Former Brighton Democrat and Chronicle paper carrier suing Gannett for alleged abuse

Former Brighton Democrat and Chronicle paper carrier suing Gannett for alleged abuse


So we moved to Brighton when I was going into
the sixth grade, and it was just my mom, and my brother and I. She was divorced, recently divorced, and she
didn’t have a ton of money, so I think I sort of got it in my head that getting a job and
making, you know, 20 bucks a week or whatever it was, would be helpful to the family, so
I took the paper route job. You sort of picked up your papers and that
was your task. And an hour later, it was done, and you felt
good, and you started your day. So that part of it, I actually, I think I
really liked. Unfortunately, the rest of it was, you know,
really incredibly bad. Delivering this side of Eastbrooke is, you
know, fairly large, a lot of buildings. So just go through each each little building
unit and drop off papers to people that had them. Eventually, I had it memorized and, you know,
remembered this house and that house and that house. Jack Lazeroff was the district manager is
the title I, you know, I remember him being called. And he was in charge of paperboys’ routes,
so his role was to make sure that we were delivering the paper, and then my understanding
was, his job was to come over and meet with us, meet with me, once a week or so and go
over each of your accounts and sort of how it was going, and if they were behind on payment,
you know, sort of say, ‘Well, you’ve got to go to their house and see if you can get them
to write a check.’ And so under that sort of role, he would set
up a meeting with me every week, and it would be in the afternoon on like a Monday or Tuesday
or Wednesday, when I got home from school — I went to school right around the corner
and would walk home and let myself in. And shortly thereafter, he would be at the
door. And he would have this roll of paper, and
you remember this sort of dot matrix print paper that had like the tabs you’d rip off on the
side and it was green and white — I remember that — and he had all the different accounts
on them. And I remember, you know, very clearly, him
putting it on my lap and then his hand going underneath the paper and him, you know, starting
to sort of fondle me over my clothes. And I remember freezing and not doing anything
about it, and I think that did two things. It, you know, made him feel like he could
do whatever he wanted, and he started to, and it was the beginning of me, you know,
really sort of hating myself for not doing anything about it and not stopping him. So it went on, it went on from there, and
it became a very regular occurrence. And he, you know, he ended up, you know, sort
of doing more than that and, you know, doing it regularly. I remember him taking me to the basement — he
got really comfortable at our house and with me — and taking me to the basement and sort
of having his way with me and then having me put my shirt in the washing machine
and starting the washing machine and saying, ‘When this is done, put it in the dryer and
fold it up and go put on another shirt.’ And I remember it was a red shirt that he
did this with, and I’ve never worn a red shirt the rest of my life. So, yeah, it’s a horrendous thing. I remember those … what he did to me really
well. It’s sort of hard to put it to words, but
I’ve had this self-hatred for not having stopped it and letting it go on for as long as it
did and for not reporting him and not, you know, yelling and screaming or fighting back
or anything. And to be honest, it, you know, it’s led me
to the point of, you know, trying suicide. I tried to kill myself when I was early in
high school, and there’s been other incidents like that. Like I said, my life is really incredibly
good right now, and people would look at it and say, ‘Oh my God, you were going to kill
yourself?’ And I was because I just hated the little
boy for not doing anything. The passage of the Child Victims Act was enormous
to me because it felt like I was, I was yelling, and there was no one that would hear it. There was no one that would listen to it. I knew I had this thing that happened to me,
and I knew it was a terrible thing, and I knew it was something that should be told. But without having the opportunity to legally
go after them, I didn’t really have a way to tell it. So the passage of that act earlier this year
probably was the turning point — that and my wife, you know, sort of demanding that
I start fighting back. So I’m filing a suit against Gannett, which
owns the Democrat and Chronicle, to hold them accountable for the conditions they created
that left me and other paperboys alone. We got up and worked for them at 5 a.m. in
the morning, made them money, and they left us alone with a, with a predator. And there was never a single employee other
than Jack Lazeroff that came to see me. Never a supervisor, never a woman, never anyone
that came to check on and say, you know, ‘Is everything going all right? How’s it going?’ And we were 11- and 12-year-old kids working
at 5 a.m., delivering papers and then, you know, having meetings alone with a guy who
was a predator. In my mind, there’s zero chance that I was
the first or the last that he did this to. You know, I hope that if that’s the case and
there are other, you know, now men like me that have gone through this that they can
figure out a way to, you know, to heal. Hopefully to come forward, hopefully to talk
about it. I know that that has worked for me, and it’s
certainly made me a lot happier and a lot more comfortable with who I am.

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