More Football Priviledge

Currently in the news is the case of the rape of a teenage girl in Steubenville Ohio, where the perpetrators are being supported by some of the supporters of the football team. Last year, Jerry Sanduski, the football coach at Penn State university was convicted of a string of child abuses that the university knew about for 14 years and did nothing. In both of these instances, predators have been given a pass because of a communities need to place athletic prowess and public perception above victims.

Well, there is another example of this same phenomenon at Poly Prep Day School in Brooklyn NY.  Poly Prep:

is a is a school headquartered in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Initially founded as part of the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, Poly Prep now offers classes from the nursery grade to 12th grade, occupying buildings on two campuses.

Ploy Prep prides itself on the accomplishments of its athletic teams, and obviously to the detriment of the students. Here’s the story in the New York Times by a former student of the school where he describes the case of the football coach who was allowed to molest children for 40 years.

Just after Christmas, Poly Prep Country Day School, the venerable Brooklyn institution, settled a lawsuit alleging a more than 40-year cover-up of the predatory pedophilia of its legendary football coach, Philip Foglietta. 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.

The coach was able to lead the team to victory against much larger schools, but he certainly wasn’t a pleasant man.

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. He would bark curse words in a strange argot of Italianized English.

All the while, it was common knowledge that he had a thing for his students, especially those who were more vulnerable and lees likely to cause him trouble.

many of us also knew that Coach Phil showered with the fifth graders. We knew that he hung around the locker room and checked that each of us had thoroughly rinsed off. Most of us knew he invited kids for car rides to Coney Island in his green Chevy Impala and for overnight stays at the apartment he shared with his mother. Most of those kids were young and small, often boys who had lost their fathers. He didn’t bother kids whose fathers were in local politics (my dad was in the State Senate) or allegedly high up in the mob (a couple of Gambino grandsons went to our school). Those boys were never offered a ride in the green Impala.

Lewis and his classmates have agonized over their failure to stop the abuse, but they were young, it is the administration that shoulders all of the blame.

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.

The privilege to abuse wears many faces; it can be seen in athletes, musicians, teachers, religious and club leaders, politicians, and those with money.  There are two things common in all of these cases. Victims, whether children or unconscious women, are blamed for the abuse; and organizations and communities support the abusers.

Ultimately, the group is more important than the victims, and the lives that end in drug abuse and suicide are inconsequential.

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