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Sex assault hearing ends after defendant appears to collapse

April 29, 2020 GMT

MORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A hearing for a New Jersey school bus driver in a child sex assault case came to an abrupt halt after the defendant appeared to collapse due to an undisclosed medical episode.

Morris County prosecutors have accused 70-year-old Thomas Thomasevich of sexually assaulting two young female students during daily games of “hide-and-seek” on the bus.

NJ.com reports that Thomasevich was participating in Wednesday’s hearing via webcam from the Morris County Correctional Facility as his attorneys sought to have his detention revoked, arguing that prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence.

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Thomasevich stood quietly for much of the hearing but began shaking before falling back against a cinder block wall and dropping to the ground. His attorneys declined comment, saying it would be inappropriate to talk about their client’s medical issues.

Prosecutors allege that the defendant groomed the victims to be cooperative and manipulated them to be silent. The girls were under the age of 13 and attended school in Kinnelon.

Thomasevich has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, child endangerment and cruelty and neglect of children in alleged incidents from October to January. A defense attorney earlier called the allegations a “huge misunderstanding.”