Yeshiva U. Victims Stare Down School's Lawyers in Showdown Over $380M Suit

Judge Puts Off Deciding Whether Case Can Move Forward

Big Day: Kevin Mulhearn, lawyer for ex-Y.U. students, speaks outside Manhattan courtroom where judge heard $380M abuse case.
shulamit seidler-feller
Big Day: Kevin Mulhearn, lawyer for ex-Y.U. students, speaks outside Manhattan courtroom where judge heard $380M abuse case.

By Paul Berger

Published October 30, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

But, Bitar added, the allegations took place at a time “when the [mores] or what was deemed typical or appropriate was much different than what it is today.”

She said the case should be dismissed based on the statute of limitations because it was unfair to expect Y.U. to defend itself after such a long passage of time, with the fading of memories and when some defendants are dead or no longer able to testify.

Bitar said the former Y.U. students knew they had been injured immediately after they were assaulted, and they knew that their abusers were Y.U. employees, “yet they waited 20 to 40 years to act.”

Referring to a case that Mulhearn won last year against the elite Brooklyn day school Poly Prep, Bitar accused the plaintiffs of using the “Poly Prep playbook.”

United States District Judge John G. Koeltl interrupted Bitar to note that in the Poly Prep case, the school falsely told at least one student that it had investigated claims against the staff member and found them to be untrue. Koeltl noted that in the claim against Y.U., as in the Poly Prep case, there were also instances of students who alleged they had made timely complaints to the school.

The Forward’s first article about abuse at Y.U. was referenced several times during the arguments.

Bitar said the article actually undermined the students’ lawsuit.

She said that some of the plaintiffs could not claim they did not know about the abuse at Y.U. when they told the Forward the abuse had been written about “on blogs and websites,” and that “parents [told the Forward] we didn’t want to go forward, we didn’t want to embarrass the school.”

Koeltl dismissed such statements as hearsay.

The former students argued in court filings that their claims fell under Title IX, anti-sexual discrimination legislation that has been interpreted by courts to include sexual harassment and abuse of students.

Bitar’s colleague, Stephen Mendelsohn, said that the students’ Title IX claims fall outside the statute of limitations.


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!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • 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.