Saturday, January 26, 2013

Judge rejects Torah Temima's attempt to settle in Kolko case

Thomson Reuters   A Brooklyn judge has rejected an Orthodox Jewish day school's attempt to settle a civil lawsuit brought by a boy who said he had been sexually abused by one of the school's teachers.

Supreme Court Justice Jack Battaglia denied Yeshiva & Mesivta Torah Temimah Inc's motion to enforce a confidential settlement because the parents of the alleged abuse victim changed their minds and rejected the deal after they signed it in 2011.

"The court cannot say on the record presented that the refusal of (plaintiff)'s parents to proceed with the settlement in accordance with the Feb. 15, 2011, settlement agreement is unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious," Battaglia wrote in a ruling Wednesday. [....]

In 2011, the parties reached a confidential settlement agreement, which was signed by the boy's parents, the ruling said. Days later, the parents reversed course and said they no longer agreed to the settlement, which they said had been signed under "duress," the ruling said.

The parents also said they had come under fire from some members of their community. A rabbi at the school told them they would "bankrupt" the yeshiva and destroy it in the way "the Nazis (have) destroyed" the "yeshiva in Europe," the ruling said.

Lawyers for the school disputed that the parents had signed under duress, according to the ruling. They moved for an order approving an infant compromise, which would allow the court to approve a settlement involving a claim brought by a minor.
Battaglia rejected the request.[...]

Kolko, a first-grade teacher who taught at the Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn, was indicted by local prosecutors in 2007 for sexually abusing a former student. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to three years' probation.. [...]

It is unclear if the boy in the criminal case is the same as the one in the civil lawsuit before Battaglia. It is unclear whether Kolko still teaches at Yeshiva Torah Temimah.

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