University Sued by Nearly 40 Former Students Alleging Abuse
Yeshiva University was sued by 38 former students who alleged they were sexually abused by school staff, as administrators turned a blind eye. The lawsuit — filed on the heels of a one-year look-back window provided by a new state law — names YU, its Marsha Stern Talmudic Academy (MTA) High School for Boys, board of trustees, former Chancellor Rabbi Norman Lamm and former Vice President Rabbi Robert Hirt as defendants.
Filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, former MTA students Mordechai Twersky, Barry Singer, Jay Goldberg, David Bressler and Zachary Belil, as well as 33 anonymous plaintiffs alleged inappropriate sexual contact by former principal Rabbi George Finkelstein and former teacher Rabbi Macy Gordon, among other MTA staff members. The 120-page complaint also claims that YU and MTA officials knowingly covered up the abuse and failed to protect its students.
Finkelstein and Gordon have both denied the allegations against them. Gordon died in 2017, and Finkelstein currently resides in Israel.
A similar lawsuit against YU was dismissed by an appeals court in 2014, which ruled that the suit was brought following the expiration of the statute of limitations. However, the Child Victims Act, which was passed by the New York State Legislature earlier this year, expands the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases, while also providing a one-year “look-back window” to bring claims that had been previously barred under the prior law. The lawsuit, which was filed on Aug. 22, comes nearly one week after the look-back window opened on Aug. 14.
A YU spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, citing the nature of pending litigation.
As reported by The Commentator in the spring, Rockland County-based attorney Kevin Mulhearn is representing the plaintiffs. As of press time, Mulhearn did not respond to The Commentator’s request for comment.