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Camp Ramah settles lawsuit alleging mishandled sexual assault complaint

Berkshires summer camp, former director and national commission accused of ‘deliberate indifference’ after one camper allegedly assaulted another in 2018

Camp Ramah in the Berkshires seen in a promotional video posted by the camp in March 2022. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Camp Ramah in the Berkshires seen in a promotional video posted by the camp in March 2022. (Screenshot/YouTube)

A US Jewish summer camp and its former director have settled a lawsuit filed earlier this year that alleged mishandling of a sexual assault involving two campers in 2018.

The lawsuit was filed in May against Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, in New York, its former director Rabbi Ethan Linden, and the National Ramah Commission, the group that oversees all Ramah camps.

A court document filed on Friday signed by a US district judge said the court had been informed that “this case has been or will be settled.” The two sides held settlement negotiations in the past two weeks, and have 45 days to submit an application to restore the legal proceedings if they wish.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, who was identified as Jane Doe, claimed Linden “acted with deliberate indifference” after he was told that a female camper had been assaulted by a male camper.

The case claimed Linden did not follow protocol for handling a sexual assault, did not immediately report the incident to authorities, and did not remove the male camper or inform the family of the female camper. The lawsuit claimed he initially pressed the female camper to not tell her parents about the incident.

The National Camp Ramah Commission, which is associated with the Conservative movement, knew about the alleged assault and allowed Linden to remain in charge, the lawsuit claimed. Linden was placed on administrative leave as director of the Berkshires camp in May after the lawsuit was filed, and remains on leave.

Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is one of 10 overnight Ramah camps in the US and Canada. The camp and national commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The lawsuit was filed in the federal US Southern District Court of New York. The complaint had demanded a jury trial.

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