KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Regarding one person in particular, the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District has decided to settle 35 lawsuits pertaining to the Child Victims Act, and they’ll be solely responsible for paying for them.
The Child Victims Act was signed into law by former governor Andrew Cuomo in early 2019. It allowed for civil and criminal lawsuits against alleged sexual abusers that otherwise would have fallen outside the previously required timeframe for litigation.
One of the men who’s become the subject of dozens of lawsuits is Arthur Werner, who has not been employed by the Ken-Ton school district for roughly 30 years.
“The District acknowledges that the misconduct alleged against Werner in these lawsuits is reprehensible — both now and back then,” School Superintendent Sabatino Cimato said.
The school district says that during an investigation, no former administrator claimed to have any knowledge of misconduct by Werner, who taught fifth grade at Herbert Hoover Elementary School.
Due to having no past insurance policies able to cover the cost of these lawsuits, the school district plans to rely on bond financing to pay for them. The cost totals in at $17.5 million, according to Chris O’Brien, an attorney representing 33 of the 35 plaintiffs.
“Recognizing the extreme costs associated with holding separate trials for each of these 35 cases in the upcoming months and the fact that these costs will be incurred regardless of the outcome of the trial, the District made a business decision to resolve these cases without getting to the merits at trial,” a statement from the school district read.
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