Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Settles Lawsuit Over Decades of Alleged Sexual Abuse

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Poly Prep. Photo: @polyprep/Twitter

In the past year, sexual abuse allegations have come to light at several New York City schools, but one high school is finally closing the book on a decades-old scandal. Brooklyn's prestigious Poly Prep Country Day School has settled a 2009 lawsuit that claims officials covered up reports that football coach Phil Foglietta, who died in 1998, abused hundreds of boys during his 25-year tenure. According to the Daily News, the suit claims that a student accused Foglietta of molesting him just a few months after he was hired in 1966. The headmaster at the time, J. Folwell Scull, reportedly threatened to expel the boy, setting a precedent for other boys who came forward while Foglietta led the school's successful football program.

In court, lawyers for the school claimed that administrators didn't become aware of the abuse allegations until 1991. In New York, survivors of sexual abuse must file a case by the time they're 23, but in what may be a landmark decision, in August the court allowed parts of the case to move forward because officials may have lied about when they learned of the abuse.

The twelve men who brought the suit were seeking $20 million each, but the details of the settlement haven't been released. Defense attorney Kevin Mulhearn said he believes the current headmaster, David Harman, is "a good and decent person who cares deeply about children," which is why they were motivated to seek a settlement. "We hope that the settlement brings a measure of closure to those members of the Poly community who were abused by Philip Foglietta," said Harman in the statement. "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."