Alleged perpetrator in Greenwich Boys Club suit denies allegations
GREENWICH — The man at the center of an unfolding investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich years ago is denying any criminal conduct.
Andrew Atkinson, 54, was named in court papers by a group of men, now in their late 40s and early 50s, who said he perpetrated sexual abuse on them at the club from about 1976 to 1984, when Atkinson was a young counselor there.
Atkinson spoke to Greenwich Time by phone to deny wrongdoing.
“It never happened,” he said.
As to the allegations against him, contained in a civil lawsuit against the Boys & Girls Club in state Superior Court, Atkinson said, “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Atkinson, a graduate of Greenwich High School, said has been living in Florida and working in the field of airplane manufacturing.
The statute of limitations has passed for criminal penalties, according to Greenwich police and attorneys in the case.
The civil lawsuit says the sexual abuse took place at the club when the plaintiffs were youngsters or adolescents. Atkinson is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which is directed at the Boys & Girls Club. The plaintiffs in the case say the club, then known as the Greenwich Boys’ Club, was negligent in its handling of an alleged sexual predator, allowing his activities to go unchecked.
Five men have come forward to take part in the lawsuit, while lawyers involved in the litigation say there are more victims.
Atkinson said he had a meeting with Phil Russell, the lawyer who is representing the men suing the club, about two years ago in Greenwich. Atkinson said that meeting appeared to him to be about staffing issues at the club, and he said the issue of sexual assault was not raised then.
Atkinson said he was informed recently by a friend that he had been named in the lawsuit.
“None of this is true,” Atkinson said. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Atkinson is now being represented by a Greenwich attorney, Michael Sherman. Sherman declined comment on the case.
The level of detail provided by the plaintiffs in the case appears credible, and Russell, the attorney representing the men, said their accounts had been “corroborated.” An investigator has also been working on the case.
Russell said, “The sworn statements filed in the court say he assaulted these children, and they define my position, regardless of what Mr. Atkinson has to say now.”
Atkinson moved to Greenwich as a youngster from the Caribbean, with his mother, who is recently deceased, he said. He later moved to New Jersey, he said, before relocating to Florida.
The plaintiffs suing the Boys & Girls Club have been granted permission to use pseudonyms in the court case, to protect their privacy. The plaintiffs say they have struggled with mental-health problems as a result of their victimization perpetrated at the sports and recreation club on Horseneck Lane. The amount of damages they are seeking has not been specified.
The administration at the Greenwich club, and the national organization, say procedures are in place to prevent any abusive activity, and they are working through the courts to find an acceptable outcome.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of America will continue to review in a way that prioritizes safety and fully cooperate in the judicial process,” said a statement from the national organization.