Category: Announcements

Lawsuit Filed Against Modern Orthodox Jewish School SAR Academy Under New York Child Victims Act

(Bronx, New York) – A survivor, sexually abused when he was approximately 13 to 14 years old, has sued the private Modern Orthodox Jewish school of Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) Academy under New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA). The CVA is a new law that gives survivors of child sexual abuse until August 13, 2020 to bring lawsuits that were previously time-barred by the statute of limitations, no matter when the abuse occurred. Robert Eckmann was sexually abused as an 8th grader during the 1976 – 1977 school year by the Assistant Principal for General Studies at SAR Academy, Stanley Rosenfeld. The suit is being brought by Jeff Anderson & Associates in collaboration with Abend & Silber, a New York litigation firm. The complaint can be found at www.andersonadvocates.com (News & Events section) and at www.abendsilber.com.

“We have long been aware that there is a serious problem in this culture and at this school,” said Anderson. “The leaders at SAR Academy have hidden the peril at this school for decades and it’s time to address it.” Rosenfeld has admitted to molesting hundreds of boys on and off SAR campus. When asked if anyone at SAR knew he was abusing children, Rosenfeld stated to investigators, “I don’t know if they knew or not. Sometimes it was very possible to see me do that because I wasn’t hiding [the behavior].” Rosenfeld also stated that at some point, SAR Principal Rabbi Sheldon Chwat spoke to him about “doing something wrong” that he characterized as “always faulty touching.”

On August 8, 2000, Rosenfeld was arrested and charged with four counts of Second-Degree Child Molestation for the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old boy. On May 21, 2001, in Rhode Island Superior Court, Rosenfeld pled no contest to Second Degree Child Molestation, received a 10-year suspended sentence and was placed on probation, the terms of which included no contact with children. After violating his probation on September 13, 2002, Rosenfeld was resentenced to 18 months of incarceration. Rosenfeld was required to register as a Level III Sex Offender in Rhode Island upon his release from prison and was placed on probation supervision until May 20, 2011.
In 2018, an investigative firm looked into allegations of sexual abuse committed by Rosenfeld at SAR as a result of Eckmann’s report to the school. The investigation revealed that between 1974 and 1987 Rosenfeld engaged in acts of sexual abuse or other sexually inappropriate behavior with minor students. Among other places, the abuse occurred at Rosenfeld’s home during SAR-sanctioned Shabbat dinners as well as on-campus in the classroom, the office, and hallways. The findings were based on firsthand reports from twelve former SAR students, eleven boys and one girl, as well as one non-SAR student.

This investigation also revealed that Rosenfeld’s sexual misconduct became known to Rabbi Sheldon Schwartz, an SAR Judaic Studies teacher, when two former students separately disclosed to him that Rosenfeld had touched them inappropriately. Moreover, Rabbi Schwartz was present on multiple occasions at Rosenfeld’s home when abuse of the boys occurred. The evidence presented during the investigation further demonstrates that Rosenfeld’s sexual misconduct also became known to former SAR Principal Rabbi Chwat when a former faculty member reported to him that she observed Rosenfeld touch a boy’s groin area in an office at the school. Moreover, the investigation revealed that a “senior member” of SAR recalled Chwat saying that Rosenfeld left SAR in 1977 because he was “the kind of person that has a proclivity or interest in students” and “not the person who should be with kids full time.” Despite this proclivity, Rosenfeld was rehired in 1986 by SAR to teach sixth grade language arts part-time for one year. SAR’s assistant principal at the time, Rabbi Joel Cohn, asked the principal at the time, Rabbi Yonah Fuld, if there were any concerns regarding Rosenfeld. Cohn, recalling that Fuld had been an associate principal while Rosenfeld was employed at SAR, responded, “For a short amount of time, I think it’s okay.”

Throughout the years, SAR placed other employees in positions of power where they were able to sexually abuse minors. According to the investigative firm, Rabbi Sheldon Schwartz was found to have sexually abused at least four students. In September 2019, SAR’s assistant principal, Jonathan Skolnick, was arrested and charged with possession and production of child pornography and the sexual exploitation of a young boy.

“A school’s primary mission is the safety of the children placed in its care,” said Josh Silber of Abend & Silber. “SAR completely ignored this sacred responsibility.”

