The City of Rye, New York has agreed to pay $3.25 million to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit brought in 2020 over conduct that took place in a firehouse in the 1970s. The suit claimed that two officers of the Rye Fire Department sexually abused a young boy, identified in the complaint as John Doe.
One of the officers, Lieutenant Elwood “Joe” Ferris, pled guilty in October, 1972 to first-degree attempted sexual abuse and received a five-year suspended sentence. The other officer was reportedly the fire chief. The abuse occurred between 20 and 40 times.
The suit was possible due to New York’s Child Victims Act, which allows the victims of child sexual abuse to sue those responsible until their 55th birthday. Under the prior law the victim had to file suit before turning 23.