NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman is being called a sexual "predator" in a lawsuit accusing the New York Democrat of violating a teenager at a Boy Scout camp five decades ago.
The New York Post reported Saturday that the now 76-year-old Ackerman allegedly abused the 17-year-old while he was a director at the Ten Mile River Camp near upstate Narrowsburg, west of Poughkeepsie, according to papers filed in state Supreme Court.
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In the lawsuit, the teen said Ackerman — then 23 — drove him to a back road where he tried to fondle him before forcing oral sex.
The Boy Scouts should have been aware that Ackerman was a "known predator" with the potential to harm kids, according to court papers cited by the newspaper. The Boy Scouts told the Post they had no record of any allegations against him.
Attorney Oscar Michelen told the Post that the married father of three denies any wrongdoing, and to call him a "predator" is tantamount to slander.
Michelen did not respond Saturday to a message from The Associated Press requesting comment. Nor did Jordan Merson, the attorney for the alleged victim who told the Post that New York's recently enacted Child Victims Act gave his now 70-year-old client the chance to come forward.
Whenever his client — who is not named — hears Ackerman's name, "he goes immediately into PTSD symptoms, and anxiety," Merson told the Post.
Hundreds of lawsuits over child sexual abuse allegations have been filed against a variety of institutions, including the Boy Scouts, since last week, when New York state opened a one-year window for lawsuits previously barred by the state's statute of limitations.
Ackerman, a 15-term Democrat who represented parts of Queens and Long Island, announced his retirement from Congress in 2012.
Information from: the New York Post, http://www.nypost.com