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.
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.