July 25, 2020
Kathianne Boniello

For years, he was a monster in their midst — and now Long Islanders who say they were victimized by “Festa the Molesta” as students are looking for answers from the school district that employed him.

Herricks Union Free School District allegedly repeatedly ignored complaints that school psychologist Vincent Festa, who pleaded guilty to sodomy in 1993, was abusing kids, according to a trio of Child Victims Act lawsuits in state court, including two filed this month in Nassau County.

Since the early 1980s, students and even faculty often referred to Festa, who died in 2011, by the nickname “Festa the Molesta” and even made up a song about him — but administrators did nothing to address the complaints, according to the allegations.

One victim claimed in court papers that Festa began abusing him when he was just 9. A 15-year-old victim was slammed as a “liar” and “troublemaker” by a Herricks assistant principal when the boy’s family tried to report Festa’s abuse 1990, says the victim. Both victims are repped by lawyer Jeff Herman.

A Herricks spokeswoman declined comment on the pending litigation.

Festa was sentenced to five years probation in 1995 for enticing boys to do lawn work at his Ronkonkoma home, then abusing them. At the time, authorities said none of the victims were Herricks students. In 2010, he was arrested for failing to register his email addresses with authorities under the state’s sex offender registration law.

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