by Hillary Nappi
Since its enactment in February 2019, the Child Victims Act has produced an overwhelming response: hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse have now come forward and are ready to have their voices heard. These survivors are of both genders, all races, live in all parts of New York state, and are of all socio-economic backgrounds. What they share is that they were sexually abused and assaulted as children, and at the time that the crimes occurred lacked the context for their abuse and the language and power to speak up for themselves.
These survivors, including our client, now have the opportunity to come forward and seek justice for the illegal, heinous, and immoral acts that were forced upon them. That is the case with the suit against the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle and Camp Cherith in the Adirondacks. Our client finally reached a point in her life where she was able to speak up for herself and report the crimes that were committed against her.
As stated in her complaint, our client was only five years old when she was sexually abused and assaulted by Ron Braaten, a Youth Minister that was employed by the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle. The first attacks occurred on property owned, operated, and controlled by Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle and were provided to Braaten for his exclusive use as a benefit of his employment. Braaten lived in the house with his family. Our client first met Braaten when she was in kindergarten, while assigned to the same class as his daughter. The girls became friends and would often play together in and out of school. However, playdates at the Braaten house were not normal. Braaten would make our client sit on his lap, as he rubbed her stomach over her clothes, which eventually morphed into Braaten sexually abusing our client.
Our client was fearful and uncomfortable every time she was around Braaten but as a Christian member of the Tabernacle, she was taught that Braaten was a “good man.” Braaten and his wife preached morality in the community, pushing the mission of the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle, all the while masking his pedophilic tendencies. Morality is something that Braaten lacked and that is evident in the allegations filed in the complaint. After our client was sexually assaulted and abused, Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle continued to support Braaten’s missions in South America and he had continued access to other children. Our brave client came forward and reported her abuse, but Braaten remains outside of the United States.
As word of our Plaintiff’s lawsuit spread, our client has found more support in her community than she thought possible. If you or someone you know was abused by Ron Braaten, contact our law firm.
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are committed to achieving the justice that our clients deserve. We will work thoroughly and passionately to represent those who felt they could not protect themselves. If you or a loved one has suffered from any form of sexual assault, it is crucial to act now. Do not hesitate to contact the New York sexual abuse lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP today at (212) 779-0057 or online. Our compassionate, caring, and experienced attorneys will work diligently to uncover whether criminal charges, a civil lawsuit – or both – can be filed against the perpetrator or negligent third party who is responsible for the abuse and its damages to you.
Staten Island, NY (July 4, 2019) – Several allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced against a former Staten Island priest who also served as principal and dean at two high schools. Monsignor John Paddock has officially stepped down from his current duties at a Manhattan parish.
Ellington, NY (July 3, 2019) – According to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division, a man has been arrested for sexual abuse following an investigation. Frederick Nutt Jr., 49, of Sinclairville, was arrested on Wednesday, July 3rd, for engaging in a criminal sexual act with a juvenile, according to authorities.
Elmont, NY (July 3, 2019) – Police have arrested a 24-year-old man who turned himself in on Tuesday, July 2nd after he was reported to have sexually abused a 14-year-old girl. The incident took place at a birthday party in Elmont on Sunday, June 30th, according to authorities.
Coram, NY (June 27, 2019) – A man from Long Island who has been accused of raping a 14-year-old girl is under arrest as of Thursday, June 27th, according to police. 33-year-old Ricardo Gurdon was arrested and subsequently charged with first-degree rape, as well as a first-degree criminal sex act.
Liverpool, NY (June 27, 2019) – New York State Police in North Syracuse announced the arrest of a man for possession of child pornography on Thursday, June 27th. According to authorities, Raymond E. Congdon, 38, is now facing charges related to the sexual performance of a child.
Canaan, NY (June 26, 2019) – According to state police, an employee who works for a company that provided youth services has been arrested and accused of sexually abusing minors as of Wednesday, June 26th. Police stated that Kelli Wagers, 39, is the accused employee who now faces several charges.
Sharon, NY (June 25, 2019) – Police have stated that a man from Sharon has been arrested and accused of raping a child under the age of 17. According to authorities, once the suspect was aware of the investigation, he allegedly discarded an electronic device that is believed to have held evidence against him.
Mount Morris, NY (June 24, 2019) – Police have announced that a man from Pennsylvania has recently been arrested for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in the town of Mount Morris. According to police, Eriberto Cardenas Valentin was arrested a few months after allegations against him were reported to the Sheriff’s Office on January 8th, 2018, which prompted an investigation.
Suffern, NY (June 21, 2019) – As of Friday morning, June 21st, the Suffern-based gymnastics coach who was accused of sexually abusing numerous young girls has pleaded guilty to one of the charges against him. 68-year-old Joseph Lewin, of Port Chester, was arrested last year on multiple counts of sexual abuse against a child.
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