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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Y.U. has never acknowledged receiving these complaints or dealing with them. But the newly disclosed email appears to support Twersky’s claim.

The Forward has also obtained a copy of the August 2000 email Twersky sent to Lamm.

In that email, Twersky refers to a complaint he made to Lamm about Finkelstein soon after Twersky left the high school, during the early 1980’s.

They were “incidents you said you simply refused to believe,” Twersky wrote to Lamm.

In his 2000 email, Twersky tells Lamm that he does not intend to “blow the lid off the Finkelstein story and raise profound questions about who at the University at all levels knew what and when.”

But Twersky added that he had spent a great deal of money on bills for psychologists and an attorney because of his abuse. “I do think I am entitled to financial compensation for what was done to me,” he wrote. The documents have come to light at a critical time for both sides in the lawsuit.

A federal judge is due to rule shortly on a motion submitted by Y.U. for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that the statute of limitations has passed. In New York, both civil and criminal cases of child sexual abuse must be brought before a victim turns 23.

Y.U.’s lawyers say the students, who are now mostly in their forties and fifites, waited decades too long to bring their lawsuit.

Kevin Mulhearn, a lawyer for the students, says that the statute of limitations does not apply, because Y.U. fraudulently covered up the abuse.

Mulhearn’s request to seek discovery of internal Y.U. documents that he argued would allow him to prove his case was denied by the judge.

Karen Burstein, a former judge, said that the recently emerged emails would have no effect on the motion to dismiss the case that is still pending before the court.

But Burstein, a former Democratic nominee for New York State attorney general, said the “disturbing” documents are indicative of “a possible coverup.” She said that they suggest “intentional acts by the university to forestall litigation by dissuading people from believing they had a case.”


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