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Court Dismisses $380 Million Lawsuit Against Yeshiva University

Complaint filed by 34 former high school students alleged decades of abuse

Stephanie Butnick
January 30, 2014
Yeshiva University High School for Boys.(Matthew X. Kiernan/New York Big Apple Images)
Yeshiva University High School for Boys.(Matthew X. Kiernan/New York Big Apple Images)

A complaint filed in July by a lawyer for 34 former students at the Yeshiva University High School for Boys against the school, members of its board of trustees, as well as several educators and administrators, which alleged several decades of abuse—plus accusations of a cover-up by the school’s administration—and which sought nearly $380 million in damages, was dismissed by a Manhattan federal court today.

Judge John Koeltl issued a 52-page opinion explaining the dismissal, which effectively said that too much time had gone by since the alleged abuses occurred: “Statutes of limitations strike a balance between providing a reasonable time for victims to bring their claims while assuring that defendants have a fair opportunity to defend themselves before evidence is lost or memories fade. In this case, the statutes of limitations have expired decades ago, and no exceptions apply.”

Yeshiva University released the following statement:

We are gratified that the federal court recognized the validity of our arguments in dismissing the case against Yeshiva University, which has been an incredibly trying process for all involved. Our thoughts and remorse remain with those affected and harmed, and the confidential counseling services of Yeshiva University remain available to them.

Now we continue to move forward. Yeshiva University and its high schools provide our students with a safe and secure environment, while constantly refining our policies and procedures to ensure they meet the absolute highest standards.

As North America’s Torah-informed university, we recognize our responsibility to assume a leadership role in combating abuse within the community. While we currently offer a range of services and educational programs to assist synagogues, schools, and other institutions in addressing the very real issue of abuse, we continue to look for further ways to engage this issue.

Above all, we remain vigilant in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our children.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.