The head of a well-known Jewish sleepaway camp was removed from his post in the wake of a lawsuit that alleged he tried to cover up a teen’s sexual-abuse claim, legal papers say.
Rabbi Ethan Linden was put on leave as head of Camp Ramah in Wingdale, NY, which costs more than $11,000 a summer.
The action comes four years after the alleged incident involving a 15-year-old New Jersey camper identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit.
The girl claims that she awoke on July 7, 2018, to find a male camper in her bed “with his hands touching her … and his fingers inside her genitals,” according to the suit filed May 4 in Manhattan federal court.
The alleged assault was reported to Linden, who “insisted he would keep all of this a secret.” When the teen insisted she be allowed to call her parents, Linden allegedly explained away the assault to them by saying there had been a “little incident” and that “nothing really happened.”
“He is just a horny little boy,” he allegedly told the victim.
The boy was arrested for forcible touching and the case was brought in Family Court, according to the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.
The suit names Linden, the camp and the Manhattan-based National Ramah Commission which oversees it.
The camp said Linden had been placed on administrative leave and that its “board will reassess his status once there has been a thorough review of the allegations contained in the legal complaint.”
Wayne Stecklow, a lawyer for the victim, said Linden’s removal was “a good first step in the right direction.”
“We will only know if Camp Ramah is serious about addressing the harmful conduct that was permitted to exist for such a long time if further remedial steps are taken throughout the Ramah Camps and the organization itself,” he said.
Linden did not immediately return a request for comment.