The key prosecution witness in last year's Fogg coin theft trial last week filed suit against Harvard in Middlesex Superior Court for negligence in supervising University employees who allegedly crippled him in a beating.
Martin Regan asked in the suit for damages of $1.7 million each from Harvard and two detectives hired by the University to investigate the 1973 theft of more than 5000 ancient coins, an estimated $5 million loss, from the Fogg Museum.
The suit also asks for an extra $1 million from Harvard for negligence.
The suit charges that Irving Richards, a Harvard-employed detective, and his assistant Raymond Palmer assaulted Regan with a revolver and beat him severely in 1974, during their investigation of the coin theft.
Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, could not be reached for comment about the suit last night.
Regan's testimony helped convict three men for the robbery last fall.
During the robbery trial, the Middlesex Superior Court denied a motion by the three defendants' lawyers to dismiss the robbery charges because Regan had been coerced into testifying for the prosecution by the detectives' beating.
The Court stated that there was no evidence Regan had been coerced.
However, last spring Palmer was convicted of assaulting Regan in an effort to discover where the coins were hidden.
About half the coins were eventually recovered