Most of the world is now aware – and appalled – by the BBC’s sexual scandal that was engaged in for so many years by that network’s (never convicted or imprisoned) TV star who is now deceased.
“Report Depicts Horrifying Pattern of Child Sexual Abuse by BBC Celebrity,” was the New York Times headline on Jan. 12 – nearly two years late – since this sexual monstrosity, Jimmy Savile, died in 2011, at age 84.
Scotland Yard revealed more than 200 cases of Savile’s sexual abuse of victims as young as 8. The most serious offenses, described in their report as involving rape or penetration, involved 26 females and eight males.
Yet Savile, who was long celebrated as a zany national treasure, with a near-saintly commitment to charitable work with children, was actually knighted by Pope John Paul II and by Queen Elizabeth II.
One of the report’s central conclusions was that Savile matched the huge following he built across Britain, especially among children, with a chilling ability to work his way into the confidence of his victims.
This BBC scandal prompted the resignation of its director-general, George Entwistle, and a shakeup in its news division.
Hard on the heels of this British atrocity came similarly horrendous pedophile news from Brooklyn, at one of our nation’s premier preparatory schools, Poly Prep.
New York attorney – and Poly Prep alumnus – Eric Lewis revealed to the New York Times that just after Christmas Poly Prep settled the lawsuit.
This lawsuit charged that for more than 40 years, this nationally known prep school covered up the predatory pedophilia of its legendary football coach, Philip Foglietta.
Attorney Lewis also revealed in his Times article:
“The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but the lawsuit charged that school administrators were repeatedly informed from the 1960s until his forced retirement in 1991 that Mr. Foglietta was sexually abusing boys – on campus, in his apartment and during trips. Mr. Foglietta, who died in 1998, fondled and raped dozens, if not hundreds, of children. …
“Coach was often a bully. He would hit a player with his own helmet or instruct an offensive lineman who missed a block to hold the ball like a quarterback while the entire defensive line slammed into him. Water breaks in the August miasma of two-a-day practices had to be earned through performance. Kids who had quit the team, he would suggest, deserved to be beaten up. He would talk about the ‘fruits’ and ‘homos’ on the male faculty. …
“The Poly board chairman has said he learned about the abuse of his brother only last year. … There is little doubt that senior administrators were told about the abuse on multiple occasions. The lawsuit recounts specific meetings between boys, their parents, the headmaster and the athletic director. That athletic director, who went on to become dean of students and assistant headmaster, reportedly witnessed abuse in the showers and walked away. In 1991, the headmaster allegedly told one of the victims that Coach was a bitter, sick old man who should be left alone. Coach Phil was powerful, intimidating, successful, not to be trifled with. And so for a quarter-century, he freely abused vulnerable boys, virtually in plain sight. …
“Pedophilia remains endemic, a powerful, difficult-to-treat compulsion. Prosecutions are rare, and victims who come forward years later are often barred from court by inflexible rules. Statutes limiting lawsuits should be altered to recognize that these crimes emerge slowly. Every school should have an investigative protocol available to parents online. There should also be at least one experienced person in every institution to whom incidents can easily be reported on a confidential basis.
“Sexual abuse of children presents itself in confusing, ambiguous ways, so pedophilia education should be a mandatory part of the curriculum, repeated in elementary, middle and high school, at age-appropriate levels of detail. Abused children need to understand that they have done nothing wrong, that it is safe to come forward.
“Shame ruined lives at Poly Prep; our great successes of youth have turned to ashes. I am angry at the school for failing to protect so many boys. But I am also ashamed of myself, that I was so intimidated, so desperate for Coach’s approval, so eager to be a boy winning football games, that I failed to be the man I know I should have been.”
With gratitude for this attorney’s confession – even though it is years late – and with hope that it can help ward off sex crimes at other schools.