A former Congressman from Long Island has been accused of sexually abusing a teenager at a Boy Scouts camp 53 years ago, according to a lawsuit that the alleged victim filed last week.
Ex-U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, 76, who represented the North Shore of Nassau County and parts of Queens for 15 terms until he retired in 2012, was a director of Ten Mile River camp in upstate New York when he allegedly forced the then-17-year-old scout to perform oral sex in August of 1966, the anonymous plaintiff claimed in the suit filed in Manhattan court.
“We obviously intend to vigorously defend the Congressman’s honor and reputation in this case,” Ackerman’s lawyer, Oscar Michelen, told the New York Post, which first reported the story. “We’re confident he’ll be vindicated.”
The suit is one of hundreds alleging decades-old claims of sexual misconduct filed in the past two weeks since the New York State Child Victims Act went into effect. Besides Ackerman, it also names the local chapter of the Boy Scouts as a defendant and seeks unspecified damages for the plaintiff’s emotional distress.
After news broke, Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy called on Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to terminate a $24,999 contract awarded to Ackerman in February. Kennedy, a Republican, is challenging Bellone, a Democrat, in the November elections. Bellone’s office said the former Congressman is no longer working with the County.