NEW YORK – Greek-American Nicholaos Papadopoulos, 53, of Manhattan, wore a wire to “nab the teacher he claims sexually abused him decades earlier, but even that failed to keep the alleged predator out of the classroom,” the New York Post reported on October 3.
Papadopoulos said that “he felt he had to step forward to ‘potentially save someone,’” after learning Lawrence Svrcek was still teaching at Francis Lewis High School in Queens in 2002, the Post reported.
He told the Post that “20 years earlier, Svrcek, a gym teacher, sexually abused him and other boys at the Jamaica Day School run by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Queens,” and “at the time, he says he and another boy told school officials, who booted Svrcek as a Boy Scout leader but allowed him to keep teaching.”
Svrcek also “taught briefly at St. John’s University in 1999 and at John Bowne High School in Flushing,” the Post reported, adding that Papadopoulos said “when he reported Svrcek’s conduct to the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the city’s public schools in 2002, he was met with disbelief until he agreed to wear a wire.”
Papadopoulos told the Post that he was “petrified, but confronted Svrcek at Francis Lewis HS where, he says, the teacher ‘acknowledged everything.’”
“Three others boys also came forward to investigators,” the Post reported.
“Because too much time has passed, Lawrence Svrcek cannot be prosecuted; nevertheless, his inexcusable acts of sexual abuse toward these four male students were criminal and horribly wrong,” according to Special Investigator Richard Condon’s 2002 report, recommending that he be fired, the Post reported, adding that Svrcek “resigned in 2003, according to the Department of Education.”
Papadopoulos told the Post that “he understands St. Demetrios Church briefly hired Svrcek back after he left the DOE.”
“That school and that community had one job – protect the kids,” he said, the Post reported, “I think we need to hold these institutions accountable.”
Papadopoulos is among 14 plaintiffs now suing Svrcek, 74, and the church under the state’s Child Victims Act, the Post reported.
Joseph Belluck, lawyer for Papadopoulos, told the Post, “Nick is a hero for coming forward, protecting public school students, and working to bring accountability to religious organizations.”
Svrcek’s lawyer “did not respond to requests for comment,” the Post reported.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese released a statement saying that it “abhors sexual abuse of children and maintains robust policies to prevent the type of conduct alleged in the complaints,” the Post reported.
In August, The National Herald reported on the Lambrou Law Firm, based in New York, which at that time had filed five lawsuits against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, St. Demetrios Church of Jamaica, and the former Vice Principal Svrcek concerning the allegations of sexual abuse at Saint Demetrios Jamaica Day School and Iakovos High School in the 1970s and 80s. Monetary damages are being sought for the former students.