A former youth hockey player has filed a Child Victims Act lawsuit against the Cazenovia Park Hockey Association in Buffalo and USA Hockey, alleging his coach molested him for more than two years.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the former Cazenovia Park player, who was not identified, alleged his coach, Gerald P. Hayes of Buffalo, sexually assaulted him at hockey events and at other locations when he was 10 to 12 years old. He alleged the abuse happened from 1983 to 1985.
"There’s a strong belief that this perpetrator committed sexual crimes against other children in the hockey organization," the plaintiff's attorney, Richard Weisbeck, told The Buffalo News.
"Most importantly, my client wants to expose the child molester for the horrible sexual crimes he committed. My client knows that the perpetrator lives within a mile of the area where these sexual crimes were committed and he is fearful that the child molester is still preying on children in the neighborhood," Weisbeck said.
Also named as defendants in the suit are the Western New York Amateur Hockey League and New York State Amateur Hockey Association.
A separate Child Victims Act lawsuit was filed against Hayes by Weisbeck, of the law firm Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria.
Hayes did not respond to The News' phone call seeking his comment.
The former player alleged in the suit that the hockey organizations knew or should have known that Hayes had the propensity to sexually abuse children.
Neither Cazenovia Park Hockey Association president Meg Gifford, Western New York Amateur Hockey League president Jeremy Rowley, New York State Amateur Hockey Association president Joe Baudo or USA Hockey communications director Dave Fischer responded to requests for comment.
This is the second Child Victims Act lawsuit in New York against USA Hockey that accuses a youth hockey coach of molesting a player. A suit filed in January alleged that Douglas Nail, a former coach with the Saints Hockey Club in Depew, molested a player over seven years. That suit was filed against Nail, Saints Hockey Club and USA Hockey.