BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Famed former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath is accused of covering up sexual abuse at his football camp in Wilmington, Vt., in the 1970s.
The New York Post reported on a lawsuit filed by Florida real estate broker Philip Lyle Smith, 64, who said he was assaulted at a Joe Namath Instructional Football Camp at the Sitzmark Lodge when he was 12 years old.
“Smith said his alleged sexual predator was well-known Brooklyn Poly Prep Country Club football coach Philip Foglietta, later revealed to be a serial pedophile who abused scores of students at the tony school,” The Post article states, noting Foglietta died in 1998.
Smith told The Post that Namath was his idol when he was attending the camp.
“And he went from my hero to a zero in my life,” Smith said in the article.
“It was a dream come true for a 12-year-old,’’ Smith told The Post. “[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.”
The Post reported Smith’s case was filed under the Child Victims Act, which had temporarily reopened the statute of limitations allowing alleged victims to file civil suits against institutions and individuals.
His lawsuit claims that he received special perks at the camp while Foglietta groomed and abused him, according to The Post, including that he was able to ate meals in the camp lunchroom with Namath and co-defendant John Dockery, a former Jets defensive back, and other NFL players, coaches and instructors.
The original complaint filed in New York in 2019 was amended in July 2021. Smith accuses the defendants of negligence, inadequate security, breach of duty, assault, battery and causing emotional distress, and seeks unspecified damages, according to The Post. He recently revealed he was the plaintiff in court documents, according to ESPN.
The Post reported that a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge denied a motion from the defense to dismiss the case, and several of the defendants have appealed the decision. Lawyers for Namath, Dockery and the camp did not respond to requests from The Post for comment, according to the article.
In their response to the complaint, Namath and Dockery “denied several of the accusations and claimed not to have enough information to offer useful responses to details Smith included,” ESPN reported.