BUFFALO, N.Y. — A former teacher in the Kenmore Tonawanda School District and a man who served as a Boy Scout leader are among those named in the latest cases filed under the Child Victims Act in Erie County.
The cases were filed in New York State Supreme Court.
Four accuse former Ken-Ton teacher
In all four cases — all filed on Friday morning — men now in their 50's alleged that they were “sexually assaulted, abused, and/or groped” by Arthur Werner, when he was their teacher at Hoover Elementary School in the 1970s.
The complaints are nearly identical in their claims as well, that each was forced to watch Werner “regularly and repeatedly sexually assault other boys in this classroom at Hoover Elementary.”
The Kenmore Tonawanda School district is named as the defendant in the case, due to what the complaint alleges was "negligence, carelessness, lack of supervision and lack of appropriate policies," according to attorney Christopher O’Brien of the O’Brien and Ford law firm who is representing all four plaintiffs.
“This teacher would call children up to the front of the room, particularly boys, to discipline them perhaps after yelling at them,” O’Brien told WGRZ-TV. “He would bring them around the desk, and draw them closely to him with one arm, holding them tightly. He would whisper in their ear that they had to be disciplined and had to learn… while using his other hand to fondle them. And the whole time he’s fondling them the rest of the class could see this.”
Another lawsuit naming a priest
In yet another case filed late Friday, retired catholic priest Father Mark Friel is named by a plaintiff who is now 50, and who claims they were raped by the priest and subjected to other forms of abuse when they were a teenager in 1985 and 1986.
The plaintiff claims this occurred in the rectory of Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown.
Friel, who also served in seven other Western New York parishes, was previously named by the Buffalo Catholic Diocese on a list of priests who have been accused of child sexual abuse.
Former scout leader accused
In a separate case, filed on Thursday, a 61-year-old Buffalo man claims his Boy Scout leader, Nicholas Eberhardt, abused him on at least four occasions in or around 1970, when the alleged victim was approximately 12 years old.
In his complaint, he alleges the abuse included but was not limited to Eberhardt “fondling plaintiff's genitals inside of his pants on the outside of his underwear, and pulling down his underwear and fondling and masturbating his genitals to the point of ejaculation.”
The plaintiff claims the abuse occurred at Boy Scout Camp Schoellkopf in Cowlesville, New York, which is in Wyoming County.
The Boy Scouts of America is also named as a defendant.
The Child Victim’s Act
New York’s recently enacted Child Victims Act (CVA), which went into effect earlier in August.
The CVA allows long ago sex abuse victims — who had previously been barred from doing so by the state’s statute of limitations — a one year window to seek redress through the courts against their alleged abusers and the agencies they may have worked for.
It is expected that thousands of such lawsuits throughout the state will be filed by the time that window closes next September.