This Yom Kippur, don’t donate to unsafe synagogues and schools

Recently, 300 rabbis signed a statement (300 rabbis’ pledges) condemning Orthodox child sexual abuse and calling on rabbis to make Orthodox institutions safe for children. It appears that most of the signers are affiliated with either the Orthodox Union, the National Council of Young Israel, are graduates or employees of Yeshiva University or are members of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA).

Although this statement isn’t officially from the RCA, almost everything contained in it has been copied nearly verbatim from four previous RCA child protection resolutions that date back 23 years. None of them have been implemented or enforced. What’s significant about this latest statement is that the RCA has over 1,000 rabbis who are members, yet only 300 were willing to sign it.

It is difficult to view this statement as anything more than the 5th attempt over several decades by the RCA and Orthodox rabbis to appear concerned about the rampant  sexual abuse of Orthodox children, while doing little or nothing to actually stop it. Like the previously ignored RCA child protection resolutions, this one imposes no sanction on any rabbi or Orthodox institution who fails to act to protect our children from sexual abuse.

The statement condemns the covering-up of Orthodox child molesters; the ignoring, shaming or punishing of victims who cry out for help; and the rabbinic demands that victims not report their abuser to the police. It calls for Orthodox institutions to implement child safety procedures; allow victims to pursue justice and demands that members of Orthodox communities be informed when a child sex predator moves in.

Hypocritically, this statement is signed by many of the very same rabbis who cover-up Orthodox child molesters, ignore victims’ reports of abuse, harass victims and their families who speak out or demand that they remain silent about their abuse and abuser.

Moreover, many of these signers are the same rabbis who for decades have failed to implement the RCA’s own child protection rules or who deny justice to students who were sexually abused at Yeshiva University and other Orthodox institutions. They refuse to establish a public database of Orthodox child sex predators or warn community members about molesters in their synagogues, schools, yeshivas or neighborhoods.

Some of the rabbis have even gone so far as to write pre-sentencing letters to judges in support of convicted Orthodox child sex offenders, without expressing any concern, sympathy or support for the offender’s victims.

It should be clear to anyone paying attention that if we – parents and grandparents, survivors and concerned community members – don’t demand that our rabbis protect our children from sexual abuse, they will do nothing.

The holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur will arrive shortly. This is a time when our synagogues, schools, yeshivas, rabbis, presidents or board members will ask us – repeatedly – for our money.

This is an excellent time to explain to all of them that we will only donate to Jewish institutions that have implemented the public pledges enumerated in the child safety statement that our rabbis have signed, or should have signed, but refuse to. If our rabbis and Orthodox institutions want our money, they must earn it by adhering to their Torah obligation to do everything in their power to make our children safe. If they refuse to protect our kids, we will refuse to donate to them.

For many of us, this is the only time of year that our opinions and concerns matter to anyone at our synagogues, schools and yeshivas – when they ask us for our money. Once the check is written however, any leverage we have to pressure Orthodox institutions to provide a safe environment for our children evaporates.

As for Protect Jewish Kids, two months from now, I plan to email a questionnaire to every rabbi who signed the statement asking them if they have implemented the child safety procedures they publicly pledged to support. These include:

  • Setting up a committee to implement child protection rules and procedures.
  • Maximizing visibility into every area of the synagogue, school or yeshiva. This can only be done with security cameras installed in every room of the institution.
  • Requiring mandatory background checks and fingerprinting of every employee of an Orthodox institution.
  • Having a secure policy for child drop-off and pick-up.
  • Establishing rules defining inappropriate touching of children.
  • Training staff and educating the community about the existence of child sexual abuse, recognizing it, preventing it and reporting it.
  • Informing the community about local Orthodox child molesters.

I will post the results of the survey publicly, rabbi by rabbi, with any comments that I might have about their response. I will strongly encourage community members to assist me and share information about whether their synagogue, school or yeshiva is compliant with their rabbi’s public pledges. This will give parents and community members the information they need to evaluate whether their rabbi takes his obligation to protect our children seriously and whether his institution is deserving of our financial support.

Eric Aiken is the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.


How the Brooklyn D.A. covers-up Orthodox child molesters, 2 of 2

This is the second in a 2-part series

In my first article, I wrote how a year and a half ago I made a public record request for the photos and arrest reports of 15 Orthodox men convicted by the Brooklyn D.A. The D.A. refused to give me any of the information that I requested.

Last week, I made a new Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the Brooklyn D.A. (Brooklyn D.A. FOIL request) I asked for the photo, arrest report, case disposition (the court’s decision) and length of jail time served (if any) of 29 Orthodox individuals arrested for, or convicted of, child sex crimes by the Brooklyn D.A.

The following day, the D.A.’s office sent me a 3-page letter denying every request, for every individual. They refused to reveal to me a single case disposition or tell me how long a convicted Orthodox child molester spent in jail or even if they went to jail.

In 80% of the more than 3 dozen Orthodox convictions that I investigated in Brooklyn, the molester received probation or only a few months of jail time.  By contrast, even though Federal child sex crimes are not necessarily more severe or heinous than the ones prosecuted by the Brooklyn D.A., every Federal conviction of an Orthodox child molester that I could find resulted in jail time, usually for many years.

As to my request for the molester’s photos, the D.A. told me that they would make me wait 6 months before releasing them to me. I filed an appeal of this ridiculous stonewalling and the D.A.’s office rejected my appeal.

New York’s public records law requires that documents be given to the requester within 20 days or “within a reasonable period” – Public Officer’s Law 89(3). Having public access to governmental records is a fundamental right of American citizens. This is the only way we can know what our government is doing and be able to hold officials accountable.

There is nothing “reasonable” about withholding photos of convicted Orthodox child molesters for 6 months. There is no justification for refusing to release conviction information about Orthodox child molesters or informing me of how much time they spent in jail, if any. In the time it took the D.A.’s office to write their 3-page laundry list of excuses of why they aren’t going to comply with the law, they could have instead provided me with the records that I requested.

Kenneth Thompson - picture with rabbisNot only does current Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth Thompson refuse to release public records of Orthodox child molesters requested under FOIL, Thompson is also ethically-challenged in other ways.

Just last week, Thompson was fined $15,000 by the New York City Conflicts of Interests Board for using New York City police officers as his personal waiters and delivery boys to buy him thousands of dollars of meals, all at taxpayer expense.   http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/nyregion/ken-thompson-brooklyn-district-attorney-conflict-of-interest-case.html

Kenneth Thompson - picture 4When Kenneth Thompson ran for office, he promised to change the corrupt ways of his predecessor, Charles Hynes. “For his part, Thompson openly criticized Hynes’ record on crimes committed by the ultra-Orthodox. “Every community in Brooklyn has to be treated the same,” he said. “When I become Brooklyn DA, I’ll make sure there’s equal justice for everyone, under the law.” The Daily Beast – 2013

 

Charles Hynes - photo with rabbisAmong other things, Hynes was notorious for refusing to release to the public the identities of Orthodox child sex predators that he convicted, in contravention of standard practice by other D.A.’s. The covering-up of Orthodox child molesters by the Brooklyn D.A. allows rabbis to pretend that there isn’t a rampant child sex abuse crisis in Orthodox synagogues, schools, yeshivas, summer camps and mikvehs.

