GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Niagara Falls man was arrested Thursday and charged with sexually abusing an 8-year-old child at Martin’s Fantasy Island, on Grand Island.
Deputies say for two weeks prior to the June 22 incident, Barry Hollis, a.k.a. Michael Nofear, planned his visit to Grand Island and scoped out parks in the area. Authorities say the abuse happened in public and it is not believed the 36-year-old knew the victim.
Hollis is charged with first degree felony sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.
Len Synor is the Marketing Director at Fantasy Island. He tells News 4 the assault was reported at the end of June, but he would not say where it allegedly took place inside the park.
“The father of the child filed the report with the sheriff’s office. I was made aware of it when the incident report passed through [my] office,” Synor said.
Deputies say the attack was random and that Hollis did not know this child.
Synor says he does not believe there is any surveillance evidence from the park. He says this is the first time he’s heard about something like this happening at Martin’s Fantasy Island.
“This was an isolated incident. We have coached our employees, if they see anything like this to report it immediately to a supervisor. And in light of this incident, we have stepped up that training to make sure they’re a little extra vigilant now, just to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Synor said.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s office told News 4 that Hollis was opportunistic and took advantage of a situation. The spokesman wouldn’t elaborate about what that meant.
Sheriff Timothy Howard is urging all parents to be aware of their surroundings and to keep their children in sight.
“Know where they are going and arrange that they at not left alone,” he advised. “Reinforcing the old rule of ‘don’t talk to strangers’ with your children and teaching them to shout for help and call 911 if they are threatened by a stranger can help prevent these incidents.”
Hollis is being held in the Erie County Holding Center pending arraignment. He’s due back in Grand Island Town Court on Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office is not releasing further details about the incident due to the age of the victim.