Nineteen former students of a Manhattan high school run by Yeshiva University have filed a $380 million lawsuit against Y.U. accusing administrators and teachers of covering up decades of physical and sexual abuse.
The lawsuit, filed July 8 in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y., alleges a “massive cover-up of the sexual abuse of [high school] students…facilitated, for several decades, by various prominent Y.U. and [high school] administrators, trustees, directors, and other faculty members.”
The assaults are alleged to have taken place during the 1970s and 1980s, at a time when Y.U. faced severe financial problems.
In New York, criminal and civil cases of child sexual abuse must be brought before a victim’s 23rd birthday. However, Kevin Mulhearn, a lawyer representing the victims, argues in the suit that the statute of limitations does not apply because Y.U. fraudulently covered up the abuse.
“I am proud to represent these 19 men. They are entitled to the respect, dignity and justice which was denied to them when they were children,” Mulhearn said. “We are looking forward to prosecuting these claims.”
One of the plaintiffs, Barry Singer of New York, told the Forward: “It was necessary to file the suit because there was no proper response from Yeshiva University to any of our claims and to any of our pain.
“They just wouldn’t listen,” he added.
Singer said of his decision to reveal his name in the lawsuit: “I don’t have anything to hide. The only power in what has been for 40 years a horribly powerless situation is that I can stand up for myself.”
Y.U. said in a statement that it would not comment on ongoing litigation.