Gary Goddard has taken an immediate leave of absence from his eponymous entertainment design firm under a cloud of suspicion after being accused of sexual abuse by actor Anthony Edwards.
Taylor Jeff has taken over a president and chief creative officer of Goddard Group, in North Hollywood. He has been the company’s director of design for more than 14 years. The company designs attractions for theme parks, resorts, casinos, retail outlets, urban centers and water parks.
Chief Operating Officer Barry Kemper said Goddard took the leave to allow the company and its employees to continue their projects undistracted by recent allegations.
“We believe this move is in the best interest of the company, its employees and clients,” Kemper said in a prepared statement.
Edwards, 55, published an essay early this month in online publication Medium saying that Goddard molested him before the age of 14 and raped his best friend. Former actor Bret Douglas Nighman backed up Edwards’ account a week later in his own essay at Medium, in which he alleges Goddard attempted to molest him.
Goddard has denied the allegations and in a statement published by the Los Angeles Times said that Edwards and Nighman were “making false, disparaging and defamatory statements.”