Prime Hollywood producer Gary Goddard has been accused of rape by no less than eight former little one actors.
Following “ER” alum Anthony Edwards’ allegation that Goddard sexually assaulted him when he was simply 12 years outdated, seven extra from his Santa Barbara theater group are accusing their one-time mentor of violently raping them within the 1970’s.
They describe Goddard’s advances as starting from straying arms on thighs throughout lulls in a manufacturing or fondling in a darkened Disneyland experience, to repeated incidents of sexual abuse throughout a troupe’s in a single day stays in a statewide tour. As well as, Edwards and one other former theater scholar mentioned in interviews that a classmate who has since died, Scott Drnavich, informed them that he was sexually assaulted by Goddard as a boy.
Goddard, 65, has led an eclectic and profitable profession directing, producing and writing in Hollywood and on Broadway, and as a designer of theme parks and different points of interest. He declined to be interviewed. His publicist, Sam Singer, disputed the allegations, which he mentioned have been “stuffed with innuendo and rumour.”
“If it have been potential to show a detrimental, Mr. Goddard would debate these 40-year-old allegations,” Singer mentioned, however as an alternative would solely “categorically deny” their veracity.
Goddard’s accusers have gone on to attain success in Hollywood and different industries, however they are saying they’ve grappled with the psychological aftershocks of his alleged abuse. Their private sagas have concerned remedy, tearful revelations to others and dramatic confrontations with the person they as soon as revered.
“It is a man who’s interested in little boys, and attracted within the sickest means,” mentioned Edwards, an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor identified for roles in “Prime Gun” and “ER.” “This isn’t love, this isn’t friendship what he was doing. It’s a horror as a result of it’s manipulating younger hearts and minds.”
‘The Misplaced Boys’
For many years, the seaside hamlet about 100 miles north of Los Angeles was a surprisingly busy incubator for Hollywood expertise. Goddard, who graduated from Santa Barbara Excessive Faculty in 1970, acted in and directed scholar productions with budding stars resembling Timothy Bottoms, who alongside along with his three brothers went on to movie and tv fame.
Goddard, a Disney geek whose mom made sandwiches on the native deli, was on an early related monitor to success. He majored in theater, dance and movie on the California Institute of the Arts earlier than touchdown a task at Walt Disney Imagineering, the corporate’s vaunted theme park design group, in 1976.
He continued to remain concerned in Santa Barbara, directing youth productions together with “Oliver!” and “Jesus Christ Celebrity.”
To many boys, Goddard was as shut as any member of the family. “He was type of magical and thrilling,” mentioned Bret Nighman, a former actor who first met Goddard when he was 13. Edwards described Goddard as a “mentor, trainer and buddy,” and a “dominant power” in his life. Former actor Mark Driscoll mentioned that for a time period the shaggy red-haired auteur grew to become “an important particular person in my life.”
However there was a draw back to his consideration, a number of of his former proteges mentioned, inflicting them to keep away from being final within the automotive with Goddard, or closest to his mattress on an in a single day journey.
Driscoll mentioned that Goddard repeatedly sexually abused him over the course of three years, although he declined to offer particulars. “I knew I must expertise issues I didn’t need to” every time the mentor visited, he mentioned. 4 Santa Barbara classmates informed The Instances that Driscoll knowledgeable them of the sexual abuse throughout a get-together twenty years in the past.
Nighman mentioned that Goddard tried to molest him on 4 events by the point he was 16, culminating in an incident in 1977 on the mentor’s dwelling during which he allegedly rubbed Nighman’s crotch and compelled the boy to reciprocate.
Nighman’s childhood buddy Mark Daly, now an legal professional in Denver, mentioned that Nighman informed him about one of many alleged occurrences of abuse, during which Goddard tried to fondle him throughout a touring manufacturing of “Peter Pan.”
Linus Huffman, who acted in Goddard’s “Oliver!” on the age of 13, alleged that Goddard additionally tried to make use of mentoring through the manufacturing as an overture to the touch him.
“He pulled me apart and put his arms on my legs and went, ‘I’m very happy with you,’ and was going in direction of my crotch space,” recalled Huffman, who mentioned he extricated himself by telling Goddard he had a present to do.
In line with a number of folks interviewed by The Instances, Goddard’s most brazen conduct was exhibited through the “Peter Pan” manufacturing. A part of Santa Barbara-based California Youth Theatre, it featured underage auteurs on summer season break sojourning in a rickety faculty bus to packed playhouses across the state. Goddard directed and choreographed the manufacturing, giving him shut entry to its younger male actors, a lot of whom have been taking part in “The Misplaced Boys,” Peter Pan’s tribe of loyal acolytes.
