Yeshiva University spent decades covering up the predatory behavior of multiple rabbinical staff, including that of the assistant principal. 38 of the Yeshiva’s victims are speaking out and seeking justice thanks to the passing of the NY State Child Victims Act.
My wife likes to say that I dislike injustice… though it usually comes in the form of unfair queuing at Whole Foods (seriously, WTF Whole Foods?!).
As I read the coverage of our recent lawsuit, it sticks with me that many call the abuse “alleged.” For those who do that, I suspect that word doesn’t mean what you think it does.
You appear to use the phrase “alleged” abuse, because at the moment, our legal action against Yeshiva University is just that — a claim in the courts.
However, it’s important to know the full history of our claim of abuse against Yeshiva University going back to 2013 in order to understand that Yeshiva University doesn’t dispute that there was abuse or a cover up.
If we claim abuse and Yeshiva agrees it happened, there’s nothing alleged about the claim.
It’s just that Yeshiva University don’t want to be held accountable. That attitude requires a different word (or phrase… but I’ll leave that to the reader).
An Independent Investigation Took Place
At the time of our initial suit, Yeshiva University commissioned in independent investigation by the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell to investigate the claims we made of predatory sexual behavior by some of the rabbis and the coverup of said behavior.
Sullivan & Cromwell completed a report that one of Yeshiva University’s own law school professors called disappointing and which, in her view, “did not do the right thing.”
There was no question that the abuse occurred. Even this independent commission “report” made that much clear:
“multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place at YUHSB [and at other schools comprising the University] during the relevant time period… including, in some instances, after members of the administration had been made aware of such conduct.” This is little more than a continuation of the cover-up that apparently already occurred.
The abuse is not disputed in the report, or by the Yeshiva leadership. Richard Joel felt that a less-than-sincere apology was enough to get the healing process completed though:
Leadership Admitted the Abuse Occurred
“I express my deepest and most heartfelt remorse, and truly hope that our recognition of these issues provides some level of comfort and closure to the victims,”
I’ll say it again.
No one disputes that the abuse happened. Therefore, it should not be referred to as “alleged abuse.”
It’s 2019 and the Yeshiva can’t hide behind antiquated laws that protect predators or their enablers.
Yeshiva’s Own Law School Professor Spoke Out
I’ll leave you with one last quote from Marci Hamilton, the Cardoza Law School Professor who urged the Yeshiva to do the right thing, but felt they did not. Her words stuck with me as I re-read all of the earlier press and court transcripts:
this [investigation into the abuse and subsequent report] is an affront to survivors everywhere. I have never read a document of this genre with less verbiage speaking directly to the survivors. It is, in a word, cold. YU needs to figure out how to become more child-centered in its approach to abuse, or it will be fighting these battles for decades to come.Marci Hamilton, 5 Sep 2013 (link)