Sexual Abuse – Edwin Gaynor and Immaculate Heart of Mary School (Scarsdale, New York)
Former students of Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Scarsdale, New York have accused Edwin Gaynor of sexual abuse. The lawsuits against Gaynor, a former sports coach and physical education teacher, claim that school officials and parents were aware of sexual abuse allegations since the early 1960s.
Like many cases of sexual abuse in churches and schools, the complaints and accusations by students were largely ignored. The victims were allegedly abused by Gaynor in his office during physical education classes and at Gaynor’s home. According to court documents, Gaynor’s abusive conduct was a well-known fact. Parents talked to each other about Gaynor’s actions and were informed by their children of the abuse. Parents shared this information with school officials as well. The victims also reported the abuse to church officials in some cases.
The two most recent lawsuits were filed in November 2019 in Westchester County by Charles Booth of Florida and Daniel Fagan of Connecticut. Another victim, David Fox, filed a lawsuit several months earlier. According to Mr. Fox, Gaynor molested him in the bleachers on occasions when the young student did not have his gym clothes with him. The sexual abuse began when Mr. Fox was 8 years old and continued until he was eleven. When Mr. Fox directly complained to the Monsignor overseeing the school, the Monsignor accused him of lying and dismissed the accusations. The lawsuit also alleges that Gaynor sent a written apology to Mr. Fox after learning that he reported the abuse.
These claims have been brought under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) in New York. In total, five lawsuits against Gaynor have been filed to date. In addition to Immaculate Heart of Mary School, the Archdiocese of New York has also been named in the litigation for disregarding reports of sexual abuse by Gaynor and transferring him to other schools after complaints against him mounted.
The previous statute of limitations would have barred claims of sexual abuse against Gaynor. However, as of August 15, 2019, CVA permits victims of sexual abuse to file claims against their perpetrators and the institutions that supervised them for abuse that occurred years or even decades ago. The CVA also authorizes survivors of sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits until they reach the age of 55. Over 1,000 lawsuits have been filed under the CVA since the end of November. The Archdiocese has already paid over $60 million to victims from designated funds to resolve hundreds of reports of abuse filed against the Church in New York.
Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual abuse, please contact our lawyers for a free consultation by calling 1-800-225-9825 or submit an email inquiry on this page.