 

The Brooklyn D.A.’s failure to stop rabbinic witness intimidation

 

Kenneth Thompson - picture 3

“…witness intimidation, a problem in the ultra-Orthodox community that District Attorney Charles Hynes himself has acknowledged is worse than anything he has seen even in organized crime and police corruption cases.” The Jewish Week – 6-26-12

“Hynes claims that his office has received numerous “allegations that some rabbis were actively counseling, intimidating and harassing victims of sexual abuse, coercing them from reporting abuse to authorities” The Jewish Week – 5-17-2012

 

Kenneth Thompson - picture 5The office of the Brooklyn D.A. publicly acknowledges that rabbis violate the law and coerce, threaten and punish victims to prevent them from testifying against their Orthodox abuser and that it’s worse than the Mafia. Nevertheless, Thompson has not prosecuted a single rabbi or their surrogates for witness intimidation.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the Brooklyn D.A. protects Orthodox kids from sexual predators

 

 

Moshe Spitzer - picture 2Moshe Spitzer was charged with 135 counts of abuse, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of sodomy, was sentenced to 2 years in prison and was released after serving 3 months.

 

 

 

Andrew Goodman - photoAndrew Goodman was charged with 114 counts of abuse. He was sentenced to 2 years in jail. When released, Goodman took one of his former victims across state lines and sodomized him. Taking a child across state lines to abuse him is a Federal crime. The Feds convicted him for that one act and got Goodman sentenced to 10 years to life.

 

 

Shimon Benisty - picture 2Shimon Benisty was convicted of molesting 2 young girls and deemed a “sexually violent offender”. He was only sentenced to 11 months in prison. Upon release, he was deported to Israel where he was convicted of abusing 11 more children.

 

 

 

Menachem Tevel - picture 2Mendy Tevel was charged with 37 counts of child sex crimes, some of them felonies that could have sent him to prison for life. He was sentenced to just 1 year in jail and was released after serving 7 months. He is not on the NY sex offender registry and reportedly now lives in Beverly Hills, CA. He was recently videoed roaming the halls of an Orthodox children’s school nearby.

 

 

Baruch Lebovits - picture 3Baruch Lebovits was sentenced to up to 32 years in prison for child sexual abuse. Due to the Brooklyn D.A.’s bungling of the case, Lebovits spent less than 16 months in prison.

 

 

 

Yonah Weinberg - picture 2Yona Weinberg is a convicted, level-3 child sex offender (the most dangerous tier) who is wanted by the Brooklyn D.A. on additional charges. Weinberg sent me a letter (Yona Weinberg lawyer letter and Israeli lawyer) from his lawyers that insist that Weinberg is not wanted by the police. (Note the unauthorized FBI watermark on the first and second pages). I spoke to NYPD fugitive task force Detective Kevin Lapin (who has Weinberg’s case) on 6/15/2016 and he told me that Weinberg is wanted and has been wanted since 9/10/14. Weinberg flew to Israel the next day. According to several victim advocates in Israel that I contacted, the Brooklyn D.A. is doing nothing to extradite Weinberg.

 

Gershon Kranczer - picture 2Rabbi Gershon Kranczer and his son, Asher Kranczer, both fled to Israel 6 years ago before they could be arrested on horrific child sexual abuse charges. Kranczer’s wife was reported to have driven them to the airport. The D.A. didn’t prosecute her.

Rabbi Kranczer has another son, Yechezkel, who didn’t escape and was charged with 72 counts of child sexual abuse. Yechezkel was convicted and given probation.

I asked the D.A. why they haven’t extradited either Kranczer from Israel and they told me it was part of an “ongoing investigation”. Really? Doing nothing for 6 years constitutes an ongoing investigation?

Meilich Schnitzler - picture 2Meilech Schnitzler was convicted of throwing bleach into the eyes of child victim advocate, Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg. Schnitzler didn’t serve a day in jail. Thompson defended the total absence of punishment by saying that Schnitzler “will have to take an anger management class” New York Post, 6-18-14.

 

Mr. Thompson – Meilech Schnitzler doesn’t need an anger management class, he needs jail time.

 

Kenneth Thompson - picture 7Kenneth Thompson’s campaign promises of equal treatment under the law turned out to be empty. It appears that Thomson cares more about getting re-elected than prosecuting those who abuse Orthodox children. In Brooklyn, to get re-elected as D.A., you need the Orthodox bloc-vote and their campaign cash. That only happens when the rabbis see that you do their bidding by covering-up Orthodox child molesters and allowing rabbis to punish victims who go to the police.

Eric Aiken is the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.

 

How the Brooklyn D.A. covers-up Orthodox child molesters, 1 of 2

This is the first in a 2-part series

Over a year and a half ago, I made a Freedom of Information Law request (FOIL) to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. I wanted the photo and arrest report of 15 Orthodox men who were convicted by the Brooklyn D.A. of child sex crimes.

Having access to both the photo and arrest report are important for the public. Parents need a photo so they can identify Orthodox child sex predators in their communities and keep them away from their kids. In addition, many individuals share the same name. Only a photo can help the public separate the innocent from the guilty.

The arrest report also contains crucial information. Few people realize how disgusting, perverted and sub-human Orthodox child sex predators can be without having access to this information, as difficult and horrifying as it is to read.

Moshe Friedman - picture 2The case of Moshe Friedman illustrates why the arrest report is needed. In a criminal case currently in the Brooklyn court system, Moshe Friedman was arrested on child sex abuse charges. His name didn’t show up on any blog, website or media report.

A source gave me a redacted copy of Friedman’s arrest report. The report states that Friedman sodomized a young boy with a banana, bit the boy’s penis, beat him and shoved rags into the boy’s mouth. He then put a gun to the boy’s head, threatening to kill him and his family if he told anyone what happened. According to the report, this occurred multiple times per month and over the course of a year and a half.

Another source told me that when the rabbis at Friedman’s school were informed of the allegations against Friedman, they didn’t call the police. Rabbis rarely do, no matter how serious the allegations. Someone else reported Friedman to the police.

