By Jason Schwartz
A longtime member of a Boca Raton Synagogue was named in a sex abuse lawsuit filed by 24 alumni of the Yeshiva University high school in New York who alleged that staffers at the prestigious Jewish institution molested them, the Boca Raton Tribune has learned.
The students filed the 148-page bombshell $380 million lawsuit in U.S. District Court in White Plains on Monday, July 8 claiming the school had covered up decades of sexual and physical abuse by two rabbis and a youth volunteer in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
The suit alleges that Richard Andron, a former Y.U. student who now lives in Boca Raton, was allowed to visit the high school dormitory even though staff knew he was a threat to children.
Two former high school students say Andron abused them after befriending them in the dormitory, according to the suit.
The abuse took a terrible toll on students, according to the lawsuit. Many have suffered from depression, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual addiction, emotional distress, broken marriages, and problems holding down a job. Some have spent years in counseling and on medication.
“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,” said Kevin Mulhearn, a lawyer representing the victims. “We are looking forward to prosecuting these claims.”
One of the plaintiffs, Barry Singer of New York, said it was necessary to file the suit because there was no proper response from Yeshiva University to any of their claims or pain.
“They just wouldn’t listen,” he said.
Singer said of his decision to reveal his name in the lawsuit: “I don’t have anything to hide. The only power in what has been for 40 years a horribly powerless situation is that I can stand up for myself.”
Y.U. said in a statement that it would not comment on ongoing litigation.
The suit claims that Y.U. administrators engaged in a prolonged fraud by portraying two of the principal molesters as trustworthy men of exemplary character, despite multiple warnings that the men sexually abused boys. Both men were honored by Y.U. after they left the school and, until recently, Y.U. awarded scholarships in each of their names.
Mulhearn alleges that Y.U.’s former students had no way of knowing that others had been similarly abused or that Y.U. had failed to heed multiple complaints of the abuse until the revelations were first published in December 2012.
The two men, Rabbi George Finkelstein, a high school administrator who rose to principal, and Rabbi Macy Gordon, a Talmud teacher, “had a propensity to sexually abuse children” yet they were allowed to remain on staff, the suit alleges.
This report was supplemented by information New York Daily News.