Updated 10/13/2011 05:54 PM
Sexual abuse investigation: More than one victim?
A well-respected member of a Madison County community is facing charges of sexual abuse. New York State police have arrested Brian Tait, 46, of Cazenovia, for allegedly subjecting a former employee at Tait Funeral Home to inappropriate physical exams. And troopers say there are other potential victims. Our Kat De Maria has the latest.
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CAZENOVIA, N.Y. -- Brian Tait, 46, is a funeral director, volunteer firefighter and member of the Greater Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce, among other accomplishments.
It was at the Tait Funeral Home on Fenner Road in the Town of Cazenovia that New York State Police now say Tait forcibly touched and sexually abused a woman.
"It involved an employee disrobing and some potential sexual contact as part of an employment interview to see how this employee reacted with certain chemicals involved in the embalming process," said Captain Mark Lincoln.
According to troopers, the 24-year-old victim says the exam was conducted last month. And she and others may not have initially thought it was inappropriate because of unfamiliarity with the mortuary business and other factors.
"These people were offered a relatively lucrative paying job for the ages of these victims. And that was made a condition of the employment. So that was further enticement. Intimidation might not be the right word, but certainly an obligation," Lincoln said.
Troopers say Brian Tait was well-known and respected in Cazenovia and trusted by his employees and their families. And they say he betrayed that trust.
"When somebody in a position of trust suggests that this particular examination needed to be done for this type of employment, the people were not really in a position to second guess," Lincoln said.
Since Tait was arrested and charged Wednesday, troopers say other potential victims have come forward. And they say there may be others out there.
"We expect the investigation to expand rather than to wrap up quickly. And we're certainly interested in talking to anyone who has any information, victims or otherwise," Lincoln said.
State police say the charges against Brian Tait may change. For now, he's due in court later this month.
We were able to reach Brian Tait by phone and he said he could not comment on his case. State police are asking anyone with any information to call them at (315) 366-6000.