Ex Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman accused of sexually abusing teen at Boy Scout camp 5 decades ago
While Boy Scouts authorities claim to have no record of abuse allegations against Ackerman, the legal filing identifies the former congressman as a 'known predator' who had the potential to harm children
Gary Ackerman, a former 15-term New York City congressman has been accused of sexually predatory behavior more than a decade before he was elected to Congress for the first time. A life-long Democrat, the 76-year-old allegedly violated a teenage boy while working as a camp director at an upstate Boy Scout camp.
The incident allegedly took place on an abandoned road within the 12,000-acre Ten Mile River Camp property near Narrowsburg in 1966 when the unidentified victim was 17 and Ackerman was 23.
According to the New York Post, the victim claimed in Manhattan Supreme Court papers that Ackerman manipulated him into taking a drive, and when they reached the secluded road, the older man tried to touch and fondle the teen before imposing oral sex on him.
While Boy Scouts authorities claim to have no record of abuse allegations against Ackerman, the legal filing identifies the former congressman as a "known predator", who had the potential to harm children. The findings also state that the Boy Scouts "should have known" about his predatory behavior.
Meanwhile, Ackerman’s lawyer Oscar Michelen told the website that calling the "highly respected" Ackerman a predator is "especially offensive" and nothing less than slander.
He further insists that the alleged incident never happened. "He denies any such incident took place," he says, adding how the father-of-three has led "an impeccable life" and "was and is a beloved and admired public servant".
"How come no such thing ever came up at any time — not at Ten Mile River, not with the Boy Scouts and not in 36 years of public life?" asks the attorney, further expressing shock over the "outrageous" allegations, claiming how the claims are "completely opposite of the person everyone knows Congressman Ackerman to be".
"We obviously intend to vigorously defend the Congressman's honor and reputation in this case. We're confident he'll be vindicated," he stated.
Meanwhile, the lawyer of the victim, now 70, Jordan Merson, explained how New York recently enacted the Child Victim's Act and gave his client the chance to come forward, and how it is this legal provision and nothing else that has inspired him.
"He's not doing this for publicity. He's doing this because he feels he was wronged and taken advantage of, and he wants to have his opportunity to have his day in court," stated Merson.
He elaborated on how the politician's appearance on TV would make the victim feel like he was back in the car – trapped. "He goes immediately into PTSD symptoms, and anxiety, every time he sees or hears [Ackerman's] name. He goes into a panic attack."
The victim's attorney added: "Our allegation is that the Boy Scouts either knew or should have known that Ackerman would do this, or would have the propensity to do this, that’s what we intend to do by and through discovery."
Ackerman had represented part of Queens and Long Island in the US House of Representatives, before suddenly and unexpectedly retiring in 2012.