A man who says he was molested by a rabbi while attending a summer camp for Jewish boys in the Catskills decades ago is pursuing a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit under New York’s recently passed Child Victims Act.
According to the October 28th filing in New York Supreme Court, the plaintiff attended Camp Mogen Avraham as an 8-year-old boy. During that time, he allegedly endured sexual abuse at the hands of Heshi Nussbaum, a rabbi who worked at all-boys summer camps run by Camps Mogen Avraham, Heller, Sternberg, Inc. The abuse continued through that summer, even after another attendee witnessed the misconduct and made a report to the head councilor.
The lawsuit names Nussbaum, Camps Mogen Avraham, Heller, Sternberg, Inc, and the UJA-Federation of New York, which financially supported the camps at the time, as defendants.
“My objective in filing this lawsuit is not to hurt the Jewish community as a whole, but rather to expose these crimes and to ‘call out’ those who enabled them in my case and other similar cases,” the plaintiff said in a written statement. “Additionally, I believe it will decrease future crimes and bring perpetrators and enablers to justice.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first Nussbaum has been accused of sexually abusing a child. In fact, in the 1980s, he pled guilting to molesting a boy while teaching at a yeshiva in Toronto, Canada.
Nussbaum was again arrested in Toronto in 2012, after several adult men filed police reports stating he sexually assaulted them as teenagers. In 2014, he pled guilty to abusing six boys in his care.
The filing of this lawsuit would not have been possible were it not for the passage of New York Child Victims Act, which changed the statute of limitations for legal action against abusers, as well as their enablers, in three key ways:
The one-year window opened on August 14, 2019. Since then, nearly 1,000 decades-old sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed in courts across New York State. While the majority of claims name Catholic Dioceses or the Boy Scouts as defendants, others name popular pediatricians and prominent hospitals; teachers, principals, and prestigious schools; coaches and youth sports organizations.