Y.U. Report Finds School Failed To Respond to Abuse

Sex Allegations by Ex-Students 'Fell on Deaf Ears'


By JTA

Published August 26, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Incidents of physical and sexual abuse at Yeshiva University were not limited to its high school for boys, an investigation has found.

An outside investigation commissioned by the university following reports of sexual abuse by two faculty members at Y.U.’s high school for boys in the 1970s and ‘80s confirmed that “multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place” at the school.

Individuals in positions of authority perpetrated the incidents, which continued even after administration members had been made aware of the problem, according to the investigation.

The probe also found sexual abuse at other divisions of the university but did not describe them in any detail or specify where they took place.

Click to see the rest of the section, Click for more stories about abuse at Y.U.

Carried out by the New York-based law firm Sullivan and Cromwell and released Monday, the investigation was prompted by a Dec. 13, 2012 article in the Forward newspaper titled “Student Claims of Abuse not Reported by Yeshiva U.”

The article centered on abuse allegations against two Y.U. faculty members, Rabbi George Finkelstein, an administrator and faculty member from 1963 to 1995, and Rabbi Macy Gordon, a teacher from 1956 to 1983.

A group of former students filed a $380 million lawsuit against Yeshiva University in early July, just days after Y.U.’s longtime chancellor, Rabbi Norman Lamm, announced he was stepping down with the end of his contract and acknowledged mishandling the abuse allegations decades earlier. The lawsuit has grown to $680 million. Investigators at Sullivan and Cromwell, led by Karen Patton Seymour, sought to interview the former students named in the suit, but their lawyers declined to make them available, according to the Sullivan and Cromwell report.

“Up until 2001, there were multiple instances in which the University either failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond to the allegations at all,” the report found. “This lack of an appropriate response by the University caused victims to believe that their complaints fell on deaf ears or were simply not believed by the University’s administration.”

The report noted that Y.U.’s responses to allegations of abuse after 2001 improved significantly but issued detailed recommendations for new policies at the school to prevent and report sexual or physical abuse or harassment. The report did not go into detail on the past instances of sexual abuse.

Investigators at the law firm and T&M Protection Services, a firm specializing in preventing sex abuse, spent 6,300 hours on the investigation, including interviews with 145 people, according to the report.

According to the investigators, 70 people contacted either declined to be interviewed or did not respond to requests for interviews.


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!
  • 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.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • 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.