Former paperboys await justice after suing Gannett for allowing sexual abuse four decades ago

Poynter

“Despite the fact that Defendants knew or should have known that Plaintiffs were in danger of being sexually abused by their employees, including Lazeroff and the Unnamed Employee, the Defendant failed to take reasonable steps to protect them from that danger,” states one of the complaints filed by the Marsh Law Firm, which represents eight former D&C paperboys. “The Defendant negligently hired Lazeroff and the Unnamed Employee then failed to properly supervise them. The Defendant permitted Lazeroff and the Unnamed Employee unfettered and unsupervised access to Plaintiffs and other young children, failed to address sexual abuse that was occurring by multiple perpetrators in plain sight, and exposed Plaintiffs to danger.”

The paperboys’ complaints in New York are part of nearly 10,000 lawsuits that have been filed under the Child Victims Act, which opened the floodgates for lawsuits against the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts. Neither Gannett nor the D&C has publicly commented on the paperboys’ cases, which have been covered by the Rochester City Newspaper and the D&C itself. In its court responses to the complaints, Gannett denied the allegations of sexual abuse or having sufficient knowledge to form a belief about the claims. Gannett has declined to comment for all stories about the case, including this one. The cases are in the process of discovery.

In Steve Orr’s almost 40-year career at the D&C, the circumstances behind reporting on the paperboys case were unprecedented, Orr said. “I knew that anything that we found could be made public and could be used by people suing the newspaper or on the flip side, could also be used by the newspaper in their legal defense,” he said.

The reporters pursued the story as they would any story about a former employee of an institution, Orr said. “It’s certainly different to be calling your own corporate office, and asking them to comment on this,” Orr said.

The reporting by Orr and Andreatta appears in complaints filed by the Marsh Law Firm on behalf of the victims. “It really was as a result of the journalism that we have so much corollary evidence,” said James Marsh, who represents eight former paperboys, seven of whom are victims of Jack Lazeroff. “We almost never have the quotes, the sources and people that become manifest in our complaints.”

Find more information online here.

Filed Under  Cases  Child Victims Act (CVA)  Childhood Sexual Abuse 

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