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.
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Sullivan & Cromwell hired Lisa Friel, a former head of the Manhattan District Attorney’s sex crimes unit, to assist with the investigation. Friel heads up a sexual misconduct consulting and investigations division of T & M Protection Resources.

The investigative team conducted more than 145 interviews and sifted through tens of thousands of paper documents, including items from university archives, personnel and payroll files.

The report stated that the team reviewed 70,000 emails “that hit on a broadly-defined set of targeted search terms” dating back to 2003. But it said that the period in which Y.U. failed to deal adequately with abuse ended in 2001. The report noted that 70 people either did not respond or declined to be interviewed by investigators. It said that the attorneys who represent former students suing Y.U. did not make their clients available for interview.

At least one of those students, Barry Singer, told the Forward that he was interviewed by investigators in February. Kevin Mulhearn, who represents the majority of the alleged victims, said that he provided investigators with a fact sheet, detailing the assaults against each of his clients and the reports of the assaults that they made to Y.U.

Y.U.’s president, Richard Joel, issued a statement August 26 expressing his “deepest and most heartfelt remorse” for the findings of the Sullivan & Cromwell report which, he said, “serve as a source of profound shame and sadness for our institution.”

Joel said that Y.U.’s board and community “truly hope that our recognition of these issues provides some level of comfort and closure to the victims.” Joel, who took over the Y.U. presidency in 2003, no doubt breathed a sigh of relief when the report was published.

The report absolves the current administration of any blame.

“The University’s response to allegations of physical and sexual abuse that occurred at the University since 2001… significantly improved,” the report found. “Indeed, with respect to all such allegations, the Investigative Team found that the University acted decisively to address the allegations and to ensure the safety of the University’s students.”


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