Child Victims Act Lawsuit Alleges Hospital Failed To Stop Internationally Renowned Doctor From Isolating and Sexually Assaulting Patient in 1992
Attorneys Expect and Urge Other Survivors To
Come Forward Before Aug. 14 CVA Deadline
NEW YORK — One of the first world renowned experts at treating children with eating disorders was allegedly able to isolate and repeatedly sexually abuse an 11-year-old girl. This occurred in part because New York-Presbyterian Hospital failed to oversight procedures, according to a lawsuit filed today under New York’s Child Victims Act.
Filed in New York State Supreme Court, the complaint details the horrific allegations brought against the late Dr. Joseph A. Silverman by Susan Kryhoski, who suffered from an eating disorder and was treated at the hospital as an inpatient for nearly two months in 1992 when she was eleven years old. Dr. Silverman allegedly isolated Ms. Kryhoski in a hospital room by herself, virtually cutting her off from her family and the outside world, providing him the opportunity to sexually abuse her at his will. The lawsuit alleges that NYPH nurses and staff failed to stop the assault and assisted with Kryhoski’s confinement and isolation, while actively hiding and concealing any evidence of his wrongdoing.
Kryhoski’s attorneys believe there are likely other victims of Silverman and NYPH doctors, and urge them to come forward before the August 14 deadline to file a case under the Child Victims Act.
Dr. Silverman was considered a leading expert on anorexia, and Ms. Kryhoski and her parents received a recommendation to see him from her primary care physician.
“I can no longer remain silent about what I have faced. As I have watched my children grow up, I began to see myself in them, and that is what has caused me to come forward. Though the pain will never go away, I am fighting to reclaim my story and hold the hospital accountable for their culture of silence and complicity. I hope that by coming forward I can help other women who were also abused by Dr. Silverman to finally share their stories,” said Susan Kryhoski, the plaintiff in today’s lawsuit.
This is not the first time that New York-Presbyterian Hospital has been accused of failing to intervene to prevent sexual assault. Last year, another former patient of Dr. Silverman’s alleged assault, while other women came forward last year to disclose allegations against Dr. Robert Hadden.
“New York-Presbyterian Hospital displayed a shocking level of negligence, allegedly failing to stop the horrifying abuse of an 11-year-old girl. Ms. Kryhoski has shown incredible courage in coming forward. This is not an isolated incident — it is clear that the Hospital has a deep-rooted culture that has allowed abuse and assault to persist over decades. They must be held accountable, and we encourage any other victims to come forward and share their story,” said Karen Barth Menzies, partner at Gibbs Law Group.
“It is shameful that no nurse or staff member came forward to stop Dr. Silverman’s abuse. In fact, the complaint alleges they actively encouraged and facilitated his actions by concealing evidence of wrongdoing. The lawsuit demonstrates how deep the culture of cover-up and complicity ran at NYPH, which suggests that Dr. Silverman likely abused many more patients, and it is essential that they get their day in court,” said Deborah Mallgrave, chair of the Sexual Abuse and Human Trafficking Litigation practice at Greenberg Gross, LLP.
In 2019, the Child Victims Act was signed into law, which extended the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse in criminal and civil cases in New York. The law allows survivors to bring a civil lawsuit before they are 55 years of age until August 14th.
According to the complaint, Nurses and staff members at New York-Presbyterian Hospital kept Kryhoski confined and isolated at the end of a ward where there were no other anorexia patients, and failed to protect her even after hearing and seeing complaints against him. Kryhoski even allegedly attempted to escape from the hospital when she was taken to another part of the facility for treatment. At the time, NYPH did not have a reporting mechanism in place for victims of minor sexual abuse to report such behavior. The nurses allegedly monitored Kryhoski’s phone communications with her parents and limited them to 5 minutes per day, ending them if she became upset. Kryhoski’s parents were allowed one hour long visit once a week, which took place in the hospital lounge; she was not allowed to see her family in private.
Nobody questioned why Kryhoski was receiving the same food as the other patients in the ward, despite her issues with anorexia. Nurses and staff allegedly allowed Silverman to be with her alone, and did not question the bloodstains in her clothes that were the result of penetration.
Despite Kryhoski’s serious condition, she allegedly received little care designed to address her eating disorder. After she was admitted to inpatient care, Silverman would allegedly tell her that he needed to “check her insides” and would examine her genitals. His abuse allegedly quickly intensified, and he allegedly repeatedly penetrated and assaulted her for a period of roughly two months. Silverman threatened Kryhoski against disclosing his sexual assaults, telling her that he controlled when she could leave the hospital.
Kryhoski was only able to leave after her parents removed her from the hospital after experiencing significant lack of communication about her treatment. To this day, Kryhoski continues to suffer from extreme emotional damages from Silverman’s assaults, including becoming suicidal.
Greenberg Gross Contact
Deborah Mallgrave: 949.383.2790 (o)