Dozens of former students of Yeshiva University High School for Boys in New York City sued the institution on Thursday over allegations that they were molested by two prominent rabbis in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The 38 plaintiffs say the university failed to protect the high-school students and promoted one of the accused rabbis to principal—even after becoming aware of complaints against him. Like many others filed this month, the lawsuit on Thursday was made possible by the Child Victims Act in New York state that allowed for a one-year window of legal action in cases that otherwise would be barred by a statute of limitations.
“I didn’t even understand at the time that this was sexual abuse; I just knew that this guy was putting his hands all over me,” said plaintiff Barry Singer, now 61. Singer said one of the rabbis reached into boys’ pants in school hallways. Plaintiff David Bressler, now 51, said the alleged abuse made him abandon his religion and that—even as an adult—he fears a crowded subway because he “can’t stand being touched by people.” He added: “You don’t even realize what the long-term impact is.” One of the accused rabbis died recently, and the other has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.