Second Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Police Athletic League Brooklyn Martial Arts Program

Second Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Police Athletic League Brooklyn Martial Arts Program

(Brooklyn, NY –  February 11, 2021) Yesterday, a former student filed what is the second sexual abuse lawsuit against the Police Athletic League (“PAL”) relating to its martial arts program in the Canarsie neighborhood in Brooklyn.  According to a Verified Complaint filed in New York County Supreme Court, the former student reports that the student was sexually abused by the program instructor, Ronald Schwartz, in approximately 1975-1976 when he was a student in the PAL program.  Another sexual abuse lawsuit involving the PAL and Ronald Schwartz was filed in Brooklyn County Supreme Court last week.

The PAL martial arts program involving Schwartz conducted classes at the Glenwood and Bayview Housing projects as well as the New York Public Library – Canarsie Branch in Brooklyn.  At the time, Ronald Schwartz had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and had studied that martial art under Grandmaster Hyun ok Shin in Queens, New York.

The student identified as Anonymous RSS stated “we were all kids from working-class families and our parents thought that we were in a fun and safe kid activity.  That is how it started, but sadly over time, Ronald Schwartz groomed us using pornography and marijuana so that he could have sexual contact with us.  This sent me on a path of chemical dependency that I have battled my entire life.  We were just kids.  We never should have had to deal with a sexual predator.”

The student’s Minneapolis-based attorney, Patrick Noaker, says that “this case is troublesome because parents and children trusted the Police Athletic League and its youth programs because those programs were associated with the NYPD and supposed to be safe for kids. Here a child predator was allowed access to hundreds of children with little or no supervision by the PAL. The supervision that was provided was by someone who has since also been convicted of sexually assaulting a child.” 

Schwartz’s abuse of the children in this program continued into the 1980’s when Ronald Schwartz was arrested and convicted on child sexual assault charges.  In addition, Freddy Gilstein, the PAL representative for this martial arts program was recently convicted of sexually abusing a girl under the age of 13 for sexual misconduct occurring years earlier.

The case is filed under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA), which allows survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits for damages, no matter when the abuse occurred.  Matthew Lombardi, a Manhattan attorney who also represents the student, reported that “This case is being filed under the New York Child Victims Act, which opened the courtroom doors to victims of sexual abuse.  This law is especially important in child sexual abuse cases where the victims are children who can’t understand the impact of the abuse until well into adulthood.”

This case is filed on the heels of the criminal conviction of a former Canadian Tae Kwon Do Coach for sexually assaulting a student in Toronto, Canada and reports of sexual abuse in the USA Tae Kwon Do program.

Contact:           Patrick Noaker cell (612) 839-1080,


Patrick Noaker is an attorney licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, Minnesota and Missouri, with offices in Minneapolis, New York and Chicago who has represented hundreds of survivors of sexual assault across the country.  Patrick is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has won multiple jury verdicts and settlements exceeding a million dollars.

Matthew Lombardi is the senior associate attorney with the law firm of Tolmage, Peskin, Harris & Falick in New York. Matthew is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey, as well as the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts. Matthew sits on the Board of directors for the New York State Trial lawyers Association.