Joe Namath, the legendary quarterback for the New York Jets, has been accused of covering up sexual abuse at his football facility over 50 years ago.
The lawsuit filed by 64-year-old Philip Lyle Smith in Brooklyn claims that his former coach, Philip Foglietta of the Brooklyn Poly Prep Country Club, sexually abused him at a Joe Namath Instructional Football Camp 51 years ago. Per the Daily Mail:
Foglietta, who died in 1998, sexually abused boys at the top New York private school over a 20-year period. The Brooklyn prep school was accused of covering up the abuse and settled a landmark lawsuit brought by former pupils in 2012.
It has now been alleged that the former football coach was allowed to repeatedly abuse Smith in a series of attacks starting when he was just 12 at the camp, Smith claimed in court papers.
Smith initially detailed his claims in the lawsuit under ‘John Doe’ but has now spoken publicly. Now a married Florida real-estate broker, he claimed to The New York Post that Namath and other defendants listed in the lawsuit were ‘enablers and the pedophile protectors.’
Smith’s lawsuit even goes so far as to claim that he received special treatment, including meals with Joe Namath, as he was being groomed for sexual abuse. Speaking to the New York Post, Smith said that they made him feel as if his dreams had come true. Some people even occasionally believed he was Namath’s nephew, given the amount of special treatment he received.
“It was a dream come true for a 12-year-old,’ Smith said. “[Foglietta] always made sure Joe Namath threw me at least one pass almost every single day and said hello to me almost every single day. I was feeling very special.”
The special treatment had an alleged darker turn as it became apparent to Smith that Foglietta had been allegedly grooming him.
“Every night he’d say, ‘See what I did? . . . You have pictures with so and so . . . Joe talked to you . . . How you can do that without me?’” Smith told the Post. “That was part of his grooming to abuse me.”
“Back in those days, Joe Namath was my idol,’ he added. “And he went from my hero to a zero in my life.”
Smith believes that Namath’s presence made it easier for the sexual abuse to occur, saying it made his mother feel comfortable with sending him to camp.
“It was a place my mother [thought] would create wonderful childhood memories for me,” he said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.”
Foglietta allegedly had an arrangement where Smith could sleep in his room. The lawsuit claims that Namath and his business partner did not “take measures to protect” him from Foglietta “despite being on notice of Foglietta’s unusual and exceptional closeness.”
Smith further claimed that he was forced to sleep in the same bed as Foglietta, forcing him to “strip naked for full body inspections,” showing him “soft-core pornography” before fondling his “penis and anus …”
“This is what people who love each other do,” Foglietta allegedly said.