Michael W. McGuire made Blasdell history in 1978 when he was sworn in as the village’s youngest mayor at 27.
That was also the year he began sexually abusing two of his students at Immaculata Academy, according to allegations in two lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act. He began abusing a third student the following year, according to a third lawsuit.
The former mayor taught math and physics at the now-closed all-girls school in Hamburg for about a decade in the 1970s and 1980s. He routinely groomed students for abuse there, according to Daniel J. Chiacchia, the attorney representing the three former students, who are now in their 50s.
Chiacchia said some former students at the Catholic school told him they thought there was something off in the way McGuire talked in front of them, using fairly explicit language of a sexual nature. “A lot of the vulgar talk and the grabbing happened during school,” he said.
The bespectacled McGuire, who taught math and physics and coached the basketball team, was popular among many of the students at Immaculata. The Class of 1980, in fact, dedicated the yearbook their senior year to him and another teacher, who both made “our life here a little easier and a lot more interesting.”
The yearbook dedication expressed gratitude to McGuire and the other teacher, a nun.
“It has been a pleasure working with these people and knowing each of them as a friend we could trust,” the dedication said.
But the three plaintiffs, who graduated together from Immaculata, each say McGuire sexually abused them for at least three years.
McGuire often invited girls over to his house, where he provided them with alcohol, according to the lawsuits. The former students have pictures of parties at his house where he got girls drunk, Chiacchia said.
McGuire, who also worked as director of admissions at the Erie County Fair, offered to get many of his students jobs at the fair, where they helped with visitor parking.
“He would try to proposition them while they were working there, kind of like a tit for tat kind of thing,” Chiacchia said. “It was all emanating from his position at the school, where he was a teacher and a coach. Based upon all we know, it would have been impossible for the school not to have known something was going on unless they had their head in the sand.”
While Chiacchia was investigating the allegations made by his clients, he said, he interviewed three other women who said McGuire got them jobs at the fair, then hit on them and tried to kiss them.
McGuire did not respond to telephone or Facebook messages seeking comment. No one answered when The Buffalo News visited McGuire's Buffalo apartment. Dennis Gaughan, an attorney who had represented him in criminal and civil legal matters, died in July.
In addition to McGuire, the lawsuits name three other defendants: the Diocese of Buffalo, Immaculata Academy and the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph.
Two of McGuire’s students confronted him about his treatment of students when they were in their 20s, Chiacchia said.
The two students said McGuire responded, "I was just preparing you for college. You should be thanking me,” the attorney said.
McGuire, who has a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of Notre Dame, left Immaculata in 1983 and served as Blasdell’s mayor until 1987. He later worked as an estate planner, then as public relations director at Fantasy Island.
The allegations of sexual abuse are not the first time the former mayor has been accused of wrongdoing. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to two counts of grand larceny and one count of falsifying business records, all felonies.
While he was working at Fantasy Island, there were $2,225 in credit card charges that should have been paid to the amusement park, but that he transferred as a refund to his own personal credit card, according to court records. McGuire also stole more than $3,000 in checks made out to Fantasy Island by depositing them into his personal account, according to court records.
He served one year in prison before being released on parole in 2012.