$680M Yeshiva U. Abuse Case Tossed by Judge

Lawyers for Victims Vows Appeal of 'Disgrace' Ruling


By Paul Berger

Published January 30, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Citing New York State’s statute of limitations, a federal judge has dismissed a $680 million lawsuit brought by former students of Yeshiva University’s High School for Boys in Manhattan.

“Statutes of limitations strike a balance between providing a reasonable time for victims to bring their claims while assuring that defendants have a fair opportunity to defend themselves before evidence is lost or memories fade,” United States District Judge John G. Koeltl, wrote in a 52-page decision that was published January 30. “In this case, the statutes of limitations have expired decades ago, and no exceptions apply.”

Kevin Mulhearn, a lawyer for the students, vowed to appeal, calling the judge’s decision “a disgrace and an abomination.”

“My clients deserve far better than this,” Mulhearn said. “The court basically is congratulating Yeshiva University High School for succeeding in its multi-decade cover-up of sexual abuse.”

Nineteen former students of Y.U.’s Manhattan boys high school filed a lawsuit against Y.U. in Jul, 2013.

The students alleged a “massive cover-up of the sexual abuse of [high school] students…facilitated, for several decades, by various prominent Y.U. and [high school] administrators, trustees, directors, and other faculty members.”

By the end of last summer, the number of plaintiffs had risen to 34.

In New York, child victims of sexual abuse have until their twenty-third birthday to bring a claim.

Y.U.’s lawyers argued that the former students, now mostly in their 40s and 50s, waited decades too long to bring their lawsuit.

But Mulhearn argued that the statute of limitations did not apply, because Y.U. covered up the abuse.

Earlier this year, Koeltl denied Mulhearn’s request to seek discovery of internal Y.U. documents that Mulhearn said would allow him to prove his case. Koeltl said that Mulhearn had to survive Y.U.’s motion to dismiss the case before discovery could begin.

Koeltl’s decision to dismiss the case comes at a time of severe financial difficulties for Y.U.

Y.U. has struggled since the economic crisis of 2008 and after losing $100 million dollars to Bernard Madoff, chairman of the board of Y.U.’s business school.

In 2012, Y.U. had an operating deficit of $106 million. Earlier this month, the ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Y.U.s debt to junk status.

Although uncertainty related to the lawsuit contributed to Moody’s pessimistic outlook for Y.U., the ratings agency was most concerned by the institution’s fiscal management “and lack of a clear strategy to regain financial equilibrium.

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger


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!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • 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.