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Mother of scolded boy plans to sue Amherst Notice says town remiss in rink fight

The mother of the young hockey player dragged off the Amherst Pepsi Center ice after he was accused of firing pucks toward a 5-year-old boy has filed a notice of intent to sue both the Town of Amherst and its recreation department.

Charlene Van Dusen of Grand Island filed a notice of claim within the 90-day period required by law, Amherst Town Attorney E. Thomas Jones confirmed Thursday.

"It's just putting the town on notice that they intend to sue," Jones said.

The notice of claim, which lists no specific amount of damages being sought, alleges both "physical injuries and emotional trauma" to her son.

Charles M. Schmidl, 38, of Lockport was arrested April 13 after being accused of grabbing Van Dusen's son by the shirt and pulling him off the Pepsi Center ice, after the boy allegedly had fired pucks at Schmidl and his son.

On the criminal side, Schmidl faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment. The case is expected to go to trial in Amherst Town Court on Aug. 22.

The notice of claim lists multiple complaints of negligence, accusing the town of failing to provide security, supervise the area, aid the 10-year-old boy and prevent the continued assault on him.

Jones explained why he believes the town is not liable.

"The town doesn't have a duty to supervise people on a rink, any more than we have to supervise people on a ball field, a golf course or our bike paths," he said. "We provide the facilities. [People are] supposed to conduct themselves accordingly. The rinks at the Pepsi Center are not a day care center."

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

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