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Two men sue Riverhead group home for boys, allege they were abused

The Timothy Hill Children's Ranch in Riverhead.

The Timothy Hill Children's Ranch in Riverhead. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Two other men have filed lawsuits against Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in Riverhead alleging they were sexually abused when they stayed there as youths, an attorney for the Manhattan law firm representing the plaintiffs has confirmed.

John Joseph Barci and John J. Gubitosi have joined Andres Alexander Ramos in suing the Riverhead-based group home for boys. Barci’s lawsuit was filed on Nov. 6 and Gubitosi’s lawsuit was filed Thursday, both in Suffolk County Supreme Court, according to court papers.

Gubitosi’s lawsuit alleges that while he lived on the ranch between October 1994 and December 1994, Gubitosi, then 15 years old, was “repeatedly and viciously assaulted” both sexually and physically by teenage residents of the ranch, and that ranch officials had "allowed (the abuse) to continue because of their callous apathy" to his "cries for help.”

On Gubitosi's first night at the ranch, several other residents held a blanket over his face and body and then beat him with heavy objects while laughing, the lawsuit states. After telling a house parent at the ranch what happened moments later, the suit states, the parent allegedly responded "Oh, that was a blanket party. Man up. Go back to bed. I'll handle it."

In Barci’s lawsuit, Barci, who stayed at the ranch in 1981 when he was 12 years old, alleged he was “physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by the older residents at the ranch.” Barci reported the abuse to ranch employees “on multiple occasions” but they were “routinely brushed off and ignored," his lawsuit states.

Ramos' lawsuit, filed Sept. 20, alleged he was beaten and raped by several older teens while he stayed there as a 12-year-old.

Timothy Hill representatives did not immediately return requests for comment. John M. Denby, an attorney representing the ranch in one of the cases, did not immediately return requests for comment.

Regina Calcaterra, an attorney for Manhattan law firm Wolf Haldenstein, which represents all three men, said Saturday that Gubitosi, now 40, and Barci decided to sue after hearing about Ramos’ case against the ranch.

“These two men didn’t really discuss this with anybody that this happened to them as children. They saw how courageous Alex was, and they wanted to do the same, but also to raise awareness of what really went on at the ranch,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra said neither client was ready to speak publicly on their cases.

All three men allege the ranch’s “serious lack of supervision allowed for lawlessness and violence to occur among the residents, with smaller residents being targeted by those bigger and older than them,” read a statement from Wolf Haldenstein.

Monetary damages would be sought, although no dollar amount had been settled on yet, Calcaterra said. 

A Suffolk County Supreme Court justice ruled in October the youths who lived at the group home for boys were no longer required to stay there.

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