Eric Lewis got a phone call from an old friend’s sister shortly after he wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in 2013 detailing his time playing under a high school football coach who was also a serial sexual predator.
That call ultimately led Lewis to take a turn this week as a journalist—a departure from his busy career as a prominent lawyer handling international fraud disputes, including representing Bernie Madoff’s investment firm in its liquidation—at his nearly 40-lawyer firm Lewis Baach in Washington, D.C.
On the other end of the line was Pamela DiBenedetto, who had read Lewis’ piece in the Times about the decades of sexual assault perpetrated by Philip Foglietta, the head football coach for decades at the Polytechnic Preparatory Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York. DiBenedetto’s twin brother, Robert, had committed suicide in 1984 by jumping in front of a subway train. His sister wondered if Robert was one of Foglietta’s hundreds of victims. Court records indicated he was.
Lewis told the DiBenedettos’ story—and that of many others—in an Esquire magazine story released Thursday. The article asks why nobody stopped Foglietta, who died in 1998, from preying on young boys despite a general understanding among students that a predator was in their midst. Lewis’ story also shows that Poly Prep administrators were warned multiple times about the abuse, citing recently unsealed depositions from a suit that resulted in a settlement for some victims.
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