Will Yeshiva Make Abuse Report Public?

Alleged Victims Worry About Probe's Scope and Transparency


By Paul Berger

Published January 10, 2013, issue of January 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 6)

Shmuel Herzfeld, who is the rabbi of Washington, D.C.’s National Synagogue and graduated from Y.U.’s high school in 1992, is one of those who have publicly complained about the investigation.

Herzfeld said he spoke to Karen Seymour, the lawyer leading the Sullivan & Cromwell team, by telephone on December 26. Herzfeld said he had in mind the report commissioned by Pennsylvania State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal when he spoke to Seymour.

In the Penn State case, Louis Freeh, a former head of the FBI, was given access to university employees and board members. Although some said that the Freeh report had its flaws, it was seen as a breakthrough in transparency and in an institution’s willingness to confront errors in judgment.

But Herzfeld said he was dismayed when Seymour told him that her report might be delivered to the Y.U. board orally rather than in writing. He said he was even more alarmed when Seymour said that unlike the Freeh report, which was disseminated publicly the same day it was presented to the board, she “could not say whether… the board would release the report to the public.”

Herzfeld said he has spoken to former Y.U. high school students who say they were abused but are fearful “that what they tell the investigator will not be given a proper hearing.” So Herzfeld sent a letter, signed by 18 Y.U. high school alumni, to the chairman of the university’s board on January 3, asking that the investigation follow the blueprint laid out by the Freeh report. By January 8, the chairman, Henry Kressel, a managing director at a private equity firm in Manhattan, had not responded.

When a reporter from the Forward called Kressel on January 7 and identified himself, Kressel cut off the call. Kressel’s assistant later directed the Forward to Y.U.’s press office. (Y.U.’s press office did not respond to several questions, including a request to know who on the board is overseeing the investigation and when the board might decide to make the report public.)


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.