By: Samantha Breitner, Associate in G&E’s Civil Rights Practice Group Former Catholic gym teacher Edwin Gaynor’s May 2022 passing has left dozens of his former students in a frustrated quandary. Gaynor was a gym teacher and coach at several Catholic schools and institutions from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. He was a teacher and coach at St. Bernard School in White Plains, NY, the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scarsdale, and Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne. Over the past several years, more than 30 of Gaynor’s former students have come forward with sexual abuse claims against Gaynor and the Archdiocese of New York. Survivors claim Gaynor sexually assaulted them as minors; some as young as 10 years old. As recently as November 2021, the plaintiffs’ claims seemed to be validated when Gaynor appeared to admit his guilt in a hand-written letter. But now, these survivors may not experience the justice they deserve. A judge had ordered Gaynor to appear for a deposition in mid-May, or he would be arrested. Gaynor passed away prior to the date.

The Child Victims Act

G&E Principal Barbara Hart and the Civil Rights attorneys at Grant & Eisenhofer represent these 33 survivors who filed claims against Gaynor. Barbara and the Civil Rights attorney team also represent many other sex abuse survivors under the New York law known as The Child Victims Act. Passed in 2019, the Act granted survivors a two-year lookback window for which to file sexual abuse claims—no matter when the abuse occurred. Over 10,000 cases were filed during that window, which closed in August 2021. These survivors brought claims against priests, coaches, doctors and others for sexual assaults that occurred decades ago. For the sexual abuse survivors in the Gaynor case, it is a frustrating development, as Gaynor’s deposition was a long time coming. Since December 2019, Gaynor, in his 80s, avoided deposition requests, citing a myriad of health issues, and declined to produce documents relating to the accusations. Frustratingly, in many cases the accused die before survivors have a chance to experience justice. “His dying does not put closure on this whatsoever,” one of Gaynor’s accusers said.

Contact Grant & Eisenhofer’s Civil Rights Attorneys for a Consultation

Grant & Eisenhofer’s civil rights attorneys can help you determine if you have legal options to file a sexual harassment or sexual assault lawsuit. We are here to listen to your story and encourage you to speak out. Call (855) 244-2031 or use our online form to  schedule a free consultation.