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New York - Yeshiva University To Be Sued By Abuse Victim; Lawyer Says Claim Not Barred By Statute of Limitations

Published on: January 3, 2013 05:14 PM
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File photo of Attorney Kevin Mulhearn (credit Alexandra Wren)File photo of Attorney Kevin Mulhearn (credit Alexandra Wren)

New York - As the fallout continues from the investigative series published in the Forward newspaper (http://bit.ly/UQPF4e) alleging sexual misconduct on the part of two Yeshiva University staff members, one victim, Mordechai Twersky, has retained attorney Kevin Mulhearn to represent him in a lawsuit against YU.

Mulhearn is best known for winning a sex abuse lawsuit on behalf of 12 men who said they were sexually abused decades ago by the football coach at Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Country Day School.

Since the Forward began their coverage (http://bit.ly/UmQnqd) of YU’s alleged sex abuse scandal, over 20 men have come forward to say they, too, were abused by either Rabbi George Finkelstein or Rabbi Macy Gordon between the years 1968 and 1995 at Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan.

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Mulhearn is hopeful that other victims will follow Twersky’s lead and come forward to join the suit. “I think there is a substantial benefit in consolidating these claims as much as possible,” he said.

In New York State, victims of child sexual abuse are barred from bringing a claim past the age of 23 owing to the statute of limitations. However, Mulhearn explained that just as with the Poly Prep case he successfully won, the argument can be made that YU knew or became aware of the abuse allegations and took measures to hide them. As such, though the alleged victims are now in their 40s and 50s, they are not barred by the statute of limitations.

“I can assure you from looking at this issue very carefully over several years, the statute of limitations is not an impenetrable monolith,” Mulhearn said.

YU has since retained the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell to investigate the allegations. The university has also hired Lisa Friel, the former head of the sex crimes division at the New York City district attorney’s office. Both Friel and attorneys from Sullivan & Cromwell have started calling alleged victims. Mulhearn cautioned all potential victims to only speak with YU’s lawyers in the presence of their own attorney.

Twersky said that he has received an outpouring of both support and condemnation since the Forward story first broke. He said many of the e-mails he receives are from other YU abuse victims who have seen their lives destroyed – including divorces, drug and alcohol addictions and repeated thoughts of suicide – all as a result of the abuse they endured during their high school years.


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Read Comments (16)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 03, 2013 at 07:53 PM Anonymous Says:

This is the tip of the iceberg and will extend into our communities also, but I think it's a good thing. Let's get them all to court and see what a jury says.

2

 Jan 03, 2013 at 08:21 PM jack25 Says:

So its not only in Williamsburg, so why doesn't the media make a whole fuss about it?!

3

 Jan 03, 2013 at 09:23 PM TexasJew Says:

This is going to get very ugly.
Hashem Yeracham.

4

 Jan 03, 2013 at 09:27 PM Anonymous Says:

an easy way to make money these days. i wonder what these two accusers do for a living?i know times are bad but how low can you go to make a buck?

5

 Jan 03, 2013 at 10:54 PM hindsight2020 Says:

Reply to #2  
jack25 Says:

So its not only in Williamsburg, so why doesn't the media make a whole fuss about it?!

Why are Williamsburg people always so self-centered? It is not all about you! Can’t you see it is in the news and in fact that it is a fuss? Besides, what are you doing on the internet, weren’t you at the Kinus this year?
P.S. 35 years ago an old woman was robbed and killed by a priest and I can’t seem to find it anywhere in the newspaper. You know why? Because look up the definition for “NEWS”

6

 Jan 03, 2013 at 11:04 PM Anonymous Says:

"i wonder what these two accusers do for a living?i know times are bad but how low can you go to make a buck?"

Two accusers?? So far, ten men are going to testify! Are all ten lying? I think not since they have the same stories and had also gone to the authorities many years ago with the same stories. If so far, there are ten who are willing to testify, I assume there are many more. One pedophile can abuse hundreds and hundreds of victims.

7

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:00 AM esther Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

an easy way to make money these days. i wonder what these two accusers do for a living?i know times are bad but how low can you go to make a buck?

how is it low to sue an educational institution which knowingly allowed these boys to be molested? why do some frum people have their priorities so messed up?

8

 Jan 04, 2013 at 05:19 AM Shlomo-1 Says:

Reply to #7  
esther Says:

how is it low to sue an educational institution which knowingly allowed these boys to be molested? why do some frum people have their priorities so messed up?

The emphasis should be on "institution" and not "some frum people."
Traditionally, many institutions would "look the other way" or "discretely" handle allegations of sexual misconduct. Times have changed; laws have changed.

9

 Jan 04, 2013 at 05:59 AM Glattsomequestions Says:

Reply to #2  
jack25 Says:

So its not only in Williamsburg, so why doesn't the media make a whole fuss about it?!

There was a huge article in the Times a coup[le of days after the story hit. The Post picked it up. It definitely was covered in the general media.

10

 Jan 04, 2013 at 06:49 AM greg8103 Says:

Reply to #2  
jack25 Says:

So its not only in Williamsburg, so why doesn't the media make a whole fuss about it?!

The main issue with Williamsburg case, was how poorly victims of sexual abuse were treated and denial that community has about sexual abuse.

11

 Jan 04, 2013 at 09:06 AM Robert Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

an easy way to make money these days. i wonder what these two accusers do for a living?i know times are bad but how low can you go to make a buck?

i think if it was your son who was sexually abused by a rabbi and had it covered up for say 30 years you would have a different perspective..
but i guess you are not low to make a buck

what if anything should these men who were abused as teenagers do now in your high opinion mr annonymous?

12

 Jan 04, 2013 at 09:08 AM Robert Says:

Reply to #2  
jack25 Says:

So its not only in Williamsburg, so why doesn't the media make a whole fuss about it?!

so jack
are you saying rabbis in williamsburg sexually abuse young boys?
or if i am misunderstanding you what exactly are you saying happens in williamsburg?

13

 Jan 04, 2013 at 11:43 AM rivka Says:

Reply to #10  
greg8103 Says:

The main issue with Williamsburg case, was how poorly victims of sexual abuse were treated and denial that community has about sexual abuse.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. The difference between the YU and Williamsburgh communities is how the claims are handled.

14

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
jack25 Says:

So its not only in Williamsburg, so why doesn't the media make a whole fuss about it?!

because yeshiva university isn't making a fundraiser for the pervert

15

 Jan 06, 2013 at 09:30 AM A1826 Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

an easy way to make money these days. i wonder what these two accusers do for a living?i know times are bad but how low can you go to make a buck?

Disgusting and ignorant comment. Do you think they are doing it for the money, or they want justice? They cannot do it criminally because of this unbelievable statute of limitations that we have in this state; therefore, they have to sue civilly. Get it? Oh, and the money can help them pay for therapy to make sense of their unimaginable pain. Why do they have to suffer and pay for therapy too? Are they supposed to get only the end of the stick and the molesters and enablers can continue living a carefree life? Why? Because you don't want to hear that in your community there are our own brothers and sisters suffering? Because you will allow others to suffer in silence to protect your image?

16

 Jan 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Shlomo-1 Says:

The emphasis should be on "institution" and not "some frum people."
Traditionally, many institutions would "look the other way" or "discretely" handle allegations of sexual misconduct. Times have changed; laws have changed.

The emphasis should be on both!

17

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