A 68-year-old New Hampshire woman is out of a job and facing charges several weeks after she committed “disturbing” assaults against young students with disabilities, police announced.
Hudson Police Chief Tad Dionne said during a publicly streamed press conference on Tuesday that the suspect in the Feb. 17 assaults on 5- and 6-year-old schoolchildren with disabilities is Virene Poliquin, a local resident.
Dionne said that evidence in the case will show that Poliquin assaulted three students with disabilities in various ways. The suspect was caught on video and audio slapping, kicking, grabbing, covering a victim’s mouth with a hand, and pouring water on a victim, authorities said. While one student was attacked seven times, two other student were attacked once, Dionne continued. He said the victims were not injured.
“I will tell you I’ve been a police officer a long time. Needless to say there are not too many events that make me pause when reviewing the case. This incident did so,” the police chief emphasized. “The victims in this case are among our most vulnerable. Poliquin’s actions are completely unacceptable, disturbing, and without justification under the law.”
As a result, Poliquin now faces nine counts of misdemeanor simple assault.
When asked by a reporter about reviewing audio and video of the alleged assaults, the chief did not go into detail about what he heard and saw. The veteran law enforcement officer indicated that he was shaken up by the “disturbing” evidence, however.
“When I told you I was disturbed, that is exactly what it is,” Dionne reiterated. “Like I said, I’ve been doing this for a long time. You can probably tell by my gray hair. I’ve been doing it a long time, and there’s not much that disturbs me, unfortunately. This was very disturbing to me.”
Dionne said that the bus pulled over on a number of occasions and that the children were on the bus heading home after school. Not all of the children attend the same school but each one goes to school within the same district, officials confirmed.
The chief was joined at the press conference by Hudson School District Superintendent Dr. Dan Moulis.
Moulis confirmed that the bus driver is no longer employed, but said that she had worked with Durham School Services — a contracted vendor the district has used for transporting students with disabilities — since 2017.
“The actions of the driver were wrong and violate the trust of our students and our parents,” Moulis said.
Police Chief Dionne noted that the defendant posted $500 bail. Poliquin’s arraignment on the assault charges is currently scheduled for April 6.