New York Daily News

Poly alum: School commits fraud


ATTORNEYS for Poly Prep say it doesn’t matter if administra­tors and lawyers provided misleading testimony and documents to the 12 men who filed an explosive sexual abuse lawsuit against the private Brooklyn school because the statute of limitation­s had long passed on their claims.

Bill Fordes, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office who is now a producer for NBC’s “Law & Order” franchise, says his alma mater sounds like the boy who killed his parents and then begs the court for mercy because he’s an orphan.

“It’s absurd,” Fordes told the Daily News on Monday. “The fraud on the court is exactly what they’ve done to the victims since the 1960s.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak scheduled a July 19 hearing to decide if the school should be sanctioned for providing misleading testimony and documents. Poly Prep’s lawyers filed an appeal on Friday, arguing that it doesn’t matter if the school acted in bad faith because the lawsuit wasn’t filed in a timely fashion.

“Because all of plaintiffs’ claims were time-barred as of 1990 at the latest (and many of the individual plaintiffs’ claims became time-barred in the 1970s and 1980s), any alleged fraud — including fraud on the court — that took place after 1990 could not avoid the statute of limitation­s,” the school’s lawyers say in papers filed in Brooklyn federal court.

U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block said at a hearing last week that he would soon issue a ruling that would address both the appeal and Poly Prep’s motion to dismiss the suit. Pollak slapped the prep school with sanctions last year for destroying evidence.

“Poly Prep believes fraud on the court allegation­s made by plaintiffs are without merit,” a spokeswoma­n said. “While the school is committed to a fair resolution of this matter, it fully intends to continue to defend itself in this litigation.”

Fordes, a member of Poly Prep’s class of 1971 who has been critical of the way the school has handled its sexual abuse scandal, said the alleged fraud committed since the lawsuit was filed in 2009 is part of a decades-long effort by the school to keep students from taking legal action sooner.

“They have sought to delay and preclude action by assuring the plaintiffs that amends would be made,” Fordes said.

The lawsuit claims Poly Prep officials knew football coach Phil Foglietta was a dangerous sexual predator for decades but put the school’s reputation, athletic program and fund-raising ahead of the safety of its students. The suit says Poly Prep received complaints about Foglietta just months after he was hired in 1966.

The plaintiffs contend that high-ranking administra­tors not only ignored the complaints, but told students they would be expelled or discipline­d if they persisted in reporting the abuse. The suit seeks at least $20 million for each of the 12 plaintiffs.

“Defense counsel’s argument is shocking in its contempt for the rule of law,” said Kevin Mulhearn, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “It suggests that defendants should get a free pass for possible fraud upon the court. We are confident that this court will not countenanc­e such an offensive and novel argument.”

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