Longtime Buffalo High School Principal Accused of Molesting Child
By Mike McAndrew
March 12, 2020
|Frederick Ganter became principal at Lafayette in his early 30s in 1972, according to Buffalo News archives.|
A former longtime principal of Lafayette High School in Buffalo is accused of molesting a student in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Frederick D. Ganter is accused by an Erie County man of molesting him when the plaintiff was a 16- and 17-year-old sophomore at Lafayette in 1989 and 1990.
Ganter, 79, who now resides in Wilton Manors, Fla., was a principal at Lafayette from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s.
Reached Wednesday night, Ganter said he did "not really" recognize the name of the former student who filed the suit. He declined to make any other comment.
He was an assistant principal at the school at the time of the abuse, according to the lawsuit. It alleges the sexual abuse occurred on school grounds, including in Ganter's office.
Attorney Daniel Chiacchia filed the lawsuit on behalf of the former student, who is now 46 years old. He said his client was a troubled teen who had been placed in an alternative school in Buffalo.
As a sophomore, his client wanted to enroll at Lafayette, and had to get interviewed by Ganter and get his approval before he could attend the school, Chiacchia said.
Chiacchia said his client told him he would take care of him, gave him special privileges at school and had him do out-of-school jobs for him.
"He would have him visit him during free periods and let him smoke in the principal's bathroom," Chiacchia said.
"He'd have him take boxes to his house on Deerhurst Park Boulevard in Kenmore. He would give him money to help him. Then he'd put on pornographic images on TV and movies. And he'd engage in sexual abuse."
His client quit school after being abused during his sophomore year, Chiacchia said.
"His life, he's had some difficulty. Substance abuse issues and some criminal issues," he said.
His client told his mother about Ganter abusing him years later, Chiacchia said. "But he was too ashamed to disclose it to anyone else," he said.
The lawsuit alleges the Buffalo City School District was negligent in hiring and supervising Ganter, that it knew or should of known of Ganter's propensity to molest children, and that it failed to protect the plaintiff from Ganter.
School district officials declined to comment on the case Thursday.
"At this time, we have not been served, and in light of the fact that this is likely to be a litigation matter, the district will not comment further," said Nathaniel Kuzma, the district's general counsel.
Ganter became principal at Lafayette in his early 30s in 1972, according to Buffalo News archives. He was the city's youngest high school principal at the time. In several stories published by The Buffalo News in the 1970s, students and faculty members at Lafayette praised Ganter for how he managed the school and interacted with students.
In 1996, Ganter was named assistant superintendent for the district's high schools. He retired in 1997 from the Buffalo Public Schools.
This is the fifth Child Victims Act lawsuit against the Buffalo City School District and the first accusing Ganter of wrongdoing.
Three of the five cases against the district allege that students were molested at Lafayette High or its current name, Lafayette International High School, at 370 Lafayette Ave. In addition to Ganter, a former teacher and a former custodian at the school were accused of sexual contact with students.