You have seen the vans outside some of Chelsea’s schools and day care centers picking up young children and transporting them home or to afterschool programs across the neighborhood.
Now the owner of Maya Transportation is accused of raping one of those students.
Sergio Lara, 54, of Quincy, who runs the local school transportation service that is independently contracted by parents needing additional transportation for their children, has been charged with sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl placed in his care.
Revere Police arrested Lara on Wednesday, March 2. Suffolk prosecutors arraigned him in Chelsea District Court on one count each of rape of a child and indecent assault and battery on a child. He was held on $100,000 cash bail and ordered to return to court on March 31.
At prosecutors’ request, Lara was additionally ordered to stay away from the victim and her family, stay out of the presence of children under 16 unless their parents are present, refrain from any employment that would place him in contact with children under 16, surrender all travel documents, remain in Massachusetts, and wear a GPS monitoring device if he posts bail.
Lara is the owner and operator of Maya Transportation, which shuttles children to and from schools in Chelsea, Revere and East Boston.
One of his passengers, a five-year-old Everett girl, told her mother on Tuesday that Lara had sexually assaulted her on the way home from school. The girl’s parents took her to an area hospital the same evening and notified police.
Lara was identified and arrested the next day.
“Too often, the victims of abuse are afraid or ashamed to disclose what happened, but this child did exactly the right thing,” said Suffolk County D.A. Daniel Conley. “Telling her parents right away allowed investigators to take rapid action and have him held on high bail. She’s a smart, brave little girl.”
Lara was represented at arraignment by attorney Matthew Machera. He will return to court on March 31 to be appointed a new attorney.
Chelsea schools does not currently, and has never had a contract with Maya Transportation. However, the service is hired by parents that need transportation from school to afterschool programs or to home.