Top Lawyer Takes Yeshiva Abuse Case

Kevin Mulhearn Won Settlement From Brooklyn's Poly Prep


By Paul Berger

Published January 03, 2013.
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As with the allegations of abuse at Y.U., the abuse at Poly Prep happened long ago, well after the statute of limitations had expired. Victims of child sexual abuse in New York are barred from bringing claims once they turn 23.

Mulhearn, however, who sought $20 million for each Poly Prep victim, argued that because officials at the school may have covered up the abuse, the statue of limitations did not apply. Mulhearn said potential Y.U. victims, who are now mainly in their 40s and 50s, are wrong to assume that their claims are time barred.

“I can assure you from looking at this issue very carefully over several years, the statute of limitations is not an impenetrable monolith,” Mulhearn said. He explained that if he can show that Y.U. officials acted improperly after they became aware of or concealed the abuse, the alleged victims may have a case.

Y.U. officials did not respond when contacted by the Forward about Mulhearn’s involvement.

Several former Y.U. students say that they or their parents contacted Y.U. to report abusive staff behavior but their appeals were ignored.

A father of one student told the Forward how he reported to a Y.U. official that Talmud teacher Gordon had sodomized his son with a toothbrush in 1980. Gordon did not leave the Y.U. payroll until 1985.

In recent weeks, students from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s have told the Forward that Finkelstein’s misbehavior with students was common knowledge throughout the high school and at other Jewish schools in the New York area.

Twersky said that in 1986 he informed Norman Lamm, who was then Y.U.’s president and is now chancellor, that Finkelstein liked to wrestle with students. Twersky said that he was wrestled against his will and that he could feel Finkelstein’s erect penis rubbing up against him while he was pinned to the floor. Many other former students reported the same experience to the Forward.


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