A federal judge has ordered an independent medical examination of the mental health of former Yeshiva University President and Chancellor Rabbi Norman Lamm after Lamm’s lawyer, Joel Cohen, told the court that Lamm should not be deposed in a $380 million dollar sex abuse lawsuit against the university because he is suffering from dementia. LAmm's allegedly diminished mental status was first reported on FailedMessiah.com several months ago.
Judge Orders Mental Health Evaluation Of Rabbi Norman Lamm In Yeshiva University Abuse Case
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A federal judge has ordered an independent medical examination of the mental health of former Yeshiva University President and Chancellor Rabbi Norman Lamm after Lamm’s lawyer, Joel Cohen, told the court that Lamm should not be deposed in a $380 million dollar sex abuse lawsuit against the university because he is suffering from dementia, the Forward reported today.
Lamm’s alleged dementia was first reported by FailedMessiah.com on July 1 and then again more fully on July 4 based on information from Lamm’s family. FailedMessiah.com's first report caused the Forward – which had allegedly ambushed the elderly and frail rabbi in his Upper East Side home last December – to deny Lamm was impaired.
In subsequent reporting, the Forward continued to cite its quotes from Lamm gained during that interview but failed to mention the allegation that Lamm’s mental health was compromised – a clear ethics violation that could easily open up the paper and the foundation which funds it to what could be a large civil suit.
Judge John Koeltl ordered an independent medical evaluation of Lamm, the results of which could take place as early as next week.
That child sex abuse took place at Yeshiva University’s affiliated boys high school in Manhattan and at other YU locations is not in doubt.
Lamm told the Forward in December that he dealt with credible abuse allegations in the 70s, 80s and 90s as best as he could, often by forcing the abuser to leave YU but not by reporting the abuse to police.
Lawyers for the many alleged victims reportedly say they want to interview Lamm as soon as it can be arranged, in case his mental health deteriorates.
Lamm’s lawyer told the court that Lamm’s physician and a forensic neuropsychologist from Weill Cornell Medical College believe that any testimony from Lamm would be “significantly impaired by cognitive impairment.” He said that he had spoken to Lamm about “significant facts” about the case and that on two of those occasions, Lamm answered incorrectly. One of those discussions occurred “a few months ago,” Lamm’s lawyer reportedly told the court.
Judge John Koeltl reportedly said he wanted an independent medical evaluation of Lamm to make sure that Lamm’s testimony would be reliable, to make sure that Lamm would not be traumatized by being deposed, and to make sure that being deposed would not cause Lamm “untoward medical consequences.”
If Lamm is found fit to testify, Koeltl reportedly said that he would be “inclined to grant the [plaintiffs’] request” to depose him.
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