Saturday, December 22, 2012

Y.U. abuse accuser tells his story

Forward   The author claims to have been sodomized by Rabbi Macy Gordon, a former teacher at Yeshiva University High School for Boys, while a student at the school in the late 1970s and early ’80s. His was one of the accusations reported in the Forward’s December 21 issue, in “Student Claims of Abuse Not Reported by Y.U. Leader.”

I am Macy Gordon’s accuser. My allegations are true, yet I understand why some people may doubt my claims. I wish now to respond to some of the comments I have read in the wake of the Forward’s revelations and to make a few statements of my own.

To those who say that pedophiles exploit more than one child and that there must be other victims — you are correct. There was at least one more victim but he has not come forward. I cannot speak for him, but for me the exposing of this abuse has evoked nightmares and forced me to relive traumatic events that I had put behind me. Although I have asked to be anonymous, there is no guarantee that my identity will remain protected, and that is a risk I take. If other victims decide to remain silent out of fear or otherwise, that is their right, but it does not make me a liar.

To those who knew or know Rabbi Gordon and respect him, shock and denial is a reasonable response; however, surely they know that this was the reaction in the cases of Jerry Sandusky and many Catholic clergy. It is that very veneer of respect that might enable some of these infamous pedophiles to commit serial crimes. If it were the janitor, he would be reported immediately. But when a revered member of society commits these crimes, victims are confused and are frightened of the perpetrator’s authority. Their stature also grants these pedophiles a lesser degree of suspicion. That, too, intimidates victims.
To those who are outraged that these individuals are being tried in the press, this was the last — and only — resort. Rabbi Norman Lamm, Y.U,’s former president, admitted that staff who had improper sexual activity were let go, especially if it was what he called a “cut-and-dry case.” In my case we reported the activity to Y.U. and as far as I know they did not investigate further, although I gave them the name of another victim. That also means they did not try to evaluate or assist that other student. After so many years, the statute of limitations has expired. Others have previously pleaded with Y.U. to investigate past sex abuses but were ignored. The only way this has gotten any attention was through the media. Whatever you think of the Forward, the paper’s staffers are not stupid. Trust me that they did their due diligence, interviewed me a number of times and still took great risks to publish my account. [....]


  1. I do not know if the accusations are true and, of course, I have no way of knowing. I also in no way wish to attract the accuser. However, I would be interesting in hearing people's opinion in the following regard. Should there be a limit (legal, moral, halachic, or otherwise) to how much one can accuse another of a crime without revealing themselves or producing evidence which would allow the accused to defend themselves (or a limit on how much the media can publicize without presenting evidence that would allow their audience to judge the accusations)? Is this issue discussed in the tradition Jewish sources ? Does it make a difference when the accusation is of a such a damning nature?

  2. I think this issue has contemporary tshuvos only.I don't know that Chazal mention the issue we are dealing with.Daas Torah will know the answers.From the American standpoint what we find troublesome is the lack of defense options for those accused.Is it fair to convict with no DNA evidence,witness testimony other types of evidence other than the word against one over another.The American mindset is worth mentioning since this might end up in court.I think many people have a problem of publicizing the name of the accused and permitting anonymity for an accuser.It is of interest that in the Canadian justice system this practice is illegal and with good reason.If there is an acquittal the reputation of the innocent.In the United States people are destroyed by this system like in the William Kennedy Smith trial.It was illegal and considered contraband in Canada to bring US newspapers into Canada during that trial.

  3. From the linked story in the Forward:


    Whatever you think of the Forward, the paper’s staffers are not stupid. Trust me that they did their due diligence, interviewed me a number of times and still took great risks to publish my account.


    How does New York defamation law apply here, both as to the accusers and as to the Forward? If a defamation action were brought in court, might YU's records be subject to subpoena?

    Also, is there an attorney (perhaps a not-so-young attorney) who can comment on the state of sexual assault law in NY in the '70s? I'm old enough to remember that actions for rape used to face a daunting legal requirement of corroboration, but I don't know what used to be required for lesser sexual offenses. Back then, what was the attitude of NYC police and prosecutors in cases involving a religious institution? We know now that, before the mid-'80s it was typical for the Catholic Church to receive special treatment.

    And also: Sexual assaults commonly produce ongoing effects in the lives of victims, such that their kavod suffers. When facts are suppressed, this becomes even worse. Since the Forward published its first report I haven't seen even a single commenter concerned about the kavod of victims over many decades.

    (As to how any of this works out halakhically, I'm not competent to comment, but would very much like to know.)

  4. Assuming that my brother published this article because he has reason to assume that the accuser is talking, what should be our response? Rami asks if we can help out these abused people by doing things that can destroy innocent people. This is of course wrong, but Rami asked this because is there another way? Can our children just rot?

