A lawsuit was filed Thursday against Moose International Director General and CEO William Airey by a South Carolina man claiming Airey sexually abused him in 1980, when he was 12.
Moose International operates Mooseheart Child City and School, a community and school for children and teens in need. The Moose International headquarters is on the Mooseheart Child City and School campus near Batavia.
Jason Peck, of Fort Mill, S.C., filed the suit in Franklin County court in Ohio against the 71-year-old Airey, who lives in Aurora. According to the lawsuit, Airey sexually abused, molested and exploited Peck on two occasions when Peck was a minor.
The abuse began in Ohio and continued elsewhere, including in New Orleans, in or about 1980, the suit states.
Moose International investigated Airey for sexual misconduct with children in 1996 and again in 2007, but took no action, the suit states. Airey is past president and former secretary of the Ohio State Moose Association, according to the lawsuit.
The suit seeks more than $25,000 in financial damages as well as punitive damages.
"Moose fraternity is shocked by this allegation, as this is not the Bill Airey we know," Moose International spokesman Kurt Wehrmeister said in a statement. "Although the Moose organization is not a party to this lawsuit, consistent with board policy, Mr. Airey will not be in contact with residential students at Mooseheart until further notice."
Wehrmeister said Airey is currently out of the office because he is celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife.
"Upon his return, the board will ascertain all facts relating to this situation, and determine what actions, if any, are necessary," Wehrmeister said.