Gary Goddard takes 'leave of absence' from company following sexual harassment allegations

FP Staff

Nov 29, 2017 11:26:23 IST

Gary Goddard, producer and designer of international theme parks, has taken a leave of absence from his Los Angeles based entertainment design firm The Goddard Group after actor Anthony Edwards accused him of sexually abusing him when he was a minor, as reported by the LA Times.

Gary Goddard takes leave of absence from company following sexual harassment allegations

Gary Goddard. AP

The accuser, Anthony Edwards, now a 55-year-old actor known for appearing on TV shows ER and Law & Order: True Crime has accused Goddard of sexually molesting him when he was 14 years old in an essay he published on Medium on 10 November.

Edwards said in the post, “I met Goddard when I was 12, and he quickly became a dominant force in my life. He taught me about the value of acting, respect for friendship, and the importance of studying. Pedophiles prey on the weak. My father, who suffered from undiagnosed PTSD from WWII, was not emotionally available. Everyone has the need to bond, and I was no exception… My vulnerability was exploited. I was molested by Goddard, my best friend was raped by him — and this went on for years. The group of us, the gang, stayed quiet.”

This was followed up by a second accuser, former actor Bret Douglas Nighman, now 56, coming forward about Goddard’s attempts at molesting him when he was 15, and has also backed claims on another post on Medium.

While the producer has denied the allegations, the company has issued a statement announcing Goddard’s leave from the company to allow the company and its employees to continue their projects unaffected by the recent allegations made against him. “We believe this move is in the best interest of the company, its employees and clients,” said Barry Kemper, COO of The Goddard Group, as reported by Deadline.

Goddard’s leave of absence from The Goddard Group is effective immediately. The company’s statement did not indicate when he might return. He is being replaced by Taylor Jeffs who has been the director of design at The Goddard Group for over 14 years.

Updated Date: Nov 29, 2017 11:26:23 IST