Gary Goddard has taken a leave of absence from entertainment design company The Goddard Group in the wake of recent molestation allegations from Anthony Edwards and Bret Douglas Nighman.
Goddard, founder and CEO of the company, will begin his leave effective immediately, according to an announcement made late Monday night by Chief Operating Officer Barry Kemper. Taylor Jeffs is assuming the role of president and chief creative officer of the company, Kemper said.
Kemper also said Goddard took the leave to allow the company and its employees to continue their projects undistracted by recent allegations made against him. “We believe this move is in the best interest of the company, its employees and clients,” Kemper added.
Goddard has denied the allegations by Edwards and Nighman. Edwards accused Goddard on Nov. 10 in a detailed post on Medium of being molested repeatedly by Goddard from the time he was 12 years old.
Nighman alleged in a Nov. 20 post on the site that he and Edwards met in an acting class and later toured together in a stage production of “Peter Pan” that Goddard directed when they were teens.
“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. “I fought him off and pushed him away. Although it was dark I saw him force his way into Tony’s bed — which was about twelve feet from mine. I thought that Tony would fight him off too. I lay in my bed with my heart pounding and listened as one of my best friends who I loved got sexually molested. I was scared, in shock, heartbroken and confused.”
Goddard again denied the allegations and noted that Edwards’ post referenced a legal claim made four years ago regarding sexual harassment. Goddard was caught up in the 2014 sexual abuse lawsuit filed by Michael Egan III against Bryan Singer and several other Hollywood execs, which was dismissed. Goddard said that the claim was “demonstrated to be fraudulent as it was completely fabricated.”
Jeffs has served for more than 14 years as the Goddard Group’s director of design, working on major international theme parks, museums, retail centers, destination resorts, and live entertainment projects. He was previously at The Walt Disney Company.