Prestigious Brooklyn private school Poly Prep has reached a settlement with plaintiffs from a 2009 lawsuit that alleges decades of sexual abuse by former football coach Phil Foglietta, according to the Daily News.
The News has closely followed the lawsuit–which highlights a situation eerily similar to the recent scandal at Penn State University–for more than two years. Details of the settlement have not been disclosed, but Poly Prep did admit, at least on some level, to Foglietta’s guilt in a statement to the News from the school’s current headmaster David Harman:
“We hope that the settlement brings a measure of closure to those members of the Poly community who were abused by Philip Foglietta.”
The 12-plaintiff lawsuit accused Foglietta, who passed away in 1998, of sexually terrorizing students at Poly Prep for decades. Some of the plaintiffs, who declined to be identified in the suit, accused Foglietta of sexually abusing them on hundreds of occasions according to the News.
One of the plaintiffs described an episode where the school’s athletic director actually saw Foglietta sexually assaulting him in the shower but said nothing about it.
The lawsuit claimed that hundreds of boys may have been molested by Foglietta. Though details of the settlement are unknown, each plaintiff originally sought $20 million in damages in the case.
Kevin Mulhearn, the lawyer of the 12 plaintiffs, spoke to the News about the settlement:
“This is the end of a long and difficult journey for these twelve plaintiffs who were victimized many years ago….Both the litigation and the settlement process were quite contentious but in the end both sides were able to achieve a measure of peace and healing through compromise.”
Poly Prep fought hard to have the lawsuit dismissed on grounds that the statute of limitations had passed. But the court ruled that aspects of the case were still subject to legal scrutiny because the school attempted to cover up the abuses for so many years.
The News caught up with, John Marino, a former football player at Poly Prep who said he witnessed Foglietta molesting boys on at least 10 different occasions. Marino, who is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said the school’s administration branded him as a trouble-maker and threatened to expel him from the school if he tried to come forward about the abuses.
Marino said he shot down sexual advances from Foglietta during his freshman year in high school at Poly Prep. After denying the coach’s advances, Marino said Foglietta began tormenting him at practices and calling him names such as “homo” and “faggot” — two insults that he apparently liked to throw around often at students and faculty members around campus.
The lawsuit claimed that hundreds of boys may have been molested by Foglietta. Though details of the settlement are unknown, each plaintiff originally sought $20 million in damages in the