‘A intestine feeling’
Goddard’s closeness to the actors drew suspicion from Barbara Costa, the manufacturing’s self-described “mom hen,” employed to look after the girls and boys of its forged.
Costa, 83, mentioned in an interview that she grew to become “extremely suspicious” of Goddard’s conduct on the tour, and “the best way Gary collected these boys. They might swirl round him.”
Costa mentioned that Goddard insisted on utilizing a room divider to maintain the opposite adults on the tour away from the boys at evening — after which slept on the boys’ aspect.
And on a morning at a camp close to Lake Tahoe the place the troupe stayed in 1977, Costa mentioned that she noticed Edwards strolling as if in bodily ache, with an “terrible expression on his face as if he was about to cry.” (Edwards mentioned he didn’t bear in mind the incident.)
Costa mentioned she took her considerations about Goddard to California Youth Theatre founder and director Jack Nakano, however she mentioned he expressed skepticism and requested her for proof. All she had was “a intestine feeling like a mom feels for a kid,” and the matter was dropped, she mentioned. Nakano died in 2009.
In his on-line essay and in an interview, Edwards alleged that Goddard sexually abused him as a toddler actor, however wouldn’t in any other case elaborate. Two of his forged mates in “Peter Pan,” nevertheless, described witnessing Goddard molest Edwards throughout that 1977 tour.
Nighman, 15 through the tour, alleged in his personal on-line essay that after bodily combating to maintain him out of his personal mattress and underwear, he watched Goddard power his means into Edwards’ mattress as an alternative and sexually molest him.
One other forged member who requested to not be recognized mentioned that he witnessed Goddard molest Edwards on the tour throughout an in a single day cease at a Woman Scouts camp in San Diego. A number of folks described the beds within the San Diego camp as having been pushed collectively, placing Goddard inside attain of a number of boys.
Edwards corroborated these accounts. “Sure, Gary Goddard molested me on the Peter Pan tour,” he informed The Instances in an e mail.
Many dad and mom have been skeptical of Goddard, the previous theater college students mentioned, however their suspicions have been typically assuaged once they defended him as a straight arrow who suggested in opposition to ingesting, smoking and medicines.
Edwards mentioned he stored his personal alleged abuse secret from his mom, denying it “by means of tears of full panic” when she requested about rumors that Goddard was a pedophile.
“He drove a stake between youngsters and their dad and mom,” Driscoll mentioned.
Maybe no secret was as bitterly stored because the alleged sexual assault of Drnavich. He was a gifted younger actor, dancer and singer, who was 15 when he performed “Freckles,” one of many Misplaced Boys.
Three folks informed The Instances that he later shared with them his declare of childhood sexual abuse.
Edwards mentioned that he and Drnavich confided in one another about their encounters with Goddard. Drnavich, in a match of anger over the lingering impact he mentioned the abuse was having on his grownup relationships, informed him that Goddard had sexually assaulted him “on many events.”
One other buddy of Drnavich, who requested to not be recognized, mentioned that Drnavich informed him as properly “that Gary had molested him varied occasions when he was a minor.”
Lissa Liggett, a childhood buddy from Santa Barbara, mentioned that Drnavich informed her on a number of events of getting been sexually assaulted by an grownup, who he claimed had additionally molested Edwards.
Drnavich died of HIV/AIDS-related problems in 1997. A number of of his mates mentioned that he was haunted by the sexual abuse. “He was such a ravishing, humorous, harmless particular person, which made it worse to look at how he suffered,” Liggett mentioned.
Singer, Goddard’s publicist, mentioned that Drnavich is “now not with us to disclaim this and can’t converse for himself” however supplied letters which he mentioned confirmed the “heat and optimistic” relationship the 2 males had as little as seven months earlier than Drnavich’s dying. The letters, in line with Singer, thanked Goddard for a pc and a digital camera for his enterprise.
Drnavich’s mom, Arline Drnavich, mentioned that her son by no means disclosed to her any sexual abuse. Goddard was a giant a part of Drnavich’s life and “very respectful,” she mentioned, notably after her son’s dying.
Drnavich, 88, mentioned she discovered within the final month that her late son’s mates have been circulating the allegation that he mentioned he had been sexually assaulted. “It’s laborious to know, but it surely’s very hurtful, that’s for positive,” she mentioned.
