Student Claims of Abuse Not Reported by Yeshiva U.

Lamm Says He Let Alleged High School Abuser Leave Quietly

Accused: Yeshiva University High School for Boys, where George Finkelstein (left inset) and Macy Gordon (right inset) are alleged to have had inappropriate sexual contact with students, is located in Manhattan. Both men deny the charges. These images were taken from the 1970 Elchanite Yearbook.
Courtesy of Yeshiva University
Accused: Yeshiva University High School for Boys, where George Finkelstein (left inset) and Macy Gordon (right inset) are alleged to have had inappropriate sexual contact with students, is located in Manhattan. Both men deny the charges. These images were taken from the 1970 Elchanite Yearbook.

By Paul Berger

Published December 13, 2012, issue of December 21, 2012.
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Miller told Twersky that Lamm was prepared to issue an off-the-record apology but Twersky would receive no financial compensation. If Twersky were to commence legal action, “it would not be good for you, and it would not be good for Yeshiva,” Miller said, according to Twersky.

Later that year, Twersky said he had a friendly 20-minute conversation with Richard Joel, then the president of Hillel, about Finkelstein.

Joel led the O.U. investigation into the Lanner scandal, which found that the O.U. leaders had made “profound errors in judgment.” When Joel was appointed president of Y.U. shortly afterward, Twersky said, he sent Joel an angry email about Finkelstein but he received no reply.

Joel declined to respond to these assertions.

Lamm appeared to struggle for words when discussing the allegations against Finkelstein. He said that his knowledge of Finkelstein’s behavior was not “quite as graphic” as details recounted to the Forward and that as far as he was aware, Finkelstein had done “nothing that crossed a red line.”

When asked to clarify what he knew about the allegations against Finkelstein, Lamm replied: “The fact that he… he was not just wrestling, but it was actually… you know, what you said. That was not told to me. And not every complaint has to be assumed to be 100% accurate.”

Lamm said that anytime he had to dismiss a member of staff — of which there were “quite a number of cases” — he gave the job of investigating allegations to his vice president, Miller. “I had to trust people doing a job, and [I] had a great deal of trust in Izzy Miller,” Lamm said.

Reached at his Jerusalem home, Finkelstein admitted that he did “play fight as a way of trying to remove the distance between students and faculty.” But, he said, “there was never any sexual anything that was involved.” He added: “In retrospect it was wrong, but that’s what the boys did with each other.”


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