DA's Office Has Documents In Child Victims Act Case vs Donald Wales, Tri-Valley
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
(This story was corrected on Friday, August 27. An earlier version incorrectly stated that Judge Mackey had already ordered the Sullivan County DA's Office to produce documents, but that was based on a proposed order that was yet to be signed by the judge).
State Supreme Court Judge L. Michael Mackey is expected to soon sign a proposed order that would order District Attorney Meagan Galligan to produce the 1980s files of former District Attorney Steve Lungen related to the investigation and prosecution of Donald Wales, the former Tri-Valley School District teacher who is believed to have sexually abused dozens of boys between 1972 and 1984.
The order is part of two Child Victims Act lawsuits filed by three former students earlier this year. The plaintiffs in one case, filed in February 2021 in State Supreme Court/Sullivan County, are Jeffrey Cloonan and Sean Boyle. In the other case, also filed in Sullivan but in 2019, the plaintiff is Mark Dolgas. Attorney Hugh Sandler is representing all three plaintiffs.
The Tri-Valley School District, through its Board of Education, this past April defended its hiring, supervision and retention of Wales.
Sandler filed an affirmation with the court on August 13, stating that he communicated directly with Lungen and learned that there are many documents relating to the Wales investigation and prosecution.
That's when Sandler filed a motion asking the court to subpoena the Wales files, which Mackey has recently granted.
According to the affirmation by Sandler, the files revealed in his conversations with Lungen in recent weeks include a September 1984 letter from Wales’s then-attorney "disclosing the names of over 25 Tri-Valley Elementary School students who Defendant Wales admitted to sexually abusing. "
Sandler's affirmation states that "these over 25 names are in addition to the six Tri-Valley elementary school students the SCDA was already relying on in its prosecution of Wales.."
The affirmation by Sandler also notes that records exist relating to the 1971 investigation and conviction of Wales while he was teaching at the Warwick School District in Orange County - as well as correspondence from the father of one of the plaintiffs.
Sandler also affirmed that the evidence also includes correspondence between then-New York State Police Officer Paul Hans and Lungen regarding the 1984 investigation of Wales.
Hans later left the State Police to work directly for Lungen in 1995 and stayed with the DA's office through 2011, which meant that he also worked with former DA Jim Farrell, who won election as Sullivan County Court Judge in 2019.
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