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Police say they caught school van driver fondling 7-year-old girl

Photo Credit: BCPO

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : Police said they watched today as a 71-year-old independent driver parked his van on a side street, climbed in through the back door, and tried to fondle a 7-year-old girl he’d been hired to take to school. They immediately rushed in and arrested him.

Froilan Mendez (GARFIELD PD MUGSHOT COURTESY BCPO)

Garfield police got a call from someone who had seen the bus pulled over more than once before. This morning, they were watching, said Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli.

Around 8:15 this morning, Froilan Mendez parked the van on Monroe Street, got out and went in through the back, the prosecutor said.

“When officers approached the van, they observed Mendez in the back of the van with the seven year old,” Molinelli said. He then “touched her in a sexual manner.”

She later told police that Mendez had done the same thing several times before, the prosecutor said.

Mendez is being held on $250,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with sexual assault and child endangerment.

Mendez, of Garfield, “was hired by the mother … to drive her child to school,” Molinelli said, adding that he “is not employed in any capacity by the Garfield School System and acts as an independently hired driver for students.”

Garfield Police and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit are asking that any parents who have used Mendez’s services please contact them “if they have any reason to suspect that anything inappropriate may have occurred.”

Garfield PD : (973) 478-8500
BCPO Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit : (201) 226-5620.

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