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School Van Driver Charged With Institutional Sexual Assault

A Mount Joy Township man is charged with institutional sexual assault and other offenses after being accused of inappropriately touching a mentally disabled middle school girl who rode on the school van he drove.

Charges against Vito Anton Giannattasio, 53, of Hill Street near Terrace Road, were announced by Elizabethtown police on Monday, Nov. 26. Giannattasio is also charged with unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and two counts of indecent assault.

The Elizabethtown Area School District released a statement saying the driver worked for Durham School Services and transported students to and from school in a seven-passenger van. The school district said it immediately notified law enforcement and also immediately prohibited the driver from transporting EASD students pending the outcome of the investigation.

Elizabethtown Police Detective Dustin H. Ryan wrote in a sworn statement filed in court that School Resource Officer Richard Regal got information on Nov. 1 about a student being sexually assaulted by a driver on the bus ride home; Regal immediately informed Ryan and a school counselor. The counselor told Ryan that the student had told classmates about a “tickle game” with the driver. The girl was interviewed at the Lancaster County Children’s Alliance, where she gave details of what happened.

Ryan wrote in his sworn statement that he interviewed Giannattasio, who said that things between him and the girl “got out of hand.”

Giannattasio is represented by Lancaster lawyer Cory J. Miller, who did not respond by press time to an invitation to be interviewed for this article.

Police said both the school district and Durham School Services cooperated with the investigation. The school district said drivers are given background checks before being hired and that precaution had been followed with Giannattasio.

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