An indignant confrontation
As Goddard’s profile grew in Hollywood, he retained hyperlinks to the boys he had encountered in Santa Barbara. His most important movie credit score is as director of 1987’s “Masters of the Universe,” a essential and industrial flop, however as a supervisor he launched the careers of hometown youngsters Edwards and Eric Stoltz.
And he developed a profession as a designer of theme parks and different points of interest, co-founding Landmark Leisure Group with a former Santa Barbara classmate. The corporate had backing from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who was partnered with late pop star Michael Jackson. Goddard later based the Goddard Group, which has been concerned in multibillion-dollar tasks, together with the design of mega-casinos in China.
Goddard is taking a go away of absence as CEO in order that the corporate can “proceed their tasks undistracted by current allegations,” the corporate introduced final month.
He employed a number of former Santa Barbara proteges to work for him in Landmark and in different roles. These included Driscoll, an govt at Landmark from 1987 by means of 1996.
Singer, in denying the allegations, questioned accusers who “maintained private relationships with Mr. Goddard properly into maturity, and now, out of the blue, are making false, disparaging and defamatory statements.”
Driscoll cited “the long-lasting type of affect and energy” that he mentioned Goddard nonetheless had over him.
In 1990, whereas nonetheless employed by Landmark, Driscoll mentioned that in a get-together with a bunch of shut mates from the Santa Barbara theater, considered one of them broke down crying, alleging that he had been sexually abused as a toddler by Goddard.
In line with Driscoll, the opposite males shared their very own allegations about Goddard, till all six males within the shut buddy group had disclosed that he had sexually abused them as kids.
4 of the opposite males concerned corroborated Driscoll’s account of the confessional, and described to The Instances their very own allegations of getting been sexually abused by Goddard as kids. They every requested to not be named on this article.
One of many males alleged that Goddard molested him throughout a cease on the “Peter Pan” tour, by unzipping his sleeping bag and fondling him. One other alleged that Goddard masturbated him on a drive dwelling from Disneyland. A 3rd former scholar alleged a number of years of “shock assaults” involving “aggressive kissing” and groping by Goddard, together with an episode of fondling in a darkish experience at Disneyland. A fourth man mentioned that on in a single day visits as a teen to Florida — the place Goddard was directing stage exhibits for Disney World — and Los Angeles, Goddard had him sleep in the identical mattress as him and masturbated him.
Fueled by “anger and disbelief,” Driscoll mentioned, the group of males drove that evening to Goddard’s dwelling close to the Hollywood Reservoir, the place they banged on the door and confronted their “white-faced and quiet” former mentor. Driscoll mentioned that Goddard listened to their grievances and apologized.
In a press release to The Instances, Janie Mudrick — mom to Goddard’s little one — denied Driscoll’s allegations that Goddard abused him. Mudrick, a Santa Barbara native, mentioned she was 13 when she met Goddard, who was 18, and there was “by no means any indication or proof of any of the claims” involving Driscoll. Referring to Driscoll’s allegation that Goddard “groomed” his victims, Mudrick mentioned it “wasn’t grooming — it was care.”
In his personal account, Edwards mentioned that he confronted Goddard in regards to the sexual abuse throughout an encounter at an airport twenty years in the past. Edwards wrote that Goddard “swore to his regret and mentioned that he had gotten assist,” and that he “felt a short lived sense of aid.”
However that aid dissipated in 2014, Edwards mentioned, when Goddard was accused in two federal lawsuits of sexually abusing underage boys within the 1990s and 2000s. (The fits have been voluntarily dismissed inside a yr, with an legal professional for the plaintiffs apologizing to 2 different defendants for together with them within the claims. Goddard’s publicist referred to as the litigation “fraudulent.”) Edwards’ “rage resurfaced” at Goddard, he mentioned, and mates directed him to a therapist specializing within the therapy of sexual abuse victims.
He mentioned he drafted his essay implicating Goddard when he lastly felt “capable of discuss it as a survivor and never as a sufferer.” Earlier than he determined to publish the account, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was publicly accused of alleged sexual assault and harassment, opening the floodgates for grievances about different alleged abusers. Edwards revealed his account Nov. 10, spurring others to inform their very own tales about Goddard.
“In a way, it’s really my ‘me too,’” mentioned Edwards, who added that he’s since been inundated with correspondence from victims of sexual abuse. “The quantity of letters and emails I’ve gotten has been heartbreaking, but in addition implausible as a result of persons are therapeutic.”