JONATHON ZIEGLER /Patrick McMullan/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
David Canfield
November 10, 2017 AT 03:23 PM EST

In an explosive new essay, actor Anthony Edwards has accused producer Gary Goddard of sexually molesting him when he was a minor, claims which a rep for Goddard says are “false allegations.”

Titled “Yes Mom, There Is Something Wrong,” the piece begins with Edwards, at 14, being asked by his mother about the “rumors” that Goddard was a “pedophile.” Edwards describes him as someone who mentored and taught him about acting and the business before being violated. “I denied it through tears of complete panic,” he says. “To face that truth was not an option.”

“Pedophiles prey on the weak. My father, who suffered from undiagnosed PTSD from WWII, was not emotionally available. Everyone has the need to bond, and I was no exception,” Edwards continues. “My vulnerability was exploited. I was molested by Goddard” and “stayed quiet.”

Edwards frames the piece around “one of the most tragic effects of sexual abuse in children,” which is that “victims often feel deeply responsible,” to explain why Goddard’s alleged behavior was kept quiet. “Abusers are successful when they keep control of that little world — a world that is based on fear,” he explains. “The use of fear to control and manipulate can be both obvious and subtle. Abusers will often use the word ‘love’ to define their horrific actions, which constitutes a total betrayal of trust. The resulting damage to the emotional development of a child is deep and unforgivable.”

Edwards, who won a Golden Globe and netted four Emmy nominations for his turn in E.R., currently stars in Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers and recently recurred on Showtime’s Billions. His announcement comes years after Goddard and Bryan Singer were the subjects of sexual misconduct claims, which included allegations of physical abuse and rape. Goddard and Singer flatly denied the allegations.

Sam Singer, a spokesperson for Goddard, issued the following statement Friday night:

“Gary first met Anthony more than 40 years ago. Gary was a mentor, teacher and a friend to Anthony, which makes this story all the more disturbing to him. As to the allegations that Mr. Edwards made in his post today, I can unequivocally deny them on Gary’s behalf.

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. Gary is saddened by the false allegations.

The post by Anthony, as well as many of the news stories today reference a legal claim made against Gary approximately four years ago regarding sexual harassment. The complaint was demonstrated to be fraudulent as it was completely fabricated, and ultimately withdrawn by the complainant and his attorneys.” 

Edwards says that he confronted Goddard more than two decades ago after running into him at an airport, and that he’d “swore to his remorse and said that he had gotten help.” However, Edwards’ “temporary” feelings of relief subsided “when Goddard appeared in the press four years ago for alleged sexual abuse,” at which point his “rage resurfaced.” In the years since, Edwards continues, he has gotten professional help through his work with a therapist.

Edwards concludes the essay by making a call to action. “I’ve learned a lot in these last four years,” he writes. “Most importantly, I’ve learned that I’m not alone. One in six men have an abusive sexual experience before they turn 18. Secrecy, shame and fear are the tools of abuse, and it is only by breaking the stigma of childhood sexual abuse that we can heal, change attitudes, and create safer environments for our children.”

Read Edwards’ complete essay here.

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