‘Basketball Diaries’ coach ‘Lefty’ named in Boys & Girls Club sexual abuse lawsuit

NCVBA attorney James Marsh was featured in this article originally posted on CTPost on September 24, 2019

Two predators were allowed unfettered access to vulnerable children and their repeated sexual abuse was ignored by staff at the then-Madison Square Boys Club, according to 20 plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit filed in New York on Monday.

The 20 men say they were raped and molested by two men at the Kipps Bay clubhouse of the Madison Square Boys Club between 1950 and 1980. The abuse occurred “in plain sight,” of other adults, according to the complaint.

The Madison Square Boys Club was the original Boys Club in New York City and one of the founding members of what eventually became the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The lawsuit filing follows the publication of Hearst Connecticut Media’s six-month investigation into child sex abuse at Boys & Girls Clubs of America affiliates in 30 states. The investigation found 250 people who say they were abused by staff, volunteers and other members and found allegations that adults at multiple clubs did not report abuse.

The lack of oversight allowed basketball coach and gym director, Nicholas Antonucci, known as “Lefty,” and “pool doctor” Dr. Reginald Archibald, among others, to repeatedly sexually abuse boys at the club, the suit alleges.

“Predators were running the institution,” said James Marsh, an attorney whose firm is representing the victims in the case. “People running, funding and directing [the club] were actually the problem. I don’t think this was about protecting the institution — I think they were the institution.”

The club — a powerful entity revered and supported by New York City’s elite in its heyday — didn’t just ignore abuse, but purposefully structured the organization to provide vulnerable at-risk youth to predators in positions of power, according to the civil attorneys representing alleged victims.

“We have a number of people who allege they were sexually abused by different people and you get to the point where you start to wonder what the motivation was for the club, given the number of different people who’ve brought allegations over time,” said Seattle-based attorney Jason Amala, who has teamed up with Marsh’s firm on the case. “At this point, we don’t know the full extent of it and that’s one of the things our clients want to figure out.”

Representatives of Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, named as the defendant in the lawsuit, said they could not comment on the specifics of the case.

“We recognize that as an organization — and a society — we have a responsibility to make sure victims of abuse are heard, acknowledged and empowered to heal,” reads a statement from the organization. “The Madison Square Boys and Girls Club applauds the courage of those who have come forward to describe their painful experiences at Madison between 1950 and 1980, which strike at the very core of our organization’s values.”

You can read the full article here: https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Lawsuit-Doctor-coach-sexually-abused-boys-for-14462075.php