
Choosing not to attend Chick’s hearing, the family wrote that they were “sick with worry” that the former bus driver might contact the child in the future. The family went on to say, “We will forever be marked by the actions of this man.”
“He is a predator of the worst kind,” the family wrote of Chick. “Protect us and the public by keeping them out of society.”
During Chick’s hearing, Weiland noted that the child had stated in forensic interviews that he had no inappropriate physical contact with Chick and denied sending pictures or giving clothes to the child. former bus driver.
Weiland said after the hearing that a member of the state’s victim witness team had been in contact with the boy’s family to let them know that Chick would not be released from jail.
“It has been a very difficult and trying time for them and I am sure they will be relieved to hear the outcome of today’s hearing,” she said.
What is Michael Chick accused of doing
Court documents show the child’s parents were suspicious of the bus driver and first reported him to the Greenland School District and the municipal police in April. Chick allegedly gave the child and his sister gifts on the bus on numerous occasions, including candy, Pokémon accessories and other small toys, according to a police affidavit.
“Also, when the kids were away from school, (Chick) would leave letters for them at the residence saying how much she missed them,” the affidavit reads.
In May, Chick reportedly asked the child’s family if he could attend the child’s Little League baseball game. The child’s family, according to the affidavit, contacted Greenland Central School for help, and the school administration contacted First Student to reassign Chick to another bus route. .
Police, including the school resource officer, spoke to Chick in May and told him he could no longer contact the child or his family.
Documents with the court added that Chick was reassigned bus routes but continued to communicate with the child even afterwards, a concern for parents in Greenland at a meeting of the school board in the city which took place this week.
After reporting Chick to the police twice in the spring, the child’s family reported him again in July when they discovered two TracFones in the child’s lunch box. Investigators learned from the parents that the child told them that the devices had been given to him by Chick.
Chick allegedly gave the child several TracFones and asked him to take inappropriate photos of himself. The former bus driver is also accused of placing GPS tracking devices on the child’s parents’ vehicles to find out if they reported him to the police and of making several night visits to the child’s home. family.
The child’s parents “were very concerned for their son’s safety as well as their own, saying they were afraid that Chick would come to their home and kidnap” the child, according to court documents.
The child told investigators that Chick told him a story about “The Team”, a group of criminals who would kidnap and torture the child if he did not comply with instructions to photograph and take videos of him -same. The child further told authorities that he was told that “the team” would murder members of his family if he did not comply.
What we know about charges:New Hampshire school bus driver charged with threatening and harassing 8-year-old and his family
“The team,” the child later told his parents, was a group of eight to 800 people, the affidavit states.
Chick later admitted to investigators that he threatened the child on the bus and gave him three separate TracFones. Authorities searched his car and found his cell phone, a TracFone, a digital camera, duct tape, rubber gloves, candy, underwear and children’s toys, and a magnetic GPS vehicle tracker.
Authorities said CCTV cameras, TracFones, large plastic bags of children’s underwear and other evidence were found at Chick’s residence.
Here’s how to report possible incidents involving Michael Chick
Jane Young, a US attorney from New Hampshire, announced last week that a hotline had been set up for parents to report any additional incidents involving Chick.
The hotline can be reached at (603) 722-1751.
Weiland told the court that the hotline had received one call about Chick since its inception, although it was not about the family involved in the current allegations against Chick.
Chick’s case was investigated by the Greenland and Eliot Police Departments, the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.
After the hearing, Chick’s mother refused to speak to reporters.