Y.U. Report on Sex Abuse Draws Mixed Reaction From Modern Orthodox

Some Say Administration Keeping Lid on Crucial Findings

Regret and Shame: Yeshiva U. President Richard Joel expressed regret and shame over the findings of the report, even though it states that conditions improved under his leadership.
yeshiva university
Regret and Shame: Yeshiva U. President Richard Joel expressed regret and shame over the findings of the report, even though it states that conditions improved under his leadership.

By Paul Berger

Published August 28, 2013, issue of September 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 5)

The Commentator’s story, by the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Gavriel Brown, noted that the report released by Y.U. cited the names of just two alleged abusers — rabbis George Finkelstein and Macy Gordon — who were first identified in a December 2012 investigative story published by the Forward, which led the school to commission the investigation.

“But [it] does not mention Richard Andron, a third alleged perpetrator,” the article stated. “The report does not detail the actions of Rabbis Norman Lamm, Israel Miller, Mayer Twersky, Yosef Blau, David Weinback, Robert Hirt or Herschel Schachter”—all senior Y.U. staff or officials—“who were accused of failing to act upon information given to them about abuse in the 148-page lawsuit filed by alleged victims.”

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

“Unlike the lawsuit,” the article stated, “the report does not mention any dates, locations, and details of abuse. It does not detail information about where additional abuse happened at Yeshiva University.”

Brown told the Forward that while he had total confidence that physical and sexual abuse could not go unpunished at Y.U. today, the report was too frustratingly short on detail. “To me, we’re back at square one,” Brown said. “The lesson of this was that these people [Y.U. administrators and staff] put the institution above the students, and what do we see now?” The institution appears to be doing the same again, he said.

Y.U. never publicly promised to release the full investigation that Cromwell & Sullivan submitted. In a statement released shortly after it hired the law firm in January, the school’s board of trustees said only, “We expect the findings of the investigation will be communicated to the public following completion of the investigation.”

But the report Y.U. ultimately released stated, “It was the intention of the Board of Trustees to have made public a report which would have set forth the specific details of the extensive interviews conducted and documents reviewed by the Investigative Team.” It was, the report said, the lawsuit filed against the school in July by former Y.U. high school students who claimed they had been sexually abused that led the board’s Special Committee to release the investigators’ findings “in summary fashion.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, who now number 34, are seeking $380 million in damages. One of the plaintiffs, who asked that his identity not be revealed because he is not identified in the lawsuit, said: “If [the Modern Orthodox community] accepts this kind of report, it shows they condone sexual abuse because instead of openness we have a complete, total coverup again.”

But Juda Engelmayer, a former Y.U. high school student who was initially cynical about the investigation after being interviewed by Y.U.’s investigation team earlier this year, said he was impressed with the report. “They seem to indicate serious things happened,” said Engelmayer, who contacted investigators because he knew, secondhand, of abuse.

“Because of what I do,” added Engelmayer, a public relations executive, “I understand that when there’s a lawsuit present, there are things you cannot say. As principled and as high a road as you might want to take, that might not be in Y.U.’s best interest.”

“Now, we have to see how they choose to address the victims,” Engelmayer said.


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!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • 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.