BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A plaintiff has been awarded a total of $10 million in a Child Victims Act case against a former Lovejoy youth leader that dates back over three decades, the law offices of J. Michael Hayes announced Thursday.
It was determined that the plaintiff, identified as “JMH 500 Doe,” was sexually assaulted and molested twice by Paul D. Gaeta, a Lovejoy youth leader, when he was 11 years old in 1987.
The law office says that Gaeta was involved in many community activities, which permitted him to be close to underage children. Gaeta was allegedly well-known in the area as a sex offender after he was arrested in 1978 for sexually abusing another 11-year-old in a car in Delaware Park. The law office says that Gaeta was granted an adjournment and his file was sealed, keeping him off the sex offender registry.
Documents say that several of the plaintiff’s friends and neighbors were also sexually abused by Gaeta, but later committed suicide.
The office says that the plaintiff has suffered from psychological issues, PTSD, depression, anxiety and suicide attempts.
The awards were officially made on Thursday. It includes $3 million for past pain and suffering, $1 million for future pain and suffering, and $5 million in other punitive damages.
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.