Y.U. Pushes Back Against $380M Abuse Lawsuit Saying Students Waited Too Long

Lawyers Ask Why Victims Failed To Come Forward Sooner


By Paul Berger

Published September 26, 2013, issue of October 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Dozens of former students who say they were abused by rabbis at a Yeshiva University high school waited decades too long to file their $380 million lawsuit, Y.U.’s attorneys say.

“There is no debate that the abuse each plaintiff endured, if true, is unacceptable,” the attorneys stated in a recent court filing. But “the law strikes a balance between the rights [the plaintiffs] could have exercised long ago, and the defendants’ competing rights to a fair opportunity to present evidence in their defense.

“The passage of time, fading of memories and passing of witnesses deprives defendants [of] a fair opportunity to defend themselves against plaintiffs who sat on their claims.”

Under New York State law, child victims of sexual abuse have until their 23rd birthday to file a civil lawsuit.

Kevin Mulhearn, who represents the plaintiffs in this case, argues that the statute of limitations does not apply, because Y.U. fraudulently covered up the abuse and misrepresented the safety of the school. Mulhearn’s clients are 34 former students of Yeshiva University’s High School for Boys, in Manhattan, aged 39 to 60. The former students are suing Y.U., current and former senior administrators, and trustees for $380 million in damages for abuses that they say took place between 1971 and 1992.

Last August, Mulhearn wielded the same argument to survive a motion to dismiss a similar case involving his alma mater, Poly Prep Country Day School, in Brooklyn. Poly Prep settled for an undisclosed sum last year with 12 men who said they were abused by the school’s former football coach, Philip Foglietta.

Y.U.’s motion to dismiss the case, which has been anticipated for several weeks, was filed September 13 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Karen Bitar, a lawyer for the firm Greenberg Traurig, which represents the defendants, anticipates that Mulhearn will rely on a ruling in the Poly Prep case to bolster his lawsuit.


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!
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • 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.