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Part III: The plaintiff in Child Victims Act lawsuit against Wellsville Central Schools reacts


By Andrew Harris

Thinking of a legal battle like a ping-pong match is a good analogy. There is a a lot of back and forth between parties within the framework of civil lawsuit. You’ve read the complaint by the plaintiff and if not, please read the opening part of this series:

You have also read the defense response to that complaint, which was a standard effort to have the case dismissed entirely. This is quite standard for any lawsuit: An attempt to terminate the legal effort from the inception saves lots of time and money, if successful. If you missed the overview of that response, including the applicable court documents, click here.

Of course the plaintiff has the ability to provide the court a reply to the defense motion to throw out the complaint. In this case the plaintiff’s legal team did just that, and apparently with great impact because the judge has allowed this case to proceed to a trial on the merits. The plaintiff’s case against Wellsville Central Schools appears to be the first of its kind in NY to actually go to trial.

Let’s look at the plaintiff’s arguments against the defense assertions we discussed in the last article about this case. The public record of the plaintiff’s reaction to the defense arguments shows a strong counter to claims that the alleged abuser wasn’t an employee, and that the victims testimony lacks credibility.

Near the opening of the plaintiff’s response is a swift reply to the district claims that the alleged child rapist wasn’t a school employee:

“As to Wade’s employment with the District, multiple witnesses’ testimony places Wade at
the school, in a District-issued janitor’s uniform, performing janitorial duties under the supervision
and control of District personnel during the years of the abuse.”

The plaintiff’s lawyers argument on her behalf continues to provide testimony and legal precedents which deconstruct the defense argument that the alleged abuser was not a school employee. In essence the plaintiff asserts that even if the alleged abuser was a temporary contractor, a volunteer, or even an intruder on school grounds: The school is required to protect students from being attacked on the property, regardless of who is attacking the student.

Wellsville Central Schools second point in attempting to have the complaint summarily dismissed is best described by the word, “incredible,” or not believable. The defense questions the method of the victims reporting, the timing of the reporting, and casts doubt on the victim testimony because she couldn’t recall certain general details after forty years. The plaintiff responds to each of those defense arguments and in the public record, the legal team confidently states, “These arguments are easily rebutted.”

You can read the documents and decide for yourself. The NY court which heard this initial ‘back and forth’ was not moved to dismiss the case on behalf of the defendant. Instead the case becomes unique in its genre to actually head to trial. To date every other case brought forth using the Child Victims Act has been settled or dismissed or is unresolved.

Jury selection for the upcoming civil trial is set to start on March 30, 2022 and the trial will be held in Belmont NY at the Allegany County Courthouse. The Wellsville Sun will report on any news related to this case in the days before the trial. Look for a “pre-trial” special review with updates just before jury selection begins.

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Georgianna “Georgi” Geary Higgins, 88, Wellsville

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