Richard Joel Knew About Yeshiva Sex Abuse Allegations, Documents Show

Forward Learns Y.U. Chief Ignored Victim's Claim in 2004

He Was Told: Yeshiva President Richard Joel knew more about the explosive sex abuse allegations against the school than had been revealed, documents show.
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He Was Told: Yeshiva President Richard Joel knew more about the explosive sex abuse allegations against the school than had been revealed, documents show.

By Paul Berger

Published November 25, 2013.
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A few hours after Joel received Twersky’s email, he forwarded it to Sheldon Socol, Y.U.’s vice president of business affairs.

“Sheldon, this fellow called me three years ago, while fresh from the Lanner case to ask my advice re suing Y.U. over alleged harassment by George Finkelstein — to wit, wrestling with him in the principal’s office,” Joel wrote. It was in the note to Socol that Joel said he told Twersky three years ago “to get on with his life.” He asked Socol how to proceed now.

In his response, Socol told Joel not to reply to Twersky.

“There was prior correspondence with him years ago and Israel Miller [a former senior vice president of Y.U., who died in 2002] met with him,” Socol replied. “It was then decided after listening to Twersky’s claim that it lacked substance and Twersky was so advised.”

Socol added that he would “try to locate the file on the matter.” But, he told Joel “you, as President, should not (at this point) become directly involved.”

According to Twersky, Joel never responded to his 2004 email.

Asked if Y.U.’s investigators had been given access to the 2004 email, Michael Scagnoli, the school’s chief spokesman, said, “As you know, we cannot comment on any matters relating to the litigation.”

In previous interviews with the Forward, Twersky said that Miller invited him to visit in Jerusalem, in 2000. The visit was a response to a correspondence Twersky sent to Y.U.’s then-president, Lamm, complaining of being abused by Finkelstein.

Twersky said Miller dissuaded him from taking legal action.

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