I forwarded the information I had about Friedman to a network of child victim advocates. One of them knew a reporter who sent a photographer to the Brooklyn courthouse where Friedman was being tried. The result is that I (and now the public) have a photo of him and the New York Daily News did a story on him. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-math-tutor-busted-molesting-student-article-1.2718757

Rabbis and Orthodox officials frequently ignore, minimize or cover up known Orthodox child sex predators. They do this to prevent the Orthodox community from discovering the humiliating truth about how common and pervasive child sexual abuse is.

When an Orthodox individual is convicted of a child sex crime, few people know what he did because they rarely have access to the arrest reports. If the public knew, I believe there would be much more outrage about the way that rabbis cover up and protect these dangerous criminals.

The Brooklyn D.A.’s office told me that they didn’t have the photos or arrest reports of any of the 15 men that I asked about – even though the D.A.’s office confirmed to me in writing that they prosecuted and convicted them. The D.A.’s office told me that I should send my request to NYPD instead.

So I did.

NYPD refused to give me a single record that I requested. I appealed NYPD’s decision to the FOIL appeals officer, Jonathan David. He made me wait nearly 5 months before he issued his decision – that he wasn’t going to give me a single one of the records that I requested. He made the ridiculous claim that releasing the photos and redacted arrest reports of any of these 15 convicted Orthodox child sex offenders would identify their victims and thereby violate the victims’ right to privacy.

This is nonsense. Releasing an Orthodox child molester’s photo doesn’t identify his victim and neither does issuing a redacted arrest report. But it does embarrass the rabbis who cover up and protect Orthodox child molesters and run the Orthodox institutions in which the abuse frequently occurs.

Interestingly, Mr. David’s argument that releasing the photos of convicted Orthodox child sex offenders would violate the law doesn’t seem to apply to the 24,000 non-Orthodox registered sex offenders on New York’s public sex offender registry. http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/SomsSUBDirectory/search_index.jsp

New York’s public registry is able to include the pictures and conviction records of 24,000 sex offenders without violating any law, identifying a single victim or violating the rights of anyone. But for the Orthodox men that I want to know about, the Brooklyn D.A. and NYPD is adamant that every single one of them must be shielded from public view.

The Brooklyn D.A. has a long history of ignoring and covering-up rampant child sexual abuse in Orthodox neighborhoods and allowing rabbis to punish victims who testify against their abuser. In the second article of this series, I show how the current D.A., Kenneth Thompson, continues the corrupt legacy of his predecessor, Charles Hynes.

Eric Aiken is the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.

 

Banning Orthodox female rabbis

The refusal of Agudath Israel and the Rabbinical Council of America to allow brilliant women scholars to become rabbis is something I personally feel is reprehensible.

These developments (female ordination) represent a radical and dangerous departure from Jewish tradition and the mesoras haTorah, and must be condemned in the strongest terms. Any congregation with a woman in a rabbinical position of any sort cannot be considered Orthodox.”

Statement of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah (Agudath Israel) of America February 25, 2010.

“The Rabbinical Council of America resolves to educate and inform our community that RCA members with positions in Orthodox institutions may not

    1. Ordain women into the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title used; or
    2. Hire or ratify the hiring of a woman into a rabbinic position at an Orthodox institution; or
    3. Allow a title implying rabbinic ordination to be used by a teacher of Limudei Kodesh in an Orthodox institution.”   Resolution of the Rabbinical Council of America, October 31, 2015.

The hysterical condemnation of women rabbis by these two major Orthodox rabbinical organizations goes way beyond Jewish law and tradition. To me, it simply smacks of a bunch of powerful male rabbis who don’t want women playing in their sandbox.

You might think by reading the Agudath Israel and RCA statements that ordaining or hiring women rabbis would be some sort of major Torah violation, like eating pork, murder or idol worship.

But there is no prohibition in the Torah or even rabbinic law that prohibits female ordination. It’s for a simple reason – today’s ordination, or smicha, has no halachic significance.

Historically, ordination (smicha), was a transference of halachic authority from Moses to Joshua and on down from generation to generation. But the chain of authority ended in the time of Hillel II around 1,600 years ago. What is called smicha today is just an honorary title given in recognition of reaching a certain level of Torah learning.

There are no rules for who can give smicha and who can get it. Every rabbi or yeshiva that gives smicha makes up their own rules. Usually, you have to pass a test involving some knowledge of kosher food laws, Shabbat, family purity and laws of mourning. But the title is just symbolic.

When you examine the typical function of a congregational rabbi, with very few exceptions, a scholarly, well-trained woman can do everything a male rabbi can within the confines of halacha. She can give sermons, teach classes, counsel congregants and answer questions of Jewish law and custom, just like a male rabbi.

Many women already perform these functions. They just don’t get paid 6-figure salaries and have hundreds of people stand up for them when they walk into a room.

A well-trained woman rabbi can officiate at weddings, funerals and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. There is nothing about any of these life-cycle events in which Judaism requires a male rabbi to officiate or even be present.

The only area in which a woman rabbi cannot participate according to Jewish law would be to lead prayer services for male congregants. As a practical matter, it makes little difference. Male rabbis rarely lead prayer services anyway. Typically, the prayer services are lead by a mourner who takes precedence over the rabbi.

So when Agudath Israel and the RCA vehemently refuse to allow women to become rabbis, it seems that their entire justification rests on their assertion that it would violate Jewish law and Torah tradition. But what tradition?

The Torah has no comment or rules regarding women rabbis. If Agudath Israel and the RCA are referring to historical reality, then yes, historically women have not been rabbis. They haven’t been doctors or lawyers, either. Historically, women have been denied the same religious education as men. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be educated and trained to the same degree as men and that they can’t perform the same rabbinic functions as men.

There is no halachic justification for banning women rabbis. Instead, we should welcome and support women in any Orthodox leadership role that they choose – leadership that is so totally lacking in many male rabbis.

Consider this:

  • Miriam was a leader of the Jewish women when they left Egypt.
  • Devorah was a prophetess, judge and a leader of the entire Jewish nation.
  • Ruth is considered the prime example of a righteous convert and her descendants were King David and eventually will be the mashiach. Ruth merited to have a book in Tanach named after her.
  • Esther saved the Jewish nation from complete annihilation in the story of Purim. She also has a book in Tanach named after her.
  • Bruria was the wife of Rabbi Meir. Her scholarship was so outstanding that she won halachic arguments with Talmudic sages.
  • Rashi’s daughters are similarly noted for their exceptional piety and scholarship.

Nowhere in thousands of years of Jewish history do you see rabbis condemning and banning Miriam, Devorah, Ruth, Esther, Bruria or Rashi’s daughters from religious leadership positions because they are women. Yet if these righteous women lived in America in the 21st century, they would probably all be banned from leadership roles by Agudath Israel and the RCA.

Eric Aiken is the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.


