Gary Goddard takes leave of absence from Goddard Group amid accusations of pedophilia

The founder of the entertainment design group has been accused of molestation by former ‘ER’ star Anthony Edwards.

One of his accusers is actor Anthony Edwards, best known for the 1986 film Top Gun and the NBC medical drama ER, who published an essay to Medium detailing the  molestation that took place in his adolescence.

“My vulnerability was exploited. I was molested by Goddard, my best friend was raped by him — and this went on for years,” Edwards wrote.

Goddard directed the 1987 live-action He-Man film Masters of the Universe. The Goddard Group produced 2009’s Tony Award-winning revival of the musical Hair as well as several theme-park attractions for Universal Studios and Six Flags.

Goddard’s leave is effective immediately, according to a press release issued to USA TODAY early Tuesday morning. 

Taylor Jeffs, formerly the company’s director of design for more than 14 years, will take on the role of president and chief creative officer. 

According to the company’s chief operating officer Barry Kemper, Goddard’s leave of absence aims to allow the organization and its staff to continue working without being sidetracked by accusations facing Goddard.

“We believe this move is in the best interest of the company, its employees and clients,” Kemper said in the press release.

Anthony Edwards, best known for playing Dr. Mark Greene on TV’s ‘ER,’ says he was molested for years by entertainment-industry veteran Gary Goddard. (Photo: NBC)

Following Edwards’ essay on Nov. 10, Goddard’s press representative issued a statement to USA TODAY “unequivocally” denying Edwards’ charges, noting that “Gary played an important role in helping start Anthony’s acting career and acted as his personal manager. He has nothing but the greatest respect for Anthony as a person.” 

Reps for Goddard did not immediately return USA TODAY’s request for comment.

If you have ever experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct while working in the entertainment industry, we’d like to hear from you. Send us a secure tip using the instructions at newstips.usatoday.com.

More: Harvey Weinstein scandal: A complete list of the 80 accusers

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