US man charged with turning bus trip into school girl grope-fest

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New York, June 9 (ANI): A Connecticut man accused of groping school girls during a class-trip on a bus has been held on sex abuse and endangering charges.

Tomas Manzano, 35, of Stamford, was supposed to be chaperoning his son and other Stamford fifth graders on a field trip to New York on June 2, but instead he spent the time swilling vodka and fondling six of his 9-year-old son's female classmates.

Manzano's lawyer, Paul Petrus, told the Manhattan Criminal Court that his client is just the victim of the kind of exaggeration and rumours that erupt when an adult is accused of drinking around children.

"He wasn't perhaps his usual self," the New York Post quoted the lawyer as telling reporters after court, without conceding his client was intoxicated.

"But that was all. Nothing occurred that day," he stated.

But assistant district attorney Lawrence Newman begged to differ.

"This is a particularly disturbing case," he said.

Newman said multiple witnesses, including teachers, describe his "increasingly abhorrent" behaviour as he drank vodka from a water bottle throughout the trip.

"He caressed their faces... he tickled some of the children close to their privates," he said.

When teachers demanded he stop, he "became belligerent", ultimately resisting violently when cops, summoned to meet the bus at Mars 2112 restaurant in Midtown, took him into custody.

It took eight to 12 cops to ultimately subdue Manzano, the prosecutor said.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson set bail at 200,000 dollars bond or 100,000 dollars cash. (ANI)

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