By Matthew Spina, July 20, 2020
An Erie County man alleges in a recent Child Victims Act lawsuit that he was molested decades ago by a police officer assigned to advise students on personal safety, including the need to be wary of strangers.
The man, now in his 40s, says the officer victimized him in the early 1990s, when he was a student with Genesee Valley BOCES, which serves Genesee, Livingston, Steuben and Wyoming counties.
The suit filed Friday identifies Christopher Ferrara, a former staff member with the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department’s “Officer Bill” program, as the molester.
Ferrara, who also was an officer with the Warsaw Police Department, was charged with first-degree sexual abuse in January 1992, when he was 25. The initial charge stemmed from Ferrara’s conduct with a 10-year-old boy, who was not a BOCES student.
He pleaded guilty in 1993 to a felony count of attempted sexual abuse and served four years in state prison, court records show. His conviction was upheld on appeal.
Ferrara, according to the state’s sex-offender registry, is 54 and living in Orleans County. Efforts to reach him Sunday by phone and email were unsuccessful.
The Child Victims Act, which temporarily waives the statute of limitations on decades-old abuses, has unleashed hundreds of lawsuits against major institutions in New York, especially the Catholic Church, schools and nonprofits that cater to children, such as the Boy Scouts. But the complaint filed days ago appears to be the first locally to stem from the actions of an officer assigned to work with students.