Massachusetts

Mass. Driving Instructor Charged With Touching Teenage Girls During Lessons

One student told investigators that "she was glad she was the one driving, because she felt she would have been kidnapped otherwise," according to a police report

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A Massachusetts driving instructor is facing charges for allegedly touching two teenage girls inappropriately while giving them lessons last year, though a police report lists five victims.

Carl A. Welliver, a 63-year-old from Winchester, was arraigned Wednesday on four charges, including indecent assault and battery, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office said Thursday.

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Welliver was working at Middlesex Driving Academy when the assaults took place during lessons in August and early autumn, prosecutors said. He allegedly touched the girls, both 16, on the upper thigh and while driving.

One of the alleged victims worked at the driving academy. Welliver last worked there in May, prosecutors said, and his driver's license was suspended after a hearing initiated by Winchester police during the investigation into the allegations.

Welliver also worked as a special needs bus driver for Arlington Public Schools, but its superintendent said he's suspended.

It wasn't immediately clear if Welliver had an attorney who could speak to the charges. He was released after his hearing Wednesday, but a judge ordered him to keep away from victims and witnesses, not to work as a driving instructor, to avoid driving minors outside of his family and to stay away from Middlesex Driving Academy. He's due back in court in September.

His daughter, Kaitlin Welliver, said Thursday her family hadn't heard "any allegations of any sort like this."

The investigation began about June 3, prosecutors said.

According to a police report, Welliver admitted to occasionally touching some of the girls, but told investigators it was all part of the driving lesson.

Welliver allegedly asked one of the girls if she'd had her first kiss yet, and then told her to close her eyes and imagine it. That same student later told police that "she was glad she was the one driving, because she felt she would have been kidnapped otherwise," according to a police report.

Welliver doesn't own the school, but his daughter claimed one of the girls -- none have been identified publicly -- accused her dad because she'd been fired for taking money.

But at least four other girls shared similar stories about Welliver's alelged behavior during driving lessons.

One told police that he "touched her shoulder, sometimes poking it and other times rubbing it." Another student told investigators that he "grabbed her face underneath her chin, squeezing her cheeks and then rotated her head back and forth," court records said.

Kaitlin Welliver also a driving instructor, said some of the students may have brought the behavior on themselves or misconstrued things.

"Maybe if people listened better in the car and paid attention and when someone tells you to step on the brake or turn the wheel, we wouldn't have to interfere with the instruction," she said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the investigation to contact Winchester police detectives.

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