A retired Niagara Falls junior high school teacher who was prosecuted four decades ago for having sex with a student is being sued by two former students who say he molested them as children.
Social studies teacher Frank Carter repeatedly sexually assaulted the two girls, aged 13 and 15, during the 1976-1977 school year, according to lawsuits filed Friday against Carter and the Niagara Falls School District.
Carter assaulted the girls on “school premises, including in the classroom” at the old Niagara Falls North Junior High School, allege the Child Victims Act lawsuits filed by attorney Daniel J. Chiacchia.
The older of the girls in 1977 filed a criminal complaint against Carter, which resulted in him pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, according to Chiacchia.
Carter was arrested on a felony rape charge in February 1977, according to a Niagara Falls Police report obtained by The Buffalo News, but the report does not show the outcome of the case.
According to the report, the student told police she was raped in Carter's classroom after school on Jan. 25, 1977, after Carter told her to meet him there so he could give her a ride to a girls' basketball game at another school in the Falls. The girl told police that Carter had touched her genitals during another encounter weeks earlier.
Niagara Falls Schools Superintendent Mark R. Laurrie said school records show that a teacher named Frank Carter did work for the district and left his job in the 1970s after he was criminally prosecuted for molesting a student.
Laurrie said he could not provide further details at this time. "I was in middle school when all this happened, and I have not seen the court papers yet," the superintendent said.
A man who identified himself as a relative of Carter told The News in a telephone interview that Carter was a popular, highly respected teacher who never would have molested students. He said Carter recently suffered a stroke and other medical problems and would not be available for comment on the lawsuits.
"The two girls did not know each other," Chiacchia told The News. "They separately became victims to this man. They both said the teacher was a charismatic guy who acted like he was befriending them and asked them to come to his classroom after school. He would close the door and pull down the shades ... both of these victims described a table in the classroom where he sexually assaulted them."
The school district “knew” or “reasonably should have known” that Carter was molesting students, the attorney said in his court papers. He accused the district of being “grossly negligent” by failing to adequately supervise Carter and failing to provide students with a safe atmosphere for learning.
Both of the women suffered “physical and psychological injuries” with long-lasting effects, Chiacchia alleged.
He said the sexual attacks caused both women to lose their faith in God, and to suffer problems with substance abuse, trust issues and sexual intimacy.
Story topics: Child Victims Act