Contacts – Jeff Anderson & Associates
Jeff Anderson: 646.499.3364 (c), 646.759.2551 (o)
Trusha Goffe: 646.995.0616 (c), 646.759.2551 (o)
Nahid Shaikh: 516.395.3429 (c), 646.759.2551 (o)

Contacts – Abend & Silber
Richard H. Abend: 212.532.5656 (o)
Josh Silber: 212.532.7676 (o)

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2016 Super Lawyers Announcement: Abend and Silber Selected

Richard Abend and Josh Silber were recently named to the 2016 Super Lawyers List for Metro New York in their primary practice areas of Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice. For Abend, this year marks his second back-to-back inclusion on the “Top 100” list.

abend-silber-top-100-superlawyersThe 2016 Super Lawyers List, a publication of Thomson Reuters, was created as a trustworthy, thorough and diverse resource for finding legal counsel in individual states and areas of practice. Inclusion on the list is limited to lawyers who can be retained by the public, as it was designed as a resource for consumers and other attorneys. Selections for the 2016 Super Lawyers List are made following a three-step process that includes peer nominations, extensive third-party research and individual reviews by highly credentialed lawyers within specialty primary practice areas.

2016 Super Lawyers of Metro New York candidates cannot nominate themselves, but join the candidate pool via managing partner surveys, peer nominations, third-party feedback or identification by Super Lawyer researchers. Candidates are evaluated through independent research using 12 categories of peer recognition and professional achievement: verdicts and settlements, transactions, representative clients, experience, honors and awards, special licenses and certifications, law firm positions, bar and professional activity, pro bono work and community service, scholarly lectures and writings, education and employment background, as well as other outstanding achievements. A Blue Ribbon Panel of specialists then conducts a thorough peer review of each candidate. Super Lawyers compiles the list of final selections to include no more than five percent of the total number of attorneys in New York.

Richard Abend Lectures at Brooklyn Law School

Abend & Silber partner, Richard Abend was invited by the Practicing Law Insitute (PLI) to give the 2016 Bridge the Gap lecture. on litigating in New York State and Federal Courts at Brooklyn Law School on January 9, 2016.  This lecture was given to recently admitted attorneys at Brooklyn Law School.

Richard was joined by Kenneth Anand of Ropers Majeski Kohn Bentley.  This course delved into all facets of prosecuting a lawsuit in New York State and Federal Courts from the initial filing of the Summons and Complaint, Document Discovery, Motion Practice and Trial.

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NYS Trial Lawyer’s Institute Presents “Trying Your First Case”

nystla-abend-silber-bannerJosh Silber to Chair NYSTLA’s “Trying Your First Case: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask” on February 18, 2015 and February 25, 2015.  Every trial lawyer has had a first trial.  Some had the benefit of “second seating” a more experienced lawyer and getting a front row seat to orient them to the process of trying a case.  Others have had to rely on law school mock trials and text books and their own instincts to get them through it – hopefully with more trial than error. Continue reading “NYS Trial Lawyer’s Institute Presents “Trying Your First Case””

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Richard Abend Selected to Top 40 Under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers

Richard Abend was selected to The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40.  Only the top 40 Trial lawyers under 40 from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

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Richard Abend & Josh Silber Rated by Super Lawyers 2014

Richard Abend and Josh Silber were selected to the 2014 Super Lawyers List for Metro New York.  Super Lawyers is a publication of Thompson Reuters which compiles its list of top attorneys based on independent research and peer reviews. Super Lawyers chooses no more than 5% of the total attorneys in New York State for inclusion on their list.  Abend & Silber were selected for their primary practice areas, Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice.

super-lawyers-josh-silber-richard-abend Continue reading “Richard Abend & Josh Silber Rated by Super Lawyers 2014”

Hurricane Sandy Update

Power was restored to our office over the weekend and we are fully operational.  Our thoughts are with all of those that still facing the grave affects of the storm. We have signed on to handle FEMA claims pro bono through the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.  Additionally our attorneys will be on site volunteering in the affected areas.

Law Day 2012

Abend & Silber was proud to join with the New York State Trial Lawyers Association as we honored Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the nation’s leading defenders of civil rights.  We thank New York’s US Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand for delivering an inspiring key note address.

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Josh Silber Named New York Super Lawyers List

JOSH SILBER has been named to the New York Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York State for 2011.

No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  The annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.

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Richard Abend Named 2011 Super Lawyers Rising Star List

RICHARD ABEND has been named to the New York Super Lawyers Rising Star list as one of the top attorneys in New York State for 2011.

No more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected to the list.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.

Continue reading “Richard Abend Named 2011 Super Lawyers Rising Star List”