A New York City man is speaking out publicly for the first time, sharing his very personal and painful story of sexual abuse that he kept secret for years.
Decades after the traumatic experiences 47-year-old Chi Wright's memory is as present as it was then. He remembers every bathroom, stairwell and building in the state Capitol complex in Albany where he said the abuse took place in the late 1980s, at the hands of adult men.
"This would be lined up with men. Some sitting in stalls. Some standing here by the urinals," he told NBC New York. "My abusers would meet me in the bathrooms and they would take me in these emergency stairwells.”
Wright recently confronted his past, returning with NBC New York to what he claims was the scene of multiple sex crimes. He could remember where he used to get off the bus, what doors he would enter the building. His mother worked in an office for the state performing arts center known as the Egg, and he would come to visit every day after school.
"My mom worked there and I would come in the office. This bathroom was the location where I was first raped," Wright said. "They would just gather in the back area and have sex there."
Wright acknowledges he sought out encounters, but claims in court papers he was triggered by a traumatic assault months before when he attended a YMCA camp near Lake George and a counselor abused him.
"I was a very effeminate boy. I didn’t understand my sexuality yet. The pleasure and the experience really confused me, and the shame and secrecy of it as well," he said. "Some children when they’re sexually abused they retreat. Some children become hyper sexual."
As a result, Wright said he became the perfect prey of predators here. His mother had no idea. He believes many were state employees.
"By the time I was 15 and a half, I guesstimated I had 150 encounters with adult white men from the time I was 12 up until I was 15 and a half years old. And no one noticed. This place took away my innocence, raped my innocence, and left me destitute emotionally," he said. "The way I coped with trauma was to seek out more sexual experience."
Wright has filed dual lawsuits against the YMCA and the State of New York under the Child Victims Act. It created a two year window — ending on August 14 of this year — allowing any sex abuse victim up to age 55 to file a civil claim.
"They’re responsible because they gave these predators a venue—a location to do these acts," said Wright's attorney, Juan Fernandez.
The entities named in the lawsuit declined to comment. Wright says he is still processing the pain, but he hopes his story will spark a #MenToo movement — something to overcome the "epidemic of silence" regarding male sexual abuse.
"We’re abused as well, and it’s even harder to come forward," he said. It’s haunted me for most of my adult life ... I want others to understand the shame and fear doesn't belong to them — it belongs to the people who abused them. And it’s a hard process to come forward, but for me it was essential because the secrets and the shame were killing me."
The Office of Court Administration said that nearly 6,800 claims have been filed — close to 200 in one recent week, with the deadline approaching.