Lafayette High janitor sexually assaulted student more than 100 times, lawsuit alleges

School official suspended for allegedly not reporting abuse
Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 18:00:50-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Over and over again -- more than 100 times during her years at Lafayette High School -- a 15-year-old student was sexually assaulted by the school janitor, a new lawsuit alleges.

In 2001, her freshman year at Lafayette, the student said she reported the abuse to the janitor’s boss.

But that school official “took no action,” the lawsuit alleges, and so the abuse continued for three more years.

Even after she graduated from Lafayette, in 2004, the janitor allegedly approached her outside the school. After apologizing for his past sexual assaults, the lawsuit states, the janitor then did the unthinkable.

He allegedly raped the girl in a public park.

Those are the allegations contained in a lawsuit filed this week in State Supreme Court under the Child Victims Act. The plaintiff is identified in the suit as “S.T.” and filed the suit under a pseudonym because she “fears embarrassment and further psychological damage” if her identity becomes known, the lawsuit states.

The custodian alleged to have abused the girl is identified as Charles F. Parrott. His supervisor -- who allegedly failed to report the abuse, possibly in violation of New York’s mandated reporter laws -- is identified as Larry Williams.

Elena Cala, spokeswoman for the Buffalo Public Schools, said the district suspended Williams on Thursday pending an internal investigation into whether he reported the alleged abuse.

Cala said Williams, who could not be reached for comment, has worked as a building engineer for Buffalo Public Schools for at least 29 years.

She said Parrott, who is alleged of abusing the student, was never a district employee, adding that he was likely hired by Williams as a subcontractor.

Building engineers in the Buffalo Public Schools are given a lump sum of money to manage their buildings, and have the authority to hire their own subcontractors with those funds.

Parrott was “let go” in either 2000 or 2002, Cala said.

Neither Parrott nor Williams could be reached for comment late Friday. No phone numbers for a Charles Parrott of Buffalo were listed in public records or phone listings. Cala said she was not authorized to give Williams’ contact information to a reporter, and a message left at Local #409, the operating engineers’ union, was not returned.

The lawsuit states that “the acts of sexual assault and abuse...occurred on the premises of Lafayette High School” and Parrott allegedly “threatened to hurt Plaintiff’s family if she reported the sexual assaults and abuse.”

It also states that because Williams allegedly “took no action to stop Parrott’s sexual assaults...Parrott continued to sexually assault and abuse Plaintiff after Plaintiff reported the assaults to Larry Williams.”

It is unclear whether Williams would be considered a mandated reporter of child abuse under New York law, which states the following education-related professions -- among others -- are required by law to report child abuse to authorities: “school official, which includes but is not limited to school teacher, school guidance counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, school nurse, school administrator or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate; full or part-time compensated school employee required to hold a temporary coaching license or professional coaching certificate.”

Click here to read the lawsuit.