School Bus Driver Certificate Suspended For Malden Man Accused Of Murder In Haiti

Download Audio
Jean Morose Viliena walks to his car in Malden in the very early morning on Thursday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Jean Morose Viliena walks to his car in Malden in the very early morning on Thursday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A school bus driver from Malden accused of murder, arson and crimes against humanity as a former mayor in Haiti has now lost his job in Massachusetts.

The owner of the school bus company that employed Jean Morose Viliena says he kept Viliena from taking a bus out on the road after learning of a WBUR report early Friday morning.

On Thursday, an attorney for three Haitian men filed a suit against Viliena in federal court in Boston under the Torture Victim Protection Act. WBUR also reported that there has been an open indictment in Haiti since 2010 charging Viliena with the same crimes. He never showed up at two trials there, which ended with the convictions of six co-defendants.

The bus company owner says he promptly notified the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and within an hour the DPU acted. It suspended Viliena's school bus driver certificate last Friday, the DPU says, "after learning of the allegations of criminal activity against Mr. Viliena."

In order to obtain a license to operate a school bus, an applicant must go through a thorough criminal background check. Viliena did that before starting to work for the bus company, and WBUR was told Viliena came up clean. Law enforcement sources have confirmed there is no record of any crimes Viliena committed in Massachusetts.

But in Haiti, witnesses and victims accuse Viliena of commanding a political machine packed with guns, machetes and thugs to persecute his opponents and human rights advocates.

While in the U.S., the 44-year-old has the status of a lawful permanent resident. He's a green card holder, along with his wife, and he has traveled back and forth from Malden to Haiti without drawing arrest, attention or apparent interest.

On Friday night in Haiti, a day after the lawsuit was filed and the same day Viliena lost his job in Boston, one of his three accusers died suddenly after getting violently sick to his stomach. Human rights workers and the man's family are calling for the Haitian government to investigate and to conduct an autopsy.

Viliena, who called WBUR a few days ago but said he needed to talk to an attorney, was not available for comment Tuesday night.

In addition to driving a school bus, Viliena has also driven for Uber. But apparently, he will not be driving for the company any longer.

In a statement sent Tuesday night, the ride-hailing service said, "this individual does not have access to Uber."

This segment aired on March 29, 2017.


Headshot of David Boeri

David Boeri Senior Reporter
Now retired, David Boeri was a senior reporter at WBUR.



More from WBUR

Listen Live