A Lockport man is facing a lawsuit for sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl in 1983.

The accuser, identified only by the initials C.W., said she was sexually assaulted by James Wakefield, 59, of Erna Drive, at his home on Chestnut Ridge Road in Royalton.

Her attorney, Mark Cantor, said the woman was friends with children who lived at the home and went there regularly, until Sept. 8, 1983, when Wakefield lured her into the basement with the promise of a cat she could pet.

Wakefield told the girl not to tell anyone about the sexual abuse, but the girl quickly went to her mother, resulting in Wakefield's arrest several hours later. He admitted guilt to investigators that same night. 

Wakefield was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse, though because of incomplete court records in the Niagara County Clerk's office, it's unclear if he served any prison time for the offense. The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has no record of Wakefield serving a state prison sentence, and he is not listed on the state Sex Offender Registry, which excludes level 1 offenders, who are deemed a low risk to reoffend.

Wakefield declined to comment on the suit.

The suit was filed under the Child Victims Act, a state law which permits childhood abuse victims to bring civil cases regardless of how long ago it happened over a one-year period. That one-year window began Aug. 14.

Recommended for you