School bus ‘mooner’ guilty

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Suffolk mother faces jail time after being found guilty of disorderly conduct — but acquitted of an indecent exposure charge — after “mooning” a bus loaded with students.

In General District Court Tuesday, Lisa Marie Grant, 34, was sentenced to six months in jail, with five suspended, and fined $250.

Judge Alfred W. Bates III pronounced judgment after about two hours of argument and scrutinizing video of the incident.

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According to court records, trial testimony and onboard security camera footage, Grant confronted John Yeates Middle School bus driver Melba Jordan Osborne after Osborne had stopped to collect children near the corner of Brookwood Drive and Brookwood Court, on the morning of Nov. 20.

The previous Thursday, Osborne had sent a conduct notice home with Grant’s 14-year-old son, who had been assigned a seat at the front of the bus due to alleged misbehavior.

Grant had subsequently sent a note back with her son the following Monday asking the bus driver to “take it up with her,” Obsorne said.

Grant approached the bus, saying, “‘I’m going to get you, I’m going to get you,’” Osborne testified Tuesday.

“When I opened the window, she said, ‘I’m not talking through the window.’”

An irate Grant demanded entry onto the bus. Osborne shut the door to her and her son and then called dispatch.

Next, Grant proceeded to the front of the bus and stood with outstretched arms.

“As I told her police were on the way, she (Grant) walked to the front of the bus … pulled her pants down — and her panties — and bent over and told me to kiss her behind,” Osborne said.

“But she didn’t use ‘behind.’ I had 52 students on the bus. … She stood there for three or four minutes with her pants down.”

A few moments later, Osborne testified, Grant “pulled up her shirt and her bra” and made another obscene demand.

“After she did that, she started threatening me. She said, ‘I know you live over here, I’m going to get you.’”

While all this was going on, according to his testimony, her 14-year-old son stood off to the side holding his 4-year-old sister’s hand.

The video shows students jostling to see Grant, many holding up cellphone cameras. Grant’s behavior is out of frame in the video.

Osborne can be heard telling dispatch, “She’s going to call the School Board on me,” and at one point, becoming increasingly angry herself, she tells Grant to “come over to my house afterwards.”

Grant denied mooning and showing her breast. Steven M. Oser, her attorney, arguing indecent exposure requires lascivious intent. “I maintain that it wouldn’t have been obscene at all.”

Judge Bates said that if her son’s treatment concerned her, Grant should have complained through official channels. “The way she handled it, I think, is wrong,” he said.

Kevin Alston, school district assistant superintendent, testified on his conversations with Grant.

“Grant admitted pointing her middle finger at the bus driver and cursing her,” Alston said, adding he thought Grant’s speech was slurred and that she “repeated things over and over again.”

“Later she said she wouldn’t have mooned her if the bus driver hadn’t threatened her.”

Calling for incarceration, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Susan H. Walton asked the judge to consider Grant’s criminal record, which includes public swearing, property damage, assault and cannabis possession.

Grant, who said she works in a bar, will be allowed to serve her single month of jail time as weekend detention.

Throughout the non-jury trial, Oser mainly argued the evidence against Grant was hearsay.

He said he would “probably” recommend against Grant appealing.

“I respect the court not finding her guilty on the indecent exposure, because truly under the law she wasn’t guilty,” he said.

“As far as the disorderly charge, I think her (Grant’s) behavior was very reprehensible, but unfortunately the bus driver’s was even worse.

“I think the judge did a good job, I really do. (But) the problem with disorderly conduct, it’s a vague statute. It’s designed for people who are drunk in public.”