The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a $380 million sexual abuse lawsuit against Yeshiva University High School where as many as 34 former students came forward to say they were sexually violated and their complaints were ignored between 1971-1992. The court ruled that the statute of limitations had been exhausted and the plaintiffs could have come forward with the information earlier. Lawyers said they only learned of a deliberate coverup by the school in 2012.
Kevin Mulhearn, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the decision was “intellectually and morally bankrupt” and vowed to appeal. Meanwhile, the school admits (finally) that the abuse suffered by these former students was distressing and its counseling service was available for those who needed help (perhaps too little, too late).
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Administrator Norman Lamm, rabbi and author of books on Jewish law, dismissed complaints at the time, and this caused the abuse to continue or even worsen. Lamm, who has retired, said, “At the time that inappropriate actions by individuals at Yeshiva were brought to my attention, I acted in a way I thought was correct, but now it seems ill conceived.”
Rabbis George Finkelstein and Macy Gordon were accused of abusing dozens of boys. A student who complained about a teacher sodomizing him with a toothbrush was ignored. Children of Holocaust survivors were threatened that telling their parents would add to their parents’ suffering.
Mulhearn said the abuse, the indifference over it and the cover up have created “a lifelong of devastating impact to a multitude of boys.”