A former Long Island congressman has been accused of sexual abuse during the time he served as director of an upstate summer camp.
Gary Ackerman, who represented large portions of U.S. Congressman Tom Suozzi’s district before redistricting, is the subject of a suit filed this month in Manhattan Supreme Court.
A lawyer representing Ackerman said he denies all of the allegations.
Other named defendants are Ten Mile River Scout Camp, the camp the plaintiff attended and where the incident allegedly occurred, and the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which operated the camp.
The unnamed plaintiff contends that Ackerman abused his power with the camp and the Boy Scouts to lure the plaintiff into his car and take him to an abandoned road where he forced the plaintiff to engage in oral sex. The incident allegedly occurred in August 1966.
The complaint describes Ackerman as “a known predator” and states that Ten Mile River Scout Camp, of Narrowsburg, and the state Boy Scouts council allowed Ackerman around children “despite their knowledge that Defendant Gary Ackerman sexually abused children.”
Ackerman, of Roslyn Heights, represented areas of Long Island and Queens in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 2013. Before 1983, Ackerman briefly served as a state senator.
Now 76 years old, Ackerman was 23 when the alleged incident occurred.
Oscar Michelen, Ackerman’s attorney, said the plaintiff was 17 years old at the time.
He said this is the first Ackerman has ever heard of the situation, and no prior complaint was filed with the Boy Scouts, Ten Mile River Scout Camp or any other entity in the last 53 years.
Over Ackerman’s long tenure of public service there has never been any hint of this type of behavior, Michelen said.
“We expect he will be fully vindicated,” the lawyer said.
The court filing is one of the hundreds of lawsuits that have been filed in the two weeks since the yearlong lookback window opened as part of the state Child Victims Act. The law allows victims of sex abuse to sue their abusers despite statute of limitation restrictions.
The Boy Scouts of America has been the subject of multiple lawsuits since the lookback window went into effect.
Michelen said the defendant’s response to the complaint is not due until the end of September.