The youngster accused of molesting an 8-year-old boy in a Buffalo residential facility earlier this month has been relocated to another home for displaced children, Erie County Social Services officials said Thursday.
A relative of the younger boy complained that the 12-year-old boy – previously reported to be 13 – should have been removed immediately from the Child & Family Services’ residential campus on Delaware Avenue, but that officials refused to answer his questions on whether the boys had been separated.
The relocation of the older boy could not occur immediately because the county needed to obtain a waiver from the state Office of Children & Family Services approving the move of the accused attacker to a facility for children 14 years of age and older, according to Peter Anderson, spokesman for Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.
While the county waited for that approval, Anderson said, measures were put in place to separate the two boys.
“A safety plan was created and approved by OCFS to ensure the children were separated and that the alleged perpetrator did not have any unsupervised contact with any other child,” Anderson said.
Peter Beyer, the 8-year-old’s great-uncle, is also now being allowed to resume visits with his nephew and call him on the phone. That access was denied last week, shortly after Beyer publicly criticized the county and Child & Family Services.
Beyer had complained that he felt he was being punished for taking his criticism public.
Beyer had revealed that a nurse with Child & Family Services nurse called him, following the alleged incident on Oct. 6, and told him a physical examination of his nephew determined that he had been sexually assaulted. Officials in the case have declined to comment on whether that is an accurate portrayal of the findings.
Contact between the boy and his great uncle was temporarily limited, Anderson explained, so clinicians could evaluate how to best assist the child.
“Due to the serious nature of the alleged incident, precautionary steps were taken to protect the health and safety of the children,” Anderson said. “One of these steps included limiting outside contact until the clinicians working with the child could meet and determine the most appropriate course of action for the child.
“As soon as the clinicians met, they agreed that contact between the child and his identified resources could and should continue. Although we understand how it could appear retributive based on the circumstances, we would not try to limit access to any caring and responsible adult invested in the success of a child. Throughout this period of time, efforts were focused on preventing further trauma to the child.”
Beyer said a Social Services official has called him and said he has every right to visit his nephew.
Beyer plans to file paperwork with Erie County today that he hopes will provide him with legal standing in the case as a foster parent. He said he previously filed the paperwork but the county misplaced it. The county says it never received the paperwork.
“It is highly unlikely that the paperwork was ‘misplaced’ as was alleged. … The Department of Social Services employs a rigorous tracking system for items of this nature,” Anderson said.
In looking forward, Beyer said he wants legal standing, either as a foster parent or guardian – guardianship would require court action – in order to facilitate the adoption of his nephew and the boy’s younger sister by a couple in Syracuse, who are acquainted with the family.
“They have been visiting the children every other Wednesday, and I’ve been told they need to take 18 more hours of classes in special training because of some of the issues,” Beyer said, expressing hope that the county can move quickly enough to make sure the children are with the Syracuse couple before Christmas. “I can’t raise the children myself but I want to be a part of their lives and make sure everything is good.”
Beyer’s sister, the grandmother of the children, had adopted them after her daughter and the father of the children were incarcerated in Florida, the great uncle said. Traceylee Busch, the grandmother, died unexpectedly last year, and that is how the children eventually landed in the care of the county.
Meanwhile, the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs last week confirmed that center investigators, who are empowered to make arrests and prosecute cases, began their review earlier this month of the alleged attack.