Report: Yeshiva University Did Not Respond to Students’ Sexual Abuse Allegations

yeshiva_university_sexual_abuseYeshiva University is the focus of controversy regarding a number of allegations of sexual abuse on which the school allegedly neglected to act.

Reports of sexual abuse were made by now-former students until 2001 over allegations that they were molested by adults connected to Yeshiva, according to The New York Daily News. Details are lacking as Yeshiva University officials only permitted information on the months-long probe to be released in summary form that is only 21 pages long.

“The investigative team found that, up until 2001, there were multiple instances in which the university either failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond to the allegations at all,” the report obtained by The Daily News indicated. “Based on what the investigative team learned from its interviews with victims, this lack of an appropriate response by the university caused victims to believe that their complaints fell on deaf ears or were simply not heard.”

A probe was initiated by Yeshiva following a shocking article by The Forward in December 2012 concerning sexual abuse allegations made by two Yeshiva University High School for Boys students in the 1970s-1980s, according to The Daily News. Last month, some former Yeshiva students field a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court and seek at least $380 million in damages. According to the report, the abuse took place at multiple Yeshiva affiliates and was not limited to the boys’ high school; a mere four paragraphs discuss the findings, The Daily News noted. The remainder of the report concerns “background, methodology, recommendations, and other information,” The Daily News wrote.

The report indicated that the investigative team’s intention was to make the complete findings public concerning sexual and physical abuse; however, a special committee of the Yeshiva board of trustees directed the investigators “as a result of the pending litigation,” to describe its findings “in summary fashion,” The Daily News reported. The report also indicated that the team, which included Lisa Friel, a sex abuse expert, and her firm, T&M Protection Services, spent more than 6,300 hours on the probe, which included interviews with more than 145 people and “received full cooperation from the university administration … and operated with complete independence,” according to The Daily News.

Sexual abuse allegations have been made against officials in the Catholic Church; the Boy Scouts of America; the Jehovah’s Witnesses; and Penn State University and former coach, Jerry Sandusky, to name just a few.

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish population has also been the focus of a growing number of allegations and, recently, news broke that a rabbi at a New York religious school in an ultra-orthodox Jewish community, sexually abused students. Members of the community have long been encouraged by their leaders to take allegations of sexual misconduct to rabbis before making reports to secular authorities. According to at least one alleged victim’s family, victims are rarely believed and abusers aren’t punished.

It has been more than a decade since a rash of allegations against Catholic priests surfaced. The church has spent millions of dollars, if not more, to defend itself against charges it knew of allegations of sexual abuse being committed by its clergy. Many former priests have been sentenced to prison terms after being convicted of their crimes, and more than 10 years later, priests and church officials continue to defend themselves against allegations of sexual abuse or conspiring to ignore these accusations. Hundreds, potentially thousands, of children were sexually abused by their priests or other church officials and were often intimidated into not telling their parents or civil authorities of crimes committed against them.

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