Another ex-Secaucus High School student alleges he was abused by convicted sex offender

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In a lawsuit filed last month, another former Secaucus High School student alleges he was abused by a convicted sex offender back when he was a student between approximately 1988 and 1993.

Inset photo: Robert Goodlin via New Jersey Department of Corrections. Secaucus High School via shs.sboe.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“[Robert] Goodlin used his position as a teacher at Secaucus High School to engage in conduct intended to befriend Plaintiff and gain the confidences of Plaintiff, and to establish an emotional connection in order to reduce plaintiff’s inhibitions about sexual abuse,” the suit, filed in Hudson County Superior Court on July 9th, says.

” … The sexual abuse of Plaintiff by Goodlin was committed in direct connection with his position at Secaucus High School, was done while serving the interests of the board [of education], and was done at the direction of, and pursuant to, the power invested in Goodlin by the board.”

Goodlin, 77, taught industrial technology at Secaucus High School between 1979 and 1991, with the exception of one year, and in Elizabeth between 1993 and 2004.

The four-count suit claims that he engaged in regular child sexual abuse of students and the Secaucus BOE showed negligence by hiring, supervising, and retaining Goodlin, as well as by failing to open a proper investigation into his behavior.

The plaintiff is simply identified as John Doe and reveals no other details beyond when he attended Secaucus High School.

Brian Schiller, the plaintiff’s attorney in the matter who represents about a dozen clients who say that they were sexually abused by Goodlin, told HCV that around 30 past students have made similar claims “but they’re just not in a place in their life where they want to address it.”

“I didn’t know how deep this case was until less than a year ago: he didn’t miss a day where he wasn’t sexually abusing at least one kid. It’s really, really disturbing s***. He was a master manipulator, he targeted kids who were vulnerable … he was a sick, sick man. He knew how to groom them,” Schiller said.

Other chilling allegations made by Schiller, based on the accounts of multiple clients, indicate that Goodlin founded the Angler’s Club while at Secaucus, where activities included fishing and camping expeditions.

As part of the club’s “activities,” Goodlin often brought children to the Ramapo Valley Reservation, where he engaged in various acts of sexual abuse with adolescent boys between 1982 and 1986.

Schiller also said that Goodlin would also regularly bring students to his lake house, provide them with alcohol and/or marijuana, and watch heterosexual pornographic video tapes – telling them it was normal to masturbate with your friends.

“He really left a bunch of these kids’ lives in disarray. Six of these kids that were sexually assaulted committed suicide and drug addiction and mental health disorders are also prevalent,” he added.

According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Goodlin was convicted of two counts of sexual assault by physical coercion and was sentenced on May 24th, 2019.

Since then, he has been housed at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel, the state’s prison for sex offenders. His current max release date is December 21st, 2021.

A report by NJ Advance Media indicates that he told Union County Superior Court Judge William Daniel “I’m sorry for anybody I’ve been inconvenienced” prior to his sentencing.

To date, eight other former Secaucus High School students have filed suit against Goodlin accusing him of sexual abuse.