Aug 07, 2013 03:58 AM EDT
Former Students File $380 Million Molestation Suit against Yeshiva University High School
A $380 million molestation suit against Yeshiva University (Y.U) High School that reveals decades of sexual abuse and massive cover up by two former officials now represents the plight of 31 alleged sexual abuse survivors, up from the initial 19.
The 148-page lawsuit was filed July 8 in the U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y., by former Manhattan high school students.
Kevin Mulhearn, attorney for the plaintiffs, said that recently around 12 former students joined the lawsuit that mainly accuses George Finkelstein, the school's former principal and Rabbi Macy Gordon, a former Judaic studies teacher for keeping mum against physical and sexual abuse by staffers for decades.
Mulhearn said that the institution allowed 'known sexual predators to roam the school at will seeking other victims.'
"I am proud to represent these 19 men. They are entitled to the respect, dignity and justice which was denied to them when they were children," Mulhearn said. "We are looking forward to prosecuting these claims."
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs, hailing from various parts of the country, talk about molestation cases that occurred during the 70s and 80s. The lawsuit claims that the administrators neglected sexual abuse complaints amid fears that it would damage the school's fundraising efforts and its reputation.
During an instance, when one of the victims complained to an administrator about a Judaic studies teacher sodomizing him with a toothbrush, the official simply refused to listen. Victims, whose parents were Holocaust survivors were told not to report to their parents because they already went through a lot.
"It was necessary to file the suit because there was no proper response from Yeshiva University to any of our claims and to any of our pain. They just wouldn't listen," said Barry Singer of New York and one of the plaintiffs.
According to NYDailyNews, criminal and civil cases of child sexual abuse in New York must be brought before a victim's 23rd birthday. However, Mulhearn claims that this is an exceptional case because Y.U. cleverly buried the abuse for decades.
Attorneys for Yeshiva University have urged the court to dismiss the lawsuit since the allegations date back 'between 42 and 25 years ago.'
"In all candor (the suit), is a very old case," Karen Bitar told Manhattan Federal Court Judge John Koeltl.
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