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!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • 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.
  • 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.