Earlier this week, both the New York Post and the New York Daily News reported that seven alumni filed a suit in Brooklyn Federal Court against Poly Prep Country Day School, a member of the Ivy Preparatory School League.
The suit “accuses Poly Prep’s current and former headmaster and trustees of the elite private school of conspiring to intimidate or muzzle victims who said they were molested by ex-coach Philip Foglieta.” Philip Foglieta, who died in 1998, was a physical education teacher and football coach at Poly Prep from 1966-1991 and the suit alleges that he sexually abused dozens, “if not hundreds of boys.” A previous lawsuit filed by John Joseph Paggioli in 2005 against Poly Prep was dismissed in January 2006, because the statute of limitation had expired.
Included among the plaintiffs/Poly Prep alumni identified in the suit are: Philip Culhane, an attorney; James Zimmerman, an educator; and David Hiltbrand, a journalist. Zimmerman and Hiltbrand serve on the board of The White Tower Healing Foundation.
The Foundation was formed in 2008 when a group of Poly Prep alumni banded together,
in response to the sexual, mental and physical abuse perpetrated by Philip Foglietta during his tenure as Head Football Coach from 1966-1991 and to address the incalculable damage he inflicted.
It is our goal to identify abused alumni and provide a safe haven for them to come forward; reconcile them with the Poly Prep Community; provide educational programs on detection and prevention and address the importance of reporting issues of sexual and other kinds of abuse – because the abuse of any child affects us all.
The Foundation aims to help survivors of sexual abuse both within and outside of the Poly Prep Community. To make progress, however, we need the Alumni of Poly Prep to find the strength and courage to reach out to their fellow Poly Brothers and Sisters, to join those already assembling in growing numbers, to provide support and offer help to those victims of this unspeakable cruelty.
The Foundation’s website documents the history of the allegations against Coach Foglietta, which began in 1972. It also links to a letter (dated October 21, 2002) written by Poly Prep Headmaster David Harman to alumni which stated, “we have recently received credible allegations that such abuse occurred at Poly Prep more than twenty years ago by a faculty member/coach, who is now deceased. I felt that it was important that you, the alumni of the School, know about these allegations.”
In addition, the site has links to Poly Prep alumni “Victim Testimonials,” “Help and Education,” which lists resources that focus on sexual abuse of males and male survivors, and an “In the News” section which lists various articles and reports on this topic from 2005.
Kevin Mulhearn, also a Poly Prep alum, serves as the attorney representing the plaintiffs.
About the Author: Shamur A. Khen, Ph.D., is the Founder & Publisher of the NYC Firm Schools Blog.