Just eight months ago, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett partner Philip Culhane was hoping there was some way he could resolve a deeply troubling and traumatic matter without going to court. Yes, the legendary football coach at his Brooklyn preparatory school had sexually abused Culhane when he was in 5th grade, and, yes, the abuse had plunged Culhane into a nearly 20-year battle with severe depression. But Poly Prep Country Day was his alma mater, a “good institution” that prepared Culhane for college and beyond, ultimately for a career in law. “Will you meet with me?” Culhane wrote to David Harman, Poly Prep’s current headmaster, in a letter dated Aug. 31 of last year. “Let’s see if together we can’t find a way out of this situation.”
Two months later, it was clear there was no other way out — at least not one the Poly Prep alum considered fair — and so Culhane made a difficult decision: He became one of six name plaintiffs who, along with three John Does, have sued Poly Prep in federal court in Brooklyn for allegedly covering up decades of sex abuse by the coach, Philip Foglietta, who died in 1998. The school learned of allegations against Foglietta as early as 1966 and failed to act on them even as administrators sent letters to parents assuring them that the school was investigating the matter, the suit alleges. The school celebrated Foglietta’s retirement with a dinner even though court records indicate he left the school in part because another victim had come forward, court records show.
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