8 child protection recommendations that Orthodox rabbis should implement immediately

Many Orthodox rabbis and institutions are affiliated with one or more major Orthodox umbrella groups. These groups include the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America, Torah Umesorah, the Rabbinical Council of America or the National Council of Young Israel.

Over the last several years, I tried to convince several of these groups, numerous prominent rabbis and The Jewish Federations of North America to take even minimal steps to protect Orthodox children from the rampant sexual abuse found in our communities. My efforts went nowhere.

Most of the time, my phone calls and emails were ignored. In the rare instance that I was actually able to have a conversation with a rabbi or leader of one of these groups, they would not agree to do anything to protect our kids.

To my knowledge, none of these major Orthodox groups or The Jewish Federations of North America have any publicly posted set of child protection rules. Rabbis who do want to protect the children in their care have little or no direction from their affiliated organizations as to how to make their institutions safe for children.

In the absence of any guidance on this issue from most of our religious or Jewish lay leadership, I have written a set of child safety recommendations that all rabbis and Orthodox institutions can and should implement immediately.

I urge anyone interested in stopping the unrelenting plague of child sexual abuse in Orthodox communities to send this list to your rabbi, principal, board of directors or president of your synagogue, school or yeshiva. Ask them to implement these child safety recommendations. If they stall, delay, make excuses or refuse to, ask them why protecting our children from sexual abuse is not a priority for them.

1) Publicize the names of the hundreds of Orthodox child molesters who are known to rabbis.

Frequently, victims or their parents report to their rabbi when a child has been sexually abused. In many instances, rabbis cover up the molester and demand that the victim remain silent about their abuser. Parents and employers can’t protect the children in their care if they don’t know who the predators are who deliberately target Orthodox kids for sexual abuse. “The List” on my website is a good place to start for this information.

2) Ban from Orthodox institutions and excommunicate anyone known to have harmed children in the past.

Many studies show that there is no drug or therapy that cures child sex offenders from their desire to sexually abuse children. They are never safe around kids and they should never have access to them.

3) Implement and enforce basic, common-sense child safety rules in every Orthodox institution.

  • No adult other than a parent or guardian may ever seclude themselves with a child.
  • Anyone who suspects that a child may have been harmed must report that suspicion immediately to the police, without first asking the permission of a rabbi. Only a suspicion of harm, not proof, should obligate one to make a report, as the law requires in many states. Let the experts in law enforcement determine if a crime has been committed.
  • No one who has harmed children in the past may be allowed in an Orthodox institution.

4) Expel from the rabbinate any rabbi who is known to have abused children or women.

There are hundreds of rabbis who are known sex predators. Some of them have even served jail sentences for sex crimes against children and women. Yet they inexplicably retain the honored title of “rabbi” and they are free to officiate as a trusted member of the Orthodox rabbinate. By contrast, even the Catholic Church defrocks abusive priests.

5) Punish anyone known to have retaliated against a victim of child sexual abuse or their family for speaking out against their abuser or going to the police.

Victims and law enforcement officials frequently report that victims are threatened or punished for reporting Orthodox child molesters to the police. The threats and witness-tampering cannot occur without the tacit, if not explicit, approval of the community’s rabbis. Rabbis must stop intimidating and threatening victims and start punishing those who do.

6) Assign a prominent community rabbi to attend every court proceeding in support of the victim in a child sexual abuse case.

Statistically speaking, children almost never lie about being sexually abused. If a child is alleging that they were sexually abused, it is usually true. Only the public support of a victim by a prominent rabbi will teach the community to take every allegation of sexual abuse seriously and to treat the victim and their family with kindness, support and compassion.

7) Rabbis must insist that Orthodox therapists report abuse to child protective services or the police.

Several Orthodox therapists have told me that they and their colleagues have been threatened by rabbis with termination from their jobs if they report Orthodox child molesters to the police, as most state laws require. Rabbis can either choose to protect our children, or to protect their abusers. By threatening therapists who report abuse, rabbis are choosing the molesters over our children.

8) Rabbis must demand that Israel extradite every Orthodox individual wanted by the police back to their country of origin.

Avrohom Mondrowitz, Malka Leifer, Gershon Kranczer, Asher Kranczer and Yona Weinberg need to be extradited without delay.

Eric Aiken is the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.

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The RCA fails to protect our children – month 8

Mark Dratch - picture 2

This now marks the eighth month since I began contacting Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America by phone and email. I asked Rabbi Dratch to address the numerous areas in which I believe that the RCA has done little or nothing to protect Jewish children from the rampant sexual abuse found in Orthodox communities throughout the world.

The RCA is the world’s largest rabbinical organization with over 1,000 members who are rabbis in 18 countries. The RCA has close ties to the Orthodox Union, Yeshiva University, the Beth Din of America and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

Thousands of parents assume that their rabbis are doing everything necessary to make our summer camps, synagogues, Jewish schools, yeshivas and mikvas safe for our children. They couldn’t be more mistaken.

When I first discussed Orthodox child sexual abuse with Rabbi Dratch 8 months ago, he told me that this was an issue that is close to his heart. I asked him to take the following 3 steps that would greatly help to protect Orthodox children from sexual abuse:

  • I asked him to implement and enforce the 4 separate sets of child safety resolutions that the RCA has adopted over the last 23 years. I don’t know of a single rabbi or Orthodox institution that has implemented or enforced these resolutions.
  • I asked him to publicize a database of Orthodox child molesters. He told me that exposing convicted molesters was a “no-brainer”, but the RCA has yet to do it.
  • I asked him to require all RCA rabbis to publicly commit to banning convicted child molesters from Orthodox synagogues.

Rabbi Dratch told me that he would not commit to implementing any of these child safety provisions. It is beyond comprehension that the RCA will not commit to expelling convicted Orthodox child molesters from our synagogues, where these predators have easy access to our children in spaces that we incorrectly assume are “safe”.

When I tried to follow up with Rabbi Dratch several weeks later, I left 2 phone messages with his secretary who told me that he was busy but that he would call me back soon. He never did.

In the last few months, I have published several open letters asking Rabbi Dratch and the RCA once again to take important steps to protect our children from sexual abuse (First letter, Second letter). Rabbi Dratch wrote a 13-word response that the RCA is working “assiduously” on the issue. He offered no specifics on what that meant or what, if anything, the RCA was doing to protect our children.

I think you can see how I might reach the conclusion that the RCA is not interested in taking necessary action to protect our children from sexual abuse.

I would like you to read an excerpt from an article published by a prominent Orthodox rabbi 10 years ago. He is one of the few rabbis willing to publicly criticize his rabbinical colleagues for their failure to protect Orthodox children or support victims of child sexual abuse.

Please read the following excerpts carefully. As you read it, think about whether this rabbi might be referring to the RCA.

