Yeshiva U. Accusers Claim Victory Despite Judge's Decision to Toss $680M Abuse Suit

7 Ex-Students Stand By Decision To Air Decades-Old Claims


By Paul Berger

Published February 04, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Former students who say they were physically and sexually abused at Yeshiva University High School for Boys say they are disappointed but not surprised that a judge dismissed their $680 million lawsuit against Yeshiva University.

Seven ex-students told the Forward that despite the legal setback they achieved a tangible victory by witnessing their decades-old allegations aired — and acknowledged — in public.

Barry Singer, one of the 34 former students who sued Y.U. and one of two named in the suit, said: “To me, the victory is getting it out in the open.”

Click to see the rest of the section, Click for more stories about abuse at Y.U.

“The fact [is] that we could sit in the courtroom and have an advocate… stand up and accuse Yeshiva University of things I never dreamed we would get to accuse them of in public,” Singer said.

Another plaintiff, who is an anonymous litigant in the lawsuit, said: “If I in any way helped one kid not get abused or one sicko person realize he’s in trouble if he does it, then it was worth all my emotional efforts.

“Am I disappointed? Yes. Did I expect it? Yes.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in July, 2013, accused Yeshiva University of covering up abuses by Rabbi George Finkelstein, a high school administrator, Rabbi Macy Gordon, a Talmud teacher, and Richard Andron, a visitor to Y.U. high school’s dormitory.

All of the incidents were alleged to have taken place during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.

United States District Judge John G. Koeltl, dismissed the lawsuit last month citing federal and state statutes of limitations. In a written decision, published January 30, Koeltl noted that “the statutes of limitations have expired decades ago, and no exceptions apply.”

Kevin Mulhearn, an attorney for the former students, has vowed to appeal.

Although most of the former students the Forward contacted seemed to take the decision in their stride, one former student was less sanguine.

“It was a travesty of justice,” said the man, who is an anonymous litigant in the lawsuit. “You will notice that not for a second did the judge or Yeshiva University deny any of the allegations or that any of these horrible incident ever occurred.”

“Law is law,” the former student added. “But the statute of limitations can’t possibly begin to apply to a 15 year old minor who has been molested and threatened not to talk. That minor lives his whole life with an incredible amount of doubt and uncertainty about whether he is crazy or not.”

He added: “It hurts so bad… But if I’ve survived the last 30 years, I’ll survive another 30 years if I have to see the enablers brought to justice.”

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!
  • Yeshiva University's lawyer wanted to know why the dozens of former schoolboys now suing over a sexual abuse cover-up didn't sue decades ago. Read the judge's striking response here.
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • 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.