    In the Talmud we find something interesting. A scholar who achieves a high level of learning may be appointed PARNES of a community. (Shabbos 114) This is very strange. Make a great scholar a PARNES? Parnes is a person who is involved with the secular side of society. PARNES comes from the word PARNOSO or "earning." What does it have to do with a rabbi and scholarship?

    We find in Choshen Mishpot 13:1 a very common problem. Two people need to have a Din Torah to adjudicate their claims against each other but they can't agree who to choose. (And there was no established Beth Din in that town.) The thing could just float, but no, that is wrong. Therefore, the Shulchan Aruch says that leaders of the community come foreword and suggest who to take, and they must accept it. Why? See Gro #4 that such community leaders have a very senior status and they control the community. He refers to Choesh Mishpot 2 where this is discussed. Briefly, a community must function, and when something happens to disrupt its function it is these great citizens who step in and take control solving issues one way or another. Only they have this authority, because sometimes they bend the laws to save the community. To return to our beginning questioni about PARNES, the very high status of PARNES to be a rabbi who can deal with these very difficult issues effecting the community required a special person who could teach PARNES or secular matter through a very advanced level of Torah. That is what we need in every community, whereby no community issue is left to rot but these senior citizens and great rabbis must step up and solve things, one way or the other.

  5. So far there is an anonymous accusation against Rabbi Macy Gordon

    MY SOURCE TELLS ME MR. ANONYMOUS GRADUATED EINSTEIN. MEDICAL SCHOOL OF YESHIA UNIVERSITY SEEMS LIKE HE OWES Y.U. HIS CAREER. YESHIVA UNIVERSITY is the school where I spent most of of academic life. Do not lecture me on what I owe or do not. For your information, RIETS and .J.S.S. made be who I am. I will fight for the school that produced rabbis that cared for me and nutured me. It is not my fault that parents who knew of these acts did nothing including showing up in mass to punish the individual who did malice to their child. Do not lecture me on sexual violence. Where were the parents who knew. ? Stop whining and trying to destroy Yeshiva University and have Rabbi Lamm resign. He did what was proper at the time. Prove that Rabbi GORDON molested anyone. The story about the toothbrush is ludicrous. I have had my own issues with the R..C.A. AND Y.U. , but I did not wake up 35 years later to realize I was molested. Go to ISRAEL AND CONFRONT these abusers , they are still alive. I call upon current students and alumni to speak up on behalf of their school. I FOR ONE HAVE HEARD ENOUGH UNPROVEN ALLEGATIONS THAT HAVE RUINED TWO LIVES. DO NOR RESPOUND SHAME ON YOU OR I DO NOT UNDERSTAND SEX ABUSE. I understand if this happened to my child and I knew of it I WOULD HAVE CALLED FRIENDS and made sure the culprit never did this to any child again. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  6. Does it make sense that parents who knew what Rabbi Finkelstein did when it w

  7. Does it make any sense whatsoever that despite knowing about Finkelstein,the parents would leave their kids in the school.Yet they did!!!Why didn't they prevent further victims by speaking up?How could they let their kids near the predator?They were believed by their parents!Since their parents remained silent for 35 years are they not part of the cover up?If not,why not?And lets face it.By the time the kids were in their 20's,30's and 40's.You mean to tell me they had no avenues of redress?Before the statute of limitations ran out they could have called the cops.Oddly enough they didn't (only to turn around and whine that the statute ran out).They can sue?Why don't they?Very strange.They could have gone to the press decades ago but didn't.Sorry, but this story simply doesn't add up.

    1. Police are skilled, trained, and equipped to conduct unbiased and balanced investigations, but only if they have the information they need from victims who are encouraged to contact them. WHY WAS A REPORT NOT FILED? Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  8. Bernhard Rosenberg · Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth El

    Over the past few weeks I received communications from those who were sexually abused. I have learned a lot regarding the suffering they have gone through. Each person handles trauma differently and no one including me can judge their reaction to this trauma. The outcry of these individuals must be heard and answered. However, I refuse to stop defending the institution which has produced great scholars and Jewish leaders. Attacking me for having an opinion or trying to discredit me as professor, says more about the writer than it does me. If they have proof by now the victims have hired an attorney. Now it comes down to follow the money. I do not work for Yeshiva University any more and hope that a reasonable settlement is reached for all concerned. This story is not about me.
    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  9. To bring in another of today's posts into this discussion, if MTA (a separate corporation from YU) were to pay for therapy and other services to the accuser (and or give him scholarships as payment (and or accomodation), they can end up it being used against them (just like the settlement and confidentiality is beinga used against a prominent american personalality) in the near and or distant future.

    Why doesn't the accuser go after the individual(s) involved? Answer: cause that's where the money is.


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