NEW YORK (JTA) — The president of Yeshiva University apologized for instances of sexual misconduct and harassment by two former teachers at the university’s high school.
President Richard Joel issued a statement Thursday following the publication of an article in the Forward newspaper which investigated claims, most of them more than two decades old, that two rabbis at the university’s high school for boys were known for acts of inappropriate and sexual contact with students.
According to the Forward, the activities of the two rabbis — George Finkelstein and Macy Gordon — were widely known in the university community and were reported to school administrators. Neither rabbi was disciplined by the university.
“The actions described represent heinous and inexcusable acts that are antithetical both to Torah values and to everything that Yeshiva University stands for,” Joel said. “They have no place here, in our community, or anywhere at all. The thought that such behavior could have occurred at our boys’ high school, or anywhere at this institution, at any time in its past, is more than sufficient reason to express on behalf of the university, my deepest, most profound apology.”
Norman Lamm, the university president from 1976 to 2003, and its current chancellor, admitted that he never notified the police of the complaints, and allowed Finkelstein to leave quietly to assume a post at a Jewish school in Florida. He also did not notify Finkelstein’s new employers of the allegations against him.
“This was before things of this sort had attained a certain notoriety,” Lamm told the Forward. “There was a great deal of confusion.”