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Massachusetts bus driver admits to striking disabled man trying to start conversation

A former bus driver has pleaded guilty to backhanding a 21-year-old passenger with Down syndrome because he was irritated by his attempt to start a conversation.

John Marrs, of Beverly, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Salem District Court to a charge of assault and battery on a disabled person.

The Salem News reports the 53-year-old Marrs was sentenced to a year of probation and was ordered to take anger management classes and barred from working with the disabled.

Marrs was a driver for Danvers-based LBK Transportation, which provides rides for developmentally and intellectually disabled people, at the time of the September 2012 assault. He has since been fired.

Prosecutors say the victim is friendly and has a mental age of about 5 or 6.

Marrs' lawyer sought a lighter sentence.