Yeshiva University High School is facing allegations of sexual abuse. After years of failed attempts to sue the institution, 38 former students who allege having been sexually abused by three rabbis and other school staff decades ago are now seeking justice by filing suit under the New York Child Victims Act.
The victims allege that while they attended the all-boys school, the principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, and four other staffers variously sexually abused them. The Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit alleges the abuse began in 1955 and continued through 1986. The papers further allege that the Yeshiva University High School received more than 20 complaints from parents and students about the alleged abuse but did nothing.
One victim claims he was twice sexually abused by Finkelstein in 1980. Despite complaining to school officials, they kept the rabbi at the school and even gave him the “Educator of the Year” award in 1985. The other former students, most of whom filed suit anonymously, brought similar claims against the various staffers. Many of the victims claim they sought years of therapy because of the trauma of the incident.
What the Child Victims Act Means for the Yeshiva Sex Abuse Victims
The New York Child Victims Act, which was passed in February 2019, allows survivors of child sexual abuse, including those sexually abused by religious leaders, until the age of 55 to file a civil lawsuit against their attackers and the institutions that protected them. Criminal felony charges can be sought until the victim is 28 years old and misdemeanors can be filed until the victim is 25 years old.
Many of the Yeshiva sexual abuse victims had been trying for years to sue the school but their lawsuits were thrown out because the deadline to file suit had expired decades prior. Under the CVA, victims with old claims now have a one-year window, until August 14, 2020, to file suit regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred. This means that if you were 23 years old or older on February 14, 2019, you must file a sex abuse related action against the appropriate defendants, including the Yeshiva University High School, no later than August 14, 2020.
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If you or a loved one is the victim of child sexual abuse, you need to know how the Child Victims Act can help you get the justice you deserve. For more information or to better understand how this law can help you, please call our professional help center at 212-385-4410.