Orthodox agency sued for negligence by woman alleging rape by foster father

The Forward

June 30, 2020

By Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt

A Ukrainian-born Jewish woman who said her foster father raped her sued him, New York City and the Orthodox agency that placed her in his home.

The plaintiff, whose legal name at the time was Yana Nikolayeva but is listed as Jane Doe in the court documents, is suing Milton Jacobs for sexual assault and battery and both Ohel and the city for negligence on the grounds that Ohel didn’t check on her as legally mandated.

“There are important reasons why the law required Ohel to check on this foster child at least monthly,” Eric Hecker, her lawyer, said in an interview. “The law did not allow Ohel to assume that a Jewish foster father would never hurt a Jewish child.”

The plaintiff is suing for damages, but Hecker would not disclose their estimated monetary value.

“I still have flashbacks during the day and nightmares at night,” the plaintiff said in an interview. “But it’s the sense of deep shame that I continue to carry that has damaged my life the most.”

The lawsuit is one of about 1,700 filed in New York State under the Child Victims Act, passed in January after a long battle with both Catholic and Jewish organizations to extend the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases.

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