Yeshiva U. Hires Lecturer With Criminal Record of Sexual Misconduct With Boys
Hebrew Teacher Akiva Roth Convicted of Lewdness
By Paul Berger
Published October 08, 2013.
Akiva Roth, who started this new school year as a Hebrew teacher at Yeshiva College, pleaded guilty in 1997 to four counts of lewdness against several boys in his work as a private bar mitzvah tutor.
Roth, 42, has not been accused of misconduct at Y.U. But his employment by Yeshiva College calls into question Y.U.’s hiring practices at a time when the university is battling to repair its public image over the sex abuse allegations.
A spokesman for Y.U. issued the following statement: “Yeshiva University has policies and procedures in place that require background checks for new hires. We are currently in the process of thoroughly exploring the matter you brought to our attention.”
A report commissioned by Y.U. in the wake of the scandal found that “sexual and physical abuse took place” at a number of Y.U. institutions during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.
But Y.U. officials suppressed the release of further details contained in the report, including the number of suspected perpetrators or the Y.U. institutions involved, citing a pending $380 million lawsuit brought by former high school students against Y.U. Instead, the version of the report Y.U released focused on policies and procedures that Y.U. had implemented to prevent abuse or to deal appropriately with abuse allegations at its boys high school, in Manhattan, and at its girls high school, in Queens, as well as at other schools and colleges.
The “university is committed to creating an environment at its high schools and other affiliated schools in which sexual misconduct and other types of harassment are not tolerated,” the report stated, adding that “the university has over time, and especially in the last decade, instituted many policies, procedures, and practices that address these issues.”