Although we are instructed to “expose hypocrites to prevent the desecration of the Name” (Talmud Yoma 86b), many have advocated cover-ups of scandals in which Jews are involved because of concerns of hillul Hashem. However, this concern about protecting the reputation of God and the Jewish people by repressing public discussion of behaviors and actions that may be deemed a “shonda”, scandalous and disreputable, may in fact itself be a hillul Hashem.

First, as we have seen above, unethical behavior in and of itself is a desecration of God’s Name. It is the abuser and not the abused that has committed hillul Hashem. And it is those who cover up and silence victims, not those who seek justice and the protection of innocent victims that desecrate God’s Name.

Many victims of abuse are exploited first by their Jewish perpetrators and then are betrayed by the reaction of the family and community they thought would help them, nurture them and find them justice. In many cases, these victims lose faith in themselves, in the community and in God. Those who do not reject their Judaism find strength in their faith, despite all that has been done to them.

But in many cases victims are disillusioned by the institutions and leaders they thought they could trust. Too many of them abandon mitzvah observance and their connections to the Jewish community are weakened. This is the real hillul Hashem!

Furthermore, there are many who are afraid to speak because of the damage it might do to their reputations, the acceptance of their families in their communities or the ability of their children or siblings to find appropriate marriage partners. This is the shonda.

If the values of our community demand cover-up and silence because of “what the neighbors might say”, then those values which prevent victims from seeking help and innocents from being protected from assault need to change.

What are the priorities of our community? These victims are innocent. They did nothing. And they should not have to pay the price and carry the burden of a community that would like to see itself in ways other than it is. If anything, victims and their advocates who do speak out should be admired for their courage in facing up to and overcoming adversity.

In our day, the greater shonda occurs not when abuse is revealed, but when it is systematically covered-up by Jewish leaders and communities.”

So, do you know who the prominent rabbi was who wrote this essay forcefully and publicly criticizing his rabbinical colleagues for their failure to protect our kids from sexual abuse?

It was Rabbi Mark Dratch.

He wrote it 10 years ago on his now-closed JSafe.org website. But that was a long time ago, before he became the executive vice-president of the largest Orthodox rabbinical organization in the world.

Eric Aiken is the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.

UPDATED – Help Identify Alleged Child Molester, Moshe Friedman

UPDATED 7/20/16-
The NY Daily News has just reported about Moshe Friedman and included a picture of him. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-math-tutor-busted-molesting-student-article-1.2718757
Moshe Friedman - picture 2
The allegations in the police report (which I have) against Friedman are much worse than what the NY Daily News is reporting in their sanitized version for public viewing. I hope that if Friedman is convicted, the corrupt Brooklyn D.A. doesn’t give him probation or a few months in jail like 80% of the convicted Orthodox child molesters in Brooklyn get. Thanks to Yerachmiel Lopin of FrumFollies for helping me publicize this case.
This is the original post:
According to the records of the New York State Court system, Moshe Friedman (approximately  31 years old) was arrested in January, 2015 on 2 felony child sexual abuse charges. He is alleged to have abused a young boy at the Bobov (48) yeshiva located at 4206 15th Avenue in Boro Park. I believe he was a special ed teacher, but have not been able to confirm it.
 
I have a copy of the police report (which I am not free to share). What Friedman is alleged to have done to the boy is indescribably shocking. The report contains the most sadistic child abuse allegations I have ever read other than the Elior Chen abuse case in Israel (Elior Chen – sentenced). The Israeli judge in the Chen case said that it was the worst child abuse case in the history of Israel.
 
Friedman’s case is still languishing in the Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney while he is out on bail. In spite of the severity of the charges, there is every possibility he will get a sweetheart plea bargain with little or no prison time and perhaps without even getting lengthy probation and placement on the sex offender registry. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn DA exchanges leniency for ultra orthodox political support. Worse yet, Haredi leadership is more interested in protecting offenders than sparing Haredi children.
 
Friedman is being represented by noted defense attorney, Arthur Aidala, one of the highest-priced criminal defense lawyers in Brooklyn and a political mover and shaker. Aidala also defended Baruch Lebovits together with Alan Dershowitz (Baruch Lebovits – Dershowitz sued). Freidman’s high-priced lawyer makes me wonder if some important people are backing him.
 
I don’t have a picture of Friedman and as there are many Moshe Friedman’s in the world who have no connection to this case, it would be helpful if someone can send me a picture of the Moshe Friedman who has been arrested.  
 
I usually don’t write about specific Orthodox child sexual abuse cases. I prefer to focus on the rabbis and Orthodox institutions who regularly protect and cover-up Orthodox child molesters as being the true source of the unchecked plague of abuse in our communities.
However, knowing the Brooklyn D.A.’s long, sick, history of giving convicted Orthodox child molesters little or no jail time, I want to try to publicize the Friedman case. In the event that there is a conviction, perhaps the increased publicity might make it  more difficult for the Brooklyn D.A. to deliver its usual sweetheart deals. If the D.A. does sign on to a sweetheart deal, the media will be alerted to the severity of the crimes.
Friedman’s next court hearing will be in Brooklyn’s Supreme Court on Wednesday July 20. The judge on the case is Raymond Guzman. The assistant D.A. is Deanna Michelle Paul.
 
If you have any information or photos of the Moshe Friedman who worked at the Bobov yeshiva in Boro Park, please email me at ericpjk@gmail.com
 
Eric Aiken is the owner of www.protectjewishkids.com and is an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” on his website contains the world’s largest database of known Orthodox child molesters.

Yeshiva University’s Child Molesters

In 2013, Yeshiva University was sued by 34 plaintiffs alleging they were sexually abused when they were students there. Although the Torah does not recognize a statute of limitations, Y.U. invoked this arbitrary secular law that Judaism rejects to get the lawsuit dismissed because the plaintiffs filed their claims too late.

Due to the scandalous revelations contained in the lawsuit and the resultant public outcry, Y.U. hired a law firm to investigate itself. Y.U.’s Board of Trustees pledged to make public the “specific details” of the investigation. But before the report could be made public, the law firm claimed that a “Special Committee” (it doesn’t say who was on the committee) had intervened and directed it not to report the details, reneging on Y.U.’s public pledge of transparency. The result was that the law firm issued a 53-page report that said nothing about the pervasive sexual and physical abuse of Y.U. students except for a vague 3-paragraph summary buried on page 8.

The summary stated the obvious and what was already known from the massive Y.U. lawsuit. That numerous students were indeed sexually and physically abused over the course of many years by a number of individuals in a position of authority. It also stated that the abuse wasn’t just limited to Y.U’s high school, but extended to other Y.U. facilities that were not identified. It further stated that members of Y.U.’s administration were aware of the abuse, and on multiple occasions did not act to protect its students and sometimes didn’t even respond to allegations of abuse.

The report did not name a single child molester known to Y.U. and its rabbis. It did not name a single rabbi or administration official who knew about the abuse, covered-up the molesters, ignored victims and did nothing to protect Y.U. students. It did not identify who quashed the full report. It did not reveal how many students were molested, during what time period or if the abuse extended beyond just the boys or if it also included girls and women at Y.U. educational facilities.

The report did not explain why Y.U. officials did not warn other Orthodox institutions who subsequently hired its child sex predators. It did not explain why Y.U. has assumed no responsibility for caring for, healing and adequately compensating students who have suffered their entire lives due to being sexually assaulted by Y.U. staff in Y.U. buildings. The report did not explain why no one at Y.U. was fired over the monstrous abuse of its own students, by its own staff.

Warning the public about dangerous men with a history of harming Jewish children is a basic Torah requirement. Begging forgiveness and fully compensating victims who were abused is the least Y.U. could have done and embodies fundamental Jewish concepts. Nevertheless, it seems that Y.U.’s rabbis, Torah scholars and officials ignored Torah law, Jewish morals and basic human decency and did nothing.

Y.U. was willing to pay lawyers to fight its own students to prevent them from receiving money that could have helped them gain healing. Y.U. was willing to pay its investigative law firm a reported $2.5 million to issue a censored report that held no Y.U. staff or administrators accountable for their failure to protect its students.

According to The Jewish Forward, in 2014 (the year that the lawsuit was dismissed), Y.U. lost a reported $150 million and its credit rating was downgraded to junk-bond status. Despite Y.U.’s desperate financial situation, it nevertheless paid president Richard Joel a compensation package of more than $2 million above his base salary. His base salary just by itself made him the highest paid president of any Jewish non-profit.

To see how disgracefully a major Torah institution and rabbinical seminary deals with sexual abuse, it’s helpful to compare Y.U.’s actions to a secular university that had a similar abuse case.

Penn State faced allegations that popular coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused his students for 40 years. As a result, Penn State commissioned a truly independent investigation led by former FBI head Louis Freeh. Unlike Y.U., Penn State’s detailed report was made public. Sandusky was sent to jail for at least 30 years, top Penn State officials who covered-up the abuse were criminally charged, fired or resigned. Penn State will pay 32 victims over $92 million. And the press has written scathing reports saying that Penn State didn’t do nearly enough.

By contrast at Y.U., no one who committed child sex crimes went to jail, no one who covered-up the abuse was fired or forced to resign, the details of the abuse were concealed and Y.U. didn’t pay a dime to its victims.

Instead of enriching its lawyers and president, Y.U. could have offered that same money to its students, giving each alleged victim $125,000 with a personal, heartfelt apology from the rabbis and administration that allowed them to be abused. Y.U. could have taken this opportunity to show the world that rabbis, Torah scholars and Orthodox institutions are willing to accept responsibility for their failures and show caring and compassion to defenseless kids who were victims of horrific sexual abuse.

But instead, Y.U. chose money over morals, rabbis over victims and cowardice over accountability.

 

Eric Aiken is the owner of www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.

 

 

Follow-up letter to Rabbi Dratch of the Rabbinical Council of America

Mark Dratch - picture 2

Rabbi Mark Dratch, EVP, Rabbinical Council of America

Note to my readers – the letter below was emailed today to Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America.

 

Dear Rabbi Dratch,

Six weeks ago, I emailed you and published on my website, www.protectjewishkids.com, a detailed letter expressing my deep concern that the RCA was doing little to protect Orthodox children from sexual assault:

  • I wrote a 2,000 word letter pointing out how the RCA hasn’t implemented or enforced 4 separate sets of child safety resolutions that it has adopted over the last 23 years. I also asked you to require that all RCA rabbis publicly prohibit from their synagogues, schools and yeshivas anyone convicted of a child sex crime. In a phone call that I had with you 7 months ago, you told me that you wouldn’t commit to enforcing the RCA child protection resolutions or requiring rabbis to ban child rapists and molesters from Orthodox institutions.
  • I wrote how you told me in that phone call that publicizing the identities of convicted Orthodox child molesters was a “no-brainer”, yet the RCA doesn’t do it.
  • I cited an essay that you wrote 10 years ago that advocates for abusive rabbis to be excommunicated and defrocked, yet the RCA, to my knowledge has never done so to an abusive rabbi.
  • I wrote about the RCA resolution that pledges to condemn every person involved in child sexual abuse. Yet out of over 250 public record cases that I have posted, I can only find on the RCA website 3 of these cases mentioned.
  • I also wrote how in an RCA resolution 23 years ago, the RCA called for abusers to be identified to future employers, yet the RCA still doesn’t appear to have any system in place to do that.

I will quote your response to my letter in its entirety:

Thank you for your email. We continue to work assiduously on this issue.”

That was your complete response to my detailed letter. Thirteen meaningless words.

I believe that many people reading this will find your response to be totally inadequate. Yet you and the RCA don’t seem to want to discuss any of the above issues, let alone take long overdue action to protect our children from a lifetime of pain.

Why?

Don’t you feel that as executive vice president of the largest rabbinic organization in the world you have an obligation to protect the children in your synagogues, schools, yeshivas, mikvas and summer camps from sexual abuse and harm?

I believe that thousands of parents and community members feel that they have no voice in their Orthodox communities. They see that their rabbis are unresponsive to their concerns about the need for child protection, intolerant of criticism and unwilling to be held accountable for their lack of action. Many fear that if they speak out, they will be shamed, punished and ostracized from their communities, as many have been who have spoken out in the past.

The writing is on the wall. Covering-up molesters, silencing victims and ignoring their advocates is a losing strategy. Nothing good will come of it. The only question is how much more public shame, ridicule and humiliation our rabbis are willing to bring upon themselves and the entire Jewish community before they come to that realization.

Eric Aiken is an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse and the owner of www.protectjewishkids.com

Chaim Weiss murder update

I decided to investigate some of the rabbis who worked or studied at the Mesivta of Long Beach. (It was also called Torah High School. After Chaim Weiss’ murder, the name appears to have been changed to Mercaz Hatorah.)

Samuel Waldman -picture 2

Rabbi Samuel Waldman

The first name that got my attention was Rabbi Samuel Waldman. In 2014, he was arrested on Federal distribution of child pornography charges by the Department of Homeland Security. At the time Waldman was arrested, he was a teacher at the Bais Yaakov of Boro Park.

Waldman wrote the book “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” published in 2002. In it, he thanks 2 Mesivta rabbis (Levi Dicker the rosh yeshiva and Chaim Zelikovitz, a teacher) for hiring him as a mashgiach. The mashgiach is the equivalent of the dorm counselor, confidant and mentor to the yeshiva boys. It appears that Waldman was a mashgiach for 8 years.

In his book, Rabbi Waldman also acknowledges his former rabbi and Torah teacher, Rabbi Gabriel Bodenheimer. Bodeheimer was convicted of child endangerment when he was principal of a yeshiva in Monsey, NY. Rabbi Waldman also acknowledges Rabbi Yisroel Belsky who reviewed his book. Belsky is notorious for publicly accusing the father of a boy who was molested in Lakewood, NJ of molesting his own son. Belsky also publicly exonerated Rabbi Yosef Kolko who was arrested for the crime.

Even after Kolko admitted in court that he molested the boy and was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison, Belsky refused to retract his disgraceful accusation against the boy’s father or admit that he was wrong in exonerating Kolko. Partly due to Belsky’s accusations, the Lakewood Orthodox community made life so unbearable for the boy and his family, that they had to leave the state.

The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest Orthodox rabbinical organization in the world, called Belsky “a distinguished scholar”. I’m not making this up.

Shlomo Lesin - picture 2

Rabbi Shlomo Lesin

The second rabbi’s name associated with the Mesivta that got my attention was Rabbi Shlomo Lesin. He described himself as the executive director at the time of Chaim Weiss’ murder. He was employed by the Mesivta from 1969 until 2004. During his tenure, not only was Chaim Weiss murdered with no one cooperating with the police, but several years earlier another boy committed suicide by hanging himself in his dorm room shower. The police investigating Weiss’ murder publicly complained about the lack of cooperation they received.

In 1999, the Mesivta and Rabbi Lesin asked for a zoning variance so they could build a dorm for 186 students including guest accommodations in their Long Beach neighborhood. It faced fierce opposition from some of the neighbors. Some of them were opposed to having a very large dorm put in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Others resented that the Mesivta owned 16 properties in Long Beach and didn’t pay any taxes or municipal fees on any of them, saddling everyone else with the expenses of running their community.

The Mesivta responded to the opposition by taking out ads in a local paper accusing them of anti-semitism. The leader of the neighborhood opposition was Jewish.

In 2014, Rabbi Lesin was involved in a nearly identical zoning case, this time as vice president of Yeshiva Gedolah Na’os Yaakov in Lakewood, NJ. The yeshiva asked for a zoning variance to allow for a dorm for 96 students in a residential neighborhood. Rabbi Lesin claimed to the zoning board that it was necessary to locate the yeshiva in a residential neighborhood to avoid anti-semitism.

He referenced the murder of Chaim Weiss nearly 30 years earlier and said that it is his belief “that the crime was an attack fueled by hatred of their community and way of life.” (Asbury Park Press – February 25, 2015).

The police publicly debunked that anti-semitism myth 2 days after Chaim Weiss was murdered. “Police said the killing did not appear to be motivated by anti-semitism” (Lodi News-Sentinel, November 3, 1986).

Rabbi Lesin himself publicly asserted at the time of Weiss’ murder that there was no anti-semitism in Long Beach. “Lesin told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he has been there 17 years and has felt no anti-Semitism during that time.” (Jewish Telegraphic Agency 11/13/1986)

Even the Mesivta’s principal didn’t believe anti-semitism was involved. “School Principal Avram Cooper, who was also the victim’s 11th-grade teacher, told police that the murder appeared to have no anti-Semitic overtones.” (New York Daily News 11/2/1986)

Rabbi Lesin’s assertions to the zoning board that Chaim was murdered due to anti-semitism are shameful and inexcusable. All the evidence so far points to the murderer being someone affiliated with the Mesivta, not anti-semites.

“Detectives now believe the murderer was a student or a faculty member, multiple sources said. “How could this happen and nobody hear or say anything? Somebody’s got a secret,” said Nassau County Police Capt. John Azzata.” (New York Daily News 10/30 2015)

Anti-semites rarely murder a yeshiva boy in his bed, leave his dorm room, return later, move his body, open his window on a frigid November night to let his soul escape (in accordance with Orthodox tradition) and then light a yahrzeit candle in his memory. It seems that perhaps Rabbi Lesin is trying to use Chaim Weiss’ brutal murder to advance his zoning variance goals.

The zoning variance was eventually denied. The yeshiva responded by suing the zoning board and Ocean Township, NJ in Federal court. The lawsuit complained of the zoning hearings being “packed” with opponents, as if the right to public assembly and free speech is something nefarious. The lawsuit also alleged that the zoning variance was denied partly because of “unsubstantiated fears”, “hostility” and “prejudice against Orthodox Jewish men”. Sounds like Rabbi Lesin is claiming anti-semitism again.

Even the neighborhood residents don’t believe the yeshiva’s anti-semitism claim.

“The legal firm representing the applicant always claimed anti-Semitism,” said Paul Meyerowitz. He said the township has about 10 Jewish institutions and schools “from Orthodox to Conservative to Reform” and two mikvas.

“My parents helped build that building and I attended school there,” when it was the site of Hillel Yeshiva, said Meyerowitz. “Believe me, that building cannot accommodate 96 men.”

“The charge of anti-Semitism is absurd,” said Meyerowitz. “I was even accused of being anti-Semitic and I’ve been on the boards of five synagogues and have been president of one.”

“Resident David Nussbaum said he worried the implication that anti-Semitism played a role in the denial would drive a wedge between Jewish and non-Jewish residents.

“I’ve always felt this is a zoning issue and the choice made to turn it into a social issue was ill-advised,” he said. “I hope hard feelings are not exacerbated by outside forces for those of us who live here and all get along pretty well.”

(New Jersey Jewish News – 5/2/2016)

The Zoning Board hearings

 

“Rabbi Lesin described the Yeshiva and the students that study there to gain leadership skills and character development. He described the students to be an elite group, comparing the Yeshiva to Harvard University.”

Zoning Board minutes 10/23/14

“Ed Horn, 1901 Logan Road, asked if the school will follow the laws set forth by the Constitution, the State, the County and the Township or if they follow religious laws. Rabbi Lesin said that they follow all the laws of the United States.

“Cindy White, 240 Woodcrest Road, asked the Rabbi how long it was before he called the police after the body of the student was found. Rabbi Lesin said that he called the police immediately when they found out and that he spoke to the police and investigators immediately.

Zoning Board minutes 2/25/15

Rabbi Lesin makes 4 claims at the zoning board hearings:

  • The yeshiva exists to teach the students leadership skills and character development.
  • The yeshiva is on a par with Harvard University.
  • The yeshiva abides by all governmental laws.
  • That when Chaim Weiss was murdered, he spoke to the police and investigators immediately.

As to Rabbi Lesin’s last claim implying immediate cooperation with the police, this is what the police said:

“Police said their initial investigation was hampered because yesterday was the Jewish Sabbath. Officials of the yeshiva would not agree to discuss the case extensively until sundown, when the Sabbath ended.” (New York Daily News 11/2/86)

“Edwards said some 140 students were initially interviewed when the crime was first committed, but they all “lawyered  up” and claimed they didn’t know what happened. “We got nothing,” Edwards recalled.

(New York Daily News 10/30 2015)

No one assisted the police until 10 hours had passed from the time detectives arrived at the crime scene. Ten hours is an eternity in a murder investigation. It gives the murderer ample time to hide the murder weapon, conceal evidence and it allows witnesses to coordinate their stories if they want to protect the murderer.

The failure of Mesivta officials and students to cooperate in a murder investigation is a brazen violation of Jewish law. Using the Sabbath as an excuse not to cooperate immediately shows that the rabbis and Torah scholars at the Mesivta are either completely ignorant of basic Jewish law or are hiding something.

House fire yeshiva dormShortly after Rabbi Lesin’s yeshiva filed the Federal lawsuit, there was a fire in a single-family house a few minutes from the yeshiva. Fire marshals discovered that approximately 2 dozen of Rabbi Lesin’s yeshiva students were living in the house illegally. The fire marshals discovered 27 beds in the house.

So much for Rabbi Lesin’s promise to the zoning board that the yeshiva follows “all the laws of the United States”.

 

Eric Aiken is the owner of www.protectjewishkids.com. He can be reached at ericpjk@gmail.com.

 

28 new additions to protectjewishkids.com

Since I began my efforts to compile a public database of Orthodox child molesters about 1 ½ years ago, I have struggled with 2 important decisions:

  • Should I include in the database the many men (most of them rabbis) who have been alleged to have violated, or have been convicted of violating, adult women?
  • Should I include the names of individuals who haven’t been charged with a crime, but their names have appeared in the public or media regarding allegations of inappropriate conduct with children or women?

After consulting with numerous attorneys and survivor advocates, I have decided to include both groups in “The List”. Anyone who has not been charged with a crime is listed as “Not charged”. This is to differentiate them from the majority of the individuals in “The List” who are categorized as “Arrested” or “Convicted”. I include the “Not charged” individuals in “The List” with the attached publicly available report about them simply for informational purposes only.

These are the 28 new additions to “The List”. Most of them are Orthodox rabbis:

Convicted

1) Rabbi Barry Freundel – serving a 6 ½ year jail sentence after being caught secretly video-recording 150 women over the course of several years as they undressed to enter the women’s ritual bath (mikva).

2) Eli Gutterman – massage therapist convicted of molesting 6 women.

3) Michael Segelstein – convicted of molesting a woman.

4) Ari Noe – Political liaison for NYC Mayor de Blasio, convicted of molesting a woman.

Arrested

5) Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg – alleged to have raped multiple women in Sefat, Israel.

6) Nachman Breier – Chef and chauffeur for Grand Rabbi Twersky of the Skver chasidim. Alleged to have taken photos of naked couples in New Jersey motels.

Not charged – public reports have mentioned the following individuals:

7) Shlomit Acciaroli – alleged to have lost her teacher’s license in Canada due to child sex abuse allegations.

8) Rick Andron – alleged to have had inappropriate contact with Yeshiva University boys.

9) Rabbi Ephraim Bryks – alleged to have resigned from the Rabbinical Council of America and the Queens Vaad over sex abuse allegations.

10) Rabbi Jacob Bryski – alleged to have been sued by an alleged victim.

11) Mordechai Ehrman – former owner of a now-closed unlicensed child care facility that was investigated over child sexual abuse allegations.

12) Rabbi George Finkelstein – alleged to have had inappropriate contact with Yeshiva University boys and other children.

13) Marc Gafni – former rabbi alleged to have molested several girls.

14) Rabbi Macy Gordon – alleged to have had inappropriate contact with Yeshiva University boys.

15) Rabbi Yeshaya Dovid Kaye – banned by 2 West Orange, NJ rabbis from their synagogues due to allegations of the sexual abuse of numerous women.

16) Rabbi Elimelech Meisels – owner of 4 Israeli seminaries declared by a Chicago Bet Din to be unsafe due to allegations of his having inappropriate relations with the seminary women.

17) Dr. John Myers – Australian doctor alleged to have lost his medical license due to sex abuse allegations.

18) Rabbi Avrohom Reichman – sued by former student on sex abuse allegations.

19) Rabbi Joseph (Yossi) Reizes – alleged to have been fired from his school over sex abuse allegations.

20) Rabbi Aron Tendler – alleged to have been forced out of his synagogue due to sex abuse allegations.

21) Rabbi Mordechai Tendler – alleged to have been forced out of his synagogue due to sex abuse allegations.

22) Rabbi Leib Tropper – alleged to have been fired from 2 Jewish organizations due to sex abuse allegations.

23) Rabbi Matis Weinberg – alleged to have abused Yeshiva University students in Israel in addition to his own students when he had a yeshiva in California.

24) Rabbi Dovid Weinberger – alleged to have been fired from his synagogue due to sex abuse allegations. He signed a letter agreeing to never being a rabbi again or teaching in a Jewish school.

25) Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Becker – alleged to have signed agreement promising never to treat women even with their husbands present.

26) Rabbi Marc Schneier – alleged to have been expelled from the Rabbinical Council of America and resigned from his synagogue over allegations of inappropriate contact with women who weren’t his wife.

27) Rabbi Daniel Greer – sued by former student over sex abuse allegations.

28) Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt – over the course of several decades has been alleged to have taken young men and boys to a sauna to have lengthy discussions with them while they were both naked.

The murder of Chaim Weiss – is there a child sexual abuse angle?

Chaim Weiss - picture 2The murder of Chaim Weiss – is there a child sexual abuse angle?

Last week I was contacted by Detective Captain John Azzata from the Nassau County homicide department regarding the murder of Chaim Weiss. Chaim was a 15 year-old student at the Torah High School on Long Beach, Long Island. He was brutally bludgeoned to death as he slept in his dorm room bed on Friday night, November 1, 1986.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/investigation-continues-1986-halloween-murder-article-1.2417285

The murder has never been solved. No one was willing to furnish the police with any useful leads. In a yeshiva with 140 students that ate, studied, prayed and socialized together, not one person admitted to seeing anything, hearing anything or knowing anything about Chaim’s murder or murderer.

When police entered Chaim’s room, his body had been moved, a yahrzeit candle had been lit (on Shabbos) and the window to his room had been opened on a frigid November night. (Opening a window is in accordance with the Orthodox custom for the deceased.)

The case was so profoundly disturbing that it was featured on Unsolved Mysteries and written about by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News and numerous other publications.

The Weiss family is still devastated by Chaim’s murder. They still grieve and mourn his loss. They still contact Detective Captain John Azzata every week asking if anyone has shared with him any information.

