Their stories are strikingly similar: Five middle-aged men, all former Democrat and Chronicle paperboys in Brighton in the early 1980s, who claim they were sexually abused by their supervisor while on the job.
They spoke up one at a time, and mostly unbeknownst to the others, in the weeks since CITY and its media partner WXXI News first reported last month that another man, Rick Bates, sued the newspaper and its parent company, Gannett Co., for abuse he allegedly suffered as a paperboy in Brighton in 1983.
Their alleged perpetrator was Jack Lazeroff, who was in his 40s when he left a career in banking and found work overseeing newspaper carriers in Brighton and, later, according to former Gannett employees who worked with him, in Irondequoit and Charlotte.
In its court response to Bates’s complaint, Gannett denied that Democrat and Chronicle employees knew of, or should have known of, the alleged abuse. The company also denied knowing that Lazeroff had a propensity to commit such abuse and that the newspaper had fielded complaints about his alleged behavior.
But one of the former paperboys, and the father of another, said they each complained to an employee of the newspaper. And the former head of personnel at the bank for which Lazeroff had worked said he was fired from there for molesting young male employees.