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Second accuser backs actor Anthony Edwards' molestation allegation against producer Gary Goddard

Second accuser backs actor Anthony Edwards' molestation allegation against producer Gary Goddard
An early headshot of Bret Douglas Nighman, who became the second man to come forward this month to accuse producer Gary Goddard of sexual abuse against minors.

After actor Anthony Edwards publicly accused producer Gary Goddard of molesting him as a child four decades ago, a second accuser has come forward to corroborate Edwards’ claim and allege that Goddard also attempted to molest him on multiple occasions.

Edwards, now 55 and whose television credits include 14 years on “ER,” claimed in an essay published on Medium Nov. 10 that Goddard molested him before the age of 14 and raped his best friend, whom he did not name.

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In his own Medium post Friday, entitled “Anthony Edwards is Telling the Truth,” former actor Bret Douglas Nighman, 56, said that when he was 15 while on a touring theater production directed by Goddard, he was in a nearby bed when the older man molested Edwards.

“I lay in my bed with my heart pounding and listened as one of my best friends who I loved get sexually molested,” Nighman wrote.

Goddard is a longtime Hollywood director, producer and screenwriter and the founder of the Goddard Group, a company that designs attractions for theme parks and hotels. He directed 1987’s “Masters of the Universe,” and his most recent significant credit is as a director of “Broadway 4D,” a long-stalled musical film starring Hugh Jackman and Christina Aguilera.

Goddard had previously issued a statement denying Edwards’ allegation. In a statement Sunday, Goddard’s publicist Sam Singer said that Nighman’s new allegations were “equally false.”

“While it is true that Mr. Nighman appeared in two productions that were directed by Mr. Goddard, his allegations of sexual advances are false,” the statement read. “It is equally disturbing that both individuals maintained personal and professional relationships with Mr. Goddard well into adulthood, and now, out of the blue, are making false, disparaging and defamatory statements.”

“During these emotionally charged times, it is virtually impossible to rebut and properly defend oneself from allegations that are 40 years old and in which any accusation — no matter how spurious and defamatory — is reported as ‘news,’” the statement continued. “It is disheartening and wrong for people to make such claims through personal posts on the internet when the accused have no reasonable method to demonstrate the allegations are concocted and possess no manner in which to correct the fabrications and falsehoods.”

Edwards has declined to be interviewed to elaborate on his allegations against Goddard.

It’s not the first time Goddard has been accused of sexual abuse of minors. Goddard and “X-Men” director and producer Bryan Singer were among the targets of federal lawsuits in 2014 accusing them of sexually abusing underage boys. The lawsuits were voluntarily dismissed, and attorneys for Michael Egan, who was one of the plaintiffs, apologized to two other defendants for including them in the litigation.

Sam Singer called the civil allegations “completely fabricated.”

Bryan Singer has previously derided the legal claims as a “sick, twisted shakedown,” and on Sunday his attorney maintained that the lawsuits were baseless.

Bryan Singer was a producer and consultant for Goddard’s film “Broadway 4D.” His attorney, Andrew Brettler, said that the project “has been dead for four years.” He said Singer would have no comment on the latest allegations against Goddard.

In his statement on Medium and an interview with The Times, Nighman — who is now an administrator at UCLA, where he manages several academic departments — alleged encounters with sexual abuse at the hands of Goddard when he was 15 and 16 years old.

Nighman said that he became friends with Edwards as a 13-year-old in theater class at Santa Barbara Junior High School, and that two years later they were touring California together in a Goddard-directed production of “Peter Pan.”

“One night while on tour I awoke to find Goddard trying to get into my bed, under my covers and into my underwear,” Nighman wrote on Medium. He said he managed to push away Goddard, who then went to Edwards’ bed.

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“I thought that Tony would fight him off too,” wrote Nighman, adding that he felt he “betrayed” his friend by allowing him to be molested by Goddard.

Nighman alleged three other sexual run-ins with Goddard. He said that after a show in San Diego, Goddard grabbed him and kissed him, “plunging his tongue” into Nighman’s mouth. Nighman said that Goddard attempted to molest him in his car following a rehearsal, and at another time groped him when he slept over at his home in Los Angeles.

He said in an interview that he was motivated to speak out publicly after Goddard denied Edwards’ allegations. “We need to not let Tony hang out there in the wind with Gary Goddard denying the abuse when we all know it’s true,” Nighman said. “Hopefully person after person will tell their story, and it’s a house of cards.”

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