(New York, NY – 9-22-2021). Lawyers for four (4) victims of sexual abuse are calling out the Yeshiva of Brooklyn because the Yeshiva claims that it has no responsibility to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment.
New York, like every other state, has a law that requires school officials and employees to report to child protection authorities when they suspect that a child is being abused or maltreated. This law has been a major tool in identifying and helping children who are being abused and maltreated.
In a filing with the Kings County Supreme Court, the Yeshiva of Brooklyn asked the Court to dismiss a case brought by four (4) women who were sexually abused when they were children, on the grounds that the Yeshiva is not required to report suspected abuse or maltreatment of a child. (See Affirmation on Behalf of the Yeshiva of Brooklyn (link below), ¶¶ 15 – 19.)
This concerns attorney Patrick Noaker, one of the women’s attorneys. “These laws called mandatory reporting laws have been around since the early 1970’s,” Noaker explained. “Schools are the front line in our efforts to protect children from abuse and maltreatment. School employees will be the first to notice problems commonly associated with abuse or maltreatment. The requirement that these suspicions be reported to trained investigators is critical to identifying and helping children who are being abused. For an institution to claim that it does not have to abide by these child protection laws reveals a deep misunderstanding of child abuse and protection. For that institution to be a school, an organization that should be completely committed to child safety and protection, is very worrisome,” Noaker added.
“Our position is simple, kids who attend school at yeshivas should be protected the same as kids who attend other schools,” added attorney Matthew Lombardi, another attorney representing the women.
The Yeshiva of Brooklyn made this argument in a court filing in the case Anonymous 13 et al v. The Yeshiva of Brooklyn a/k/a Talmudical School of Brooklyn, Kings County Supreme Court Index No. 510155/2021. In that case, four (4) women sued the Yeshiva of Brooklyn because the Yeshiva failed to report signs of abuse and maltreatment when they were students, resulting in years of sexual abuse by their father and brothers.
Click Here for the Affirmation on behalf of the Yeshiva of Brooklyn
Click Here for the Affirmation of Patrick Noaker in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss
Criminal charges relating to that sexual abuse are pending in Kings County against Rabbi Gershon Kranczer.
This is not the first time that Orthodox Jewish Schools have claimed that they do not have to comply with New York State laws. In 2015, students and teachers reported to the State of New York that New York yeshivas were ignoring state education laws. See 15 ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in NYC deny entry to city investigators, school chief says, The Washington Post, August 17, 2018. In 2020, a number of yeshivas ignored the New York COVID-related shutdown order requiring all-remote learning. See Some Borough Park Yeshivas Remain Open, Defying Cuomo’s Targeted Cluster Shutdown, Gothamist, October 13, 2020.
Contact: Patrick Noaker cell (612) 839-1080
Patrick Noaker is an attorney licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, Minnesota and Missouri, with offices in Minneapolis and New York who has represented hundreds of survivors of sexual assault across the country. Patrick is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has won multiple jury verdicts and settlements exceeding a million dollars.
Matthew Lombardi is the senior associate attorney with the law firm of Tolmage, Peskin, Harris & Falick in New York. Matthew is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey, as well as the Southern and Eastern districts of US Federal Court. Matthew sits on the Board of directors for the New York State Trial lawyers Association.