Berks

DA: Children's home staffer had teen beat up on school bus

'It's shocking, it is wrong and it's criminal'

HEIDELBERG TWP., Pa. - An employee of a home that cares for children is facing criminal charges in the assault of a 15-year-old boy on a school bus.

Berks County District Attorney John Adams announced Tuesday charges against Lamar Miller, a staff member at Bethany Children's Home in Heidelberg Township, near Womelsdorf.

Miller, 32, of Adamstown, solicited two of the home's teenage residents to assault the boy, also a resident of the home, aboard their bus as it arrived at Conrad Weiser High School on the morning of March 26, according to court documents. Miller was also on the bus at the time.

"Adults need to lead by example, and this quite frankly, this type of behavior is doing nothing to lead by example," Adams said.

Heidelberg Township police Chief Jeff Stone said he reviewed the bus' surveillance video, which shows one of the teens punching the victim with closed fists more than 20 times to his upper torso and head.

"When we have an adult who is an employee of a children's home and engages in behavior such as this, it's shocking, it is wrong and it's criminal," Adams said.

The video, Stone said, also shows Miller walking slowly up the center aisle of the bus and telling the teen suspect to "Chill. Chill," as he "feigned an effort" to hold him back with his right hand. The chief said he "saw no exigency on Miller's part to end the assault."

Adams said he also watched the video and was shocked by the amount of violence, and at Miller's actions.

"He made very little effort to intercede and to protect the victim," he said.

After the first teen backed off, the second teen approached from behind, leaned over the victim's seat and punched him in the head, according to court documents. Stone said the video then shows the second teen climbing over the seat and stomping on what appeared to be the victim's head four times as the victim slid off the seat and onto the floor.

The surveillance camera's microphone picked up sound of Miller telling the victim not to press charges and to "let it go," according to court documents.

The victim was taken to Reading Hospital for treatment of his injuries. After his release, the teen told the police chief that Miller had accused him of stealing his cell phone sim card two days before the assault and that Miller was going to have him "beat up on the bus." Miller reportedly admitted to the teen that he would lose his job at the children's home because of the arranged assault.

Miller, who is not yet in custody, is facing charges of aggravated assault, solicitation to commit aggravated assault, simple assault, solicitation to commit simple assault, conspiracy to commit simple assault, and endangering the welfare of children.

The two teen suspects were taken into custody and committed to a juvenile detention center.


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