Man Named in Y.U. Suit Lured Boys With Karate, Porn — and Modern Orthodox Ties

Richard Andron Hosted Teen Sleepovers at West Side Pad

Accused: Richard Andron, right, taught tora dojo, a Jewish-inspired form of martial arts, at a Manhattan Jewish center in the 1970s and early 80s. Alleged victims say he molested them at sleepovers at his apartment.
Accused: Richard Andron, right, taught tora dojo, a Jewish-inspired form of martial arts, at a Manhattan Jewish center in the 1970s and early 80s. Alleged victims say he molested them at sleepovers at his apartment.

By Paul Berger

Published July 18, 2013, issue of July 26, 2013.
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To the Orthodox boys of Englewood, N.J., and Monsey, N.Y., Richard “Ricky” Andron was unbelievably cool: a 30-something bachelor and martial arts expert who hosted Sabbath sleepovers at his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where they played cards and looked at pornographic magazines.

But Andron’s apartment, just off Central Park, was a trap, according to interviews with about a dozen men who say they were abused or know people who were abused by Andron during the late 1970s and early ’80s.

“He manhandled me below the waist and caused me to have my first (sexual) experience,” said one of the men to step forward, who requested anonymity. “I was a 13-year-old and I had an experience that was not something a 13-year-old boy should experience from another man.”

Another man, who woke in the night to find Andron “fiddling below the sheets,” said: “He was the perfect pedophile. He had you doing things you knew you should not be doing, in terms of magazines and [going to see] R-rated movies, so it made it awkward for any victim to volunteer information.”

Dave Raben, a Miami attorney who specializes in criminal defense and who identified himself as representing Andron, declined to comment.

Andron, 67, first came to public attention when he was named in a high-profile lawsuit filed July 8 in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y., by 19 former students at Yeshiva University High School for Boys, in Manhattan. The suit accuses Y.U. administrators and teachers of covering up decades of physical and sexual abuse. The abuse allegations are principally against two former Y.U. high school employees, Rabbi George Finkelstein and Rabbi Macy Gordon.

But the suit also alleges that Andron was “allowed to roam the halls” of the high school dormitory during the late 1970s and early ’80s even though he had nothing to do with the school. It cites three men — a Y.U. college student and two Y.U. high school students — who say Andron invited them to stay at his apartment, where he attempted to touch or did touch their genitals.

When asked for a response, Y.U. said it could not comment on pending litigation.

Seven more men have independently told the Forward that they were abused by Andron.

Andron’s orbit extended beyond Y.U. He sometimes helped his brother, Michael Andron, teach classes in tora dojo, a Jewish twist on karate, at the Jewish Center, in Manhattan. And he was a regular volunteer in the New York and New Jersey area with the Modern Orthodox youth organization the National Council of Synagogue Youth.

Andron met and befriended many of the boys through NCSY.


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