Schenectady

Colleagues react to Kosiur lawsuit allegations

Ed Kosiur at a City Council meeting in Schenectady in February 2014.
Ed Kosiur at a City Council meeting in Schenectady in February 2014.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — Schenectady County officials are standing behind City Councilman Ed Kosiur after a lawsuit filed in Buffalo under the Crime Victims Act accused him of committing sexual abuse nearly 50 years ago.

“There’s nothing in his history that leads me to believe there is any truth in these allegations,” County Attorney Chris Gardner said on Saturday. “They are nearly 50 years old, and it is something Ed vigorously denies.”

Kosiur has been a prominent player in Schenectady politics for decades. He is a former president of the Schenectady City Council, where he currently serves as a councilman. He is also the director of the Schenectady County Youth Bureau, a job he has held since 2008, shortly after losing a race for an open state Assembly seat.

“He has always been up-front and honest with us in his dealings with the county,” said Gardner, who has known Kosiur for decades. Gardner said he expects no repercussions concerning Kosiur’s county job, in which he administers various youth service programs run by the county.

“I’ve known Ed Kosiur for close to 30 years. I got to know when I was on the school board,” said County Legislator Majority Leader Gary Hughes, who said he was speaking only personally. “He was super super-active in the (Parent Teacher Organization.) I would say Ed has done a tremendous amount of good for children and families in Schenectady. He says those allegation are unfounded, and I believe him.”

City Council colleagues, however, appeared hesistant to comment.

City Councilwoman Marion Porterfield said the courts will consider the allegations, and she doesn’t expect the council to discuss it. “In my opinion it’s a legal matter that’s going to be judged in the courts, and the council has no part in that,” she said.

Other council members did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

The lawsuits, filed in Erie County in August but first reported Friday by the Buffalo News, allege Kosiur molested two children from 1973 to 1975 in Buffalo, when the accusers were around 11 and 12 years old. Kosiur was an Erie County resident at the time, according to the accusations.

Kosiur declined comment on Friday evening, referring questions to his attorney, Cheryl Meyers Buth, who called the accusations a “money grab” that should be dismissed.

“They’re talking about something that they claimed happened 50 years ago,” Buth said. “Ed never abused anyone. It’s infuriating that the first impulse in society is to believe anything bad or salacious about someone.”

Kosiur, 64, would have been between 18 and 20 at the time. The Crime Victims Act, signed into law in 2019, created a time window — recently extended through 2021 — for the filing of lawsuits by adults over sexual abuse that may have occurred decades earlier, and were otherwise barred by the passage of time.

As director of the county Youth Bureau, Kosiur is a full-time employee, earning $95,747 per year. Separately, he earns $14,061 as a part-time member of the City Council. He was first elected to a council seat in 2014.

Kosiur served as City Council president until early January. He was also previously a member of the Board of Education, and as vice chair of the county Legislature. He served on the Legislature from 2003 until 2007, when he left to run for the state Assembly seat.

Kosiur sponsored a county law in 2007 that would have restricted where convicted sex offenders could live. That law and his sponsorship of it then became an issue when he was running as the Democratic candidate for state Assembly later that year. Kosiur lost to George Amedore Jr., now a New York state senator.

The county legislation Kosiur sponsored made it a misdemeanor for a convicted sex offender to live within 2,000 feet of any facility associated with children. It drew criticism from the leaders of rural towns, who noted that the wording effectively prevented sex offenders from living anywhere in the city of Schenectady, forcing them into more rural areas. The law was challenged and overturned in 2010 by a state Supreme Court judge, who ruled state law on where sex offenders could live pre-empted the county law.

 

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