New Brighton man, 72, files Child Victims Act sex-abuse lawsuit against Poly Prep
By Joseph Ostapiuk
February 04, 2020
|The Poly Prep campus in Brooklyn.|
A 72-year-old New Brighton man filed a Child Victims Act lawsuit against his alma mater, Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, for alleged abuse he suffered on a weekly basis on the grounds of the institution when he was between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.
The newly-filed lawsuit alleges that Richard Rubin endured “multiple rapes and vicious and brutal sexual assaults” by five separate teachers at the school, including being assaulted in classrooms, stairwells, a locker room and the apartment of one of the abusers.
Poly Prep “failed to take steps” to prevent the teachers from raping children in their care, instead leaving the accused individuals in charge of the children who attended the school, the court filing claims.
The lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn state Supreme Court, alleges that Rubin was “groomed at an early age” during his time at Poly Prep — being induced to look up to his teachers and place “absolute trust and confidence in them" while the preparatory school “turned a blind eye” to teachers who repeatedly engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct.
The accused teachers, according to the lawsuit, would conspire in an effort to pick out boys they believed would be “receptive targets.”
Rubin was allegedly sexually assaulted two-to-three days a week, court papers allege, with many of the attacks occurring for a “prolonged period of time.”
“Recently, we learned that an alumnus has come forward with legal action against Poly Prep, citing sexual abuse in the early 1960s. Because this is a legal matter, we cannot share more details, but know we care deeply about our alumni, and remain committed to them,” Audrius Barzdukas, Poly Prep’s head of school, said in a written letter to the school community.
“Poly instituted best practices years ago with the goal of having our school be a model educational environment in terms of safety and abuse prevention. There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our students, who are and will always remain our top priority,” the letter continued.
Now a 72-year-old Staten Island resident, Rubin used his full name in the lawsuit — forgoing an opportunity to remain anonymous in the case.
Attorney David Oddo, from Okun, Oddo and Babat, said his client does not feel he should hide. “He was the victim,” Oddo said, “He thinks the people who did it to him should hide.”
“I’ve heard a lot of these kind of stories,” Oddo said, “but this story was one of the more disturbing because it seemed to be a very organized operation.”
Rubin, who suffered deep physical, psychological and emotional injury as a result of the alleged acts, came forward to “have his story told,” Rubin said.
Poly Prep has been the target of recent lawsuits. In November 2019, a lawsuit alleged a football player at the school was sexually assaulted by a priest in the 1970s, and another lawsuit alleged an active tennis coach assaulted a student in the 1980s.
Hundreds of lawsuits were filed across New York state in August 2019 by adults who allege they were sexually abused as children, and a number of Staten Island institutions were named in the decades-old allegations.
Some suits were filed just moments after the Child Victims Act went into effect last year.
Signed into law on Feb. 14 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the legislation lifts the statute of limitations on civil action for child sex abuse in the state for one year.
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