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A lawsuit was filed yesterday by two former Tri-Valley Central School District students who allege that Donald Wales, then an elementary school teacher, sexually abused them multiple times between 1979 and 1984 - both on school grounds and at other sites that included Wales' home, at Grossinger's and parked in a car at the Rondout Reservoir.


The plaintiffs are Jeffrey Cloonan and Sean Boyle, whose attorneys filed the suit under New York State's Child Victims Act (CVA) that took effect in August 2019.

Tri -Valley Elementary School, Tri-Valley Central School District and the Board of Education of the Tri-Valley Central School District are also named with Wales as defendants in the case.


This suit, filed in State Supreme Court/Sullivan County, follows another CVA suit filed in 2019 against Wales with similar allegations. The plaintiff in that case is Mark Dolgas. (His case is on the calendar again March 23 before State Supreme Court Justice Michael L. Mackey).


Reached today about the new lawsuit, Tri-Valley Board of Education President Keri Poley, declined comment, citing pending litigation. School Superintendent Michael Williams also declined comment.

The SullivanTimes today has reached out to the plaintiffs in both cases and their attorneys as well as Wales' defense attorney. Wales, now 85, and believed to be living in Florida, could not be reached for comment at press time. A phone number listed under his name went to voice mail.

The latest suit alleges that between 1972 and 1984 "it is believed that Wales sexually abused or had improper contact with dozens of boys who were students at Tri-Valley Elementary School." During the 1980s, at least five of those boys who settled their lawsuits with the district and Wales, according to the latest suit.


Wales had a prior history of sexual abuse while teaching in the Warwick Central School District. While on criminal probation after sodomizing a student there, in 1972 he applied for a position at Tri-Valley. He received a written offer of employment in July 1972, according the latest lawsuit.


Other local CVA lawsuits include multiple cases against the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America, which owns Ten Mile River scout camps in Narrowsburg, and one against Camp Agudah in Liberty.



DEVELOPING STORY

Since our story this morning about a holiday party at Ciao Bella, some have questioned why this is newsworthy.


When law enforcement officers go to a party unmasked in a facility that was likely over capacity - and those law enforcement officers are not enforcing any social distancing and mask wearing ordered by the state Department of Health - that's a serious dereliction of duty and a real credibility problem for any police department represented there.


Let's say one of those officers contracted Covid on December 12. He or she then goes home to a family member (maybe even someone very vulnerable), goes into the Sheriff's Patrol office or their police station the next day, and possibly interacts with ANY number of citizens while on patrol.


How many people do you think could be potentially infected then?


Those screaming about their "freedoms" seem to conveniently forget that no one has the ethical right to infect innocent bystanders because they don't feel like following simple guidelines.


And, yes, law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard on issues like this, as it should be.


Remember, too, that the County's Public Health Department does not always issue Covid advisories regarding exposures.


But on December 17, it chose to do so - and that's likely because the department realized that people were likely at risk who came in contact. That's why contact tracing was conducted.


Finally, isn't it ironic that just a few weeks ago, on January 28, Sheriff's deputies were ordered to the Government Center, supposedly to make sure that all Covid protocols were being followed by citizens who were there to speak during public comments.

Police Say Christopher Pekny, 28, Was Building A Device To Be Used At A Child Reveal Party


LIBERTY - An explosion at a home on Lt. JG Brender Highway yesterday resulted in the death of Christopher Pekny, 28, who state police said was building a device to be used at a child's gender reveal party.


"It (the device) was not intended to harm anyone," Trooper Steven Nevel, the Troop F public information officer, told The SullivanTimes today.


His brother, Michael Pekny, 27, was injured in the blast and transported to Garnet Medical Center in Middletown.


Their parents own The Robin Hood Diner in Livingston Manor.


"We are deeply saddened and must inform you all of the loss of our dear and beloved Christopher," a statement just posted to the diner's Facebook page said. "We appreciate the overwhelming display of love and support that you all have shown. The Robin Hood will be closed for the immediate future. More details will be posted when we have them available. Thank you."



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