Doctor determines Lamm unfit to testify in Yeshiva University sex abuse case

(JTA) — Rabbi Norman Lamm, former chancellor of Yeshiva University, has been found unfit to testify in a $380 million sex abuse lawsuit against the school.

Neuropsychologist Elise Caccappolo of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center evaluated Lamm on Sept. 16 and found that he cannot provide reliable testimony, the New York Post reported, citing Lamm’s attorney Joel Cohen.

“Dr. Caccappolo found that a deposition was unlikely to pose a risk or threat to Dr. Lamm’s health. However, after administering a battery of tests conducted over a period of nearly five hours, Dr. Caccappolo determined [in her written report] that ‘the pattern of Dr. Lamm’s cognitive impairment impedes his ability to independently comprehend and adequately respond to questions posed to him, as well to reliably retrieve and report past information,” Cohen wrote to U.S. District Court Judge John Koetl last week, the Post reported.

Koetl ruled earlier this month in New York City that the choice of doctor should be agreed upon by Yeshiva University and former students of Y.U. institutions who are suing the school.

The students allege they were sexually abused between 1976 and 2003, when Lamm was chancellor, the Forward and other media outlets reported.

Filed by 19 former students of the Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan, the suit names top members of Y.U.’s former administration, including Lamm.

In July in a letter announcing his retirement, Lamm, 85, acknowledged mishandling the abuse allegations decades earlier. He apologized for not alerting police when he learned of the abuse accusations. Lamm also indicated that he may be suffering from a decline in his mental acuity.

Lawyers for the students said they wanted to depose Lamm as soon as possible due to fears that his mental status could further deteriorate, according to The Forward, which first published details of the claims against two former Yeshiva University staff members late last year.