Former student sues Oholei Torah, alleging child sexual abuse on school premises

The complaint adds to three lawsuits filed against Oholei Torah since 2019 that are currently pending in court

The Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva Oholei Torah in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Credit: Mo Gelber/Shtetl

Mar 27, 2024 3:00 PM


A former student at the elite Chabad-Lubavitch boys’ school Oholei Torah has sued the school, alleging that when he was around nine years old, a lifeguard named Yoni Marrus forced the child to grope him on school premises.

The alleged assault took place in or around 1999 and caused “serious psychological injuries and emotional distress, mental anguish, and embarrassment” for which the plaintiff, who sued as a John Doe in Kings County Supreme Court, seeks compensation.

In 2016, a detailed report in Newsweek described how administrators at Oholei Torah allegedly ignored or covered up physical and sexual abuse by the school’s employees. Afterward, Oholei Torah released a letter in which it did not respond to specific allegations but described new measures to prevent abuse, such as training designed to help students react to “improper behavior.”

The civil lawsuit, which was filed under the Gender Motivated Violence Act, adds to three lawsuits that have been filed since 2019 against Oholei Torah under the Child Victims Act that are currently pending in Kings County Supreme Court.

The GMVA allows victims of sexual abuse that took place in New York City to seek compensation in civil courts for injuries resulting from abuse. In 2022, the New York City Council created a “lookback window”: for two years beginning on March 1, 2023, victims can make claims under the GMVA regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. 

Oholei Torah did not immediately respond to Shtetl’s request for comment. Marrus did not immediately respond either. 

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