Poly Prep Country Day School and the 12 plaintiffs who accused a longtime football coach of sexual abuse have reached a settlement.
In 2009, a suit was brought against the elite private school at 9216 Seventh Avenue for covering up a 25-year scandal and putting the reputation of the school before the safety of the students.
The suit claimed officials at the school knew that coach Phil Foglietta was sexually abusing boys, but chose to ignore the complaints because they wanted to protect their prestigious reputation.
The suit, which sought $20 million for each of the twelve plaintiffs, also named faculty members as witnesses to the abuse. One plaintiff stated that former Poly Prep athletic director Harlow Parker saw Foglietta abuse him in the shower and did nothing to stop the coach.
Another plaintiff stated that the coach abused him everyday starting when he was just 10-years-old.
“This is the end of a long and difficult journey for these twelve plaintiffs who were victimized many years ago,” said Kevin Mulhearn, the lawyer who represented the plaintiffs. “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.”
The case was a rather unusual one because attorneys for Poly Prep argued that the statute of limitations had expired on filing the claims. However, U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block ruled that parts of the suit could proceed because officials at the school could have lied about when they became aware of the claims.
The suit states that school administrators covered up the abuse since 1966, the year the coach was hired. The first boy to come forward told officials of the abuse just months after Foglietta took the position. Poly Prep officials said they didn’t find out about the abuse until 1991.
“We hope that the settlement brings a measure of closure to those members of the Poly community who were abused by Philip Foglietta,” headmaster David Harman said in the statement, according to a New York Daily News article. “Poly Prep has established itself as a model for the prevention of abuse to those within our care and we will do everything in our power to insure that nothing like this ever happens again.”
The settlement details have not been made public.