David Zarnock, a former NYPD detective and Poly Prep Country Day School graduate who has had run ins with the law, has shared a graphically detailed account of the sexual abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of the school’s former football coach Phil Foglietta with reporter Michael O’Keeffe – who has been covering the story for the Daily News.
Former students, including David Hiltbrand – an entertainment reporter in Philadelphia who attended Poly Prep in the late 1960s, and Jonathan Enroth – who was enrolled at the school in the late 1970s and early 1980s, came forward to the New York Times in 2005 with detail-laden stories of abuse at the hands of the now-deceased Foglietta.
In the most recent account by Zarnock, the sexual assaults began in 1982 – when he was in 8th grade.
Zarnock told reporters that, due to Foglietta’s advanced age at the time, his attacks were limited to inappropriate touching rather than anal penetration – which had been the case with earlier victims.
After the first assault, Foglietta reportedly “took the boy to a tavern, bought him a Coke and then drove Zarnock to his family’s Bay Ridge home.”
Zarnock says Foglietta, the burly coach with a booming voice and a beer keg body who turned Poly Prep into a city football power and died in 1998, abused him hundreds of times after that. The abuse continued until 1986, a year before he graduated from the elite private school in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.
“Looking back, I feel fortunate that he was older by the time that I met him,” Zarnock told the Daily News during an interview on Friday. “By the time I came along, he was in his 60s. All he did was touch me. He didn’t anally rape me like he did some of the other victims.”
Zarnock, who says he left the NYPD as a result of psychological trauma from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, learned about the current law suit against Poly Prep while sitting in a prison cell for assaulting a police officer during a domestic dispute in his home.
Last week, federal judge U.S. Magistrate Cheryl Pollack ruled that there was sufficient evidence Poly Prep officials lied when they denied having knowledge of the abuse allegations until 1991.
“The school was arguably attempting to dissuade potential victims from pursuing litigation against the school,” Pollak wrote.
Former Poly Prep football coach Phil Foglietta died in 1998, according to the Times.