Jul 15, 2012 07:42 AM EDT
Man Files Lawsuit against Harvard University Over Child Sex Abuse Three Decades Ago
Even as the world is shocked to learn of the revelations in the Penn State University child sex abuse case, another top university has been dragged into the limelight for a similar sexual abuse case.
A Florida man has filed a lawsuit against the prestigious Harvard University leveling sexual abuse charges on a dead swimming coach who worked at the university.
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Stephen M. Embry, 55, has claimed the university's former assistant swim coach Benjamin H. Merritt had sexually abused him for two years from ages of 12 to 14 in the early 70s. Embry said that coach Merritt, who was his neighbor at Billerica, promised to train him and assaulted and raped him on a number of occasions during the span of two years, reported The Harvard Crimson. He also said that there were other boys who were also abused by Meritt.
This is a second such complaint received in connection with the case after the first complaint was made 16 years ago by another man named Scott Hughson. Meritt, who has worked at the university from 1957 to 1972, committed suicide in 1996 after which the case was finally closed.
Nearly three decades after the alleged incidents took place, Embry has filed the lawsuit against the university in which he has claimed that Meritt couldn't have organized the swimming program for the non-college students without the university's permission.
"We have allegations from four people that this guy was teaching them to swim at a Harvard facility even though they weren't Harvard students during a period of time that was seven years," The Harvard Crimson quoted Carmen Durso, Embry's lawyer as saying.
"He was not taking these kids in there in the middle of night and sneaking in without turning the lights on; he was doing this very openly. So for seven years, he's got kids who are not students there," he said adding: "Either Harvard had a program under which this was being done or Harvard assented to him being able to do this. I find it hard to believe that a coach could do this without someone at Harvard saying 'Yeah, it is okay."
In response to the lawsuit, Harvard University released a statement saying that there was no basis to Embry's claims that the university knew about the incidents that is alleged to have happened three decades ago, reported metro.