A judge awarded a $10 million verdict Thursday to a man who was molested by former Lovejoy youth leader Paul D. Gaeta.

The verdict is the result of a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed against Gaeta in March 2020. In the lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court by a Buffalo man using a pseudonym, it alleged that Gaeta sexually abused an 11-year-old boy twice in 1987.

Gaeta, currently residing in Tucson according to a media release, was the subject of a 7 News I-Team investigation in 2019 that found the system failed to stop child sexual abuse by Gaeta, who throughout the 1980s and 1990s was the executive director of the Advisory Board for Lovejoy Elderly and Youth.

Buffalo police arrested and charged Gaeta with child endangerment, as well as a felony sex charge, in 1978. The charges were dismissed and the case was sealed.

This kept him off the sex offender registry and ultimately allowed him to subsequently abuse others, according to attorney William J. Hallett.

“The Lovejoy neighborhood was plagued by Gaeta for a long time,” said Hallett.

Retired Buffalo Police Officer Robert Calabrese submitted a sworn affidavit regarding his knowledge of Gaetas abuse. Award-winning journalist Tim Graham also submitted an affidavit and handwritten notes he obtained from a woman who claimed she suffered abuse by Gaeta.

The man who filed the suit suffered psychological injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and multiple suicide attempts, according to his attorney.

The court assessed compensatory damages in the amount of $3 million for past pain and suffering, $1 million for future pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages in the amount of $5 million, together with interest and costs.

Interest to date puts the award over $10 million.