One of the Cataract City's best-known charities has been hit with a Child Victims Act lawsuit.
The suit was filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday and names Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier and two unknown juveniles who resided at the mission's Buffalo Avenue shelter sometime in the fall of 1980 as defendants in the case.
The plaintiff is identified only as "CH Doe" and is represented by Lockport attorney Jon Louis Wilson.
The suit alleges that the victim, who was 4 at the time, was sexually assaulted by the two juveniles while he was "visiting the (agency's) facility in Niagara Falls with his parents." The assault allegedly took place "in the laundry room/basement" of the Buffalo Avenue shelter.
In his court filing, Wilson charges that Community Missions "knew or should have known that (the unidentified juveniles) were a danger to younger, prepubescent, vulnerable children."
"My understanding is (the juveniles) were residents there because they were involved with a juvenile justice proceeding," Wilson told the Gazette.
He said his client only knows the first names of the teens he says attacked him.
The suit charges the Mission failed to exercise proper care or supervision over the juvenile residents.
Wilson said the victim made his parents and the Mission aware of his claims but police were not called in the aftermath of the alleged sexual assault.
"It was brought to the attention of his parents and the facility," Wilson said, "but not law enforcement. We don't believe any (police investigation) was taken."
The suit claims the victim suffered "emotional pain and physical distress" and psychological injuries as a result of the alleged sexual assault. It seeks unspecified monetary damages from the mission and the juveniles.
Dan Oliverio, counsel for the Mission, said neither he nor his client have been served with the lawsuit.
"When we are served, we will respond," he said. "We take these allegations seriously and will carefully review the allegations."