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Sex abuse case against Orthodox Jewish high school gains attention

Published: Tuesday, July 23 2013 1:00 p.m. MDT

Yeshiva University High School for Boys

Forward.com

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After being concealed for more than 20 years, accusations of sexual abuse are finally coming to light against two Orthodox Jewish rabbis who allegedly violated their positions of trust by sexually abusing students at the Yeshiva University High School for Boys in New York.

“Early this month, 19 former students of the Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan filed a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by two rabbis in the 1970s and 1980s who continued to work there even after molestation complaints,” columnist Frank Bruni wrote in Tuesday’s New York Times. “The rabbis were also allowed to move on to new employment without ever being held accountable. School administrators, the lawsuit alleges, elected not to report anything to the police.”

Jewish blogger Shmarya Rosenberg — who has been closely chronicling the Yeshiva University High School sex abuse allegations — wrote Tuesday, “Bruni's column is important because it brings more attention to the issue.”

On July 8 the New York Daily News reported details of the lawsuit: “(Several) victims — the children of Holocaust survivors — say a former principal persuaded them not to tell their parents after he sexually assaulted them because their mothers and fathers had already suffered through so much.

“The 148-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in White Plains, claims Yeshiva officials ignored and covered up the complaints because they feared the sexual abuse allegations would damage fund-raising efforts and bruise the school's reputation.”

Despite repeated allegations of abuse against Rabbis George Finkelstein and Macy Gordon, school officials never contacted police. “Norman Lamm, who was president of (Yeshiva University) from 1976 to 2003 and is now chancellor, indicated in an interview December 7 that he knew about some of the allegations and chose to deal with them privately,” the Jewish Daily Forward reported in December 2012. “In one case, a suspected abuser of high school students was allowed to leave for a position as dean of a Florida school. No law enforcement officials were ever notified.”

EMAIL: jaskar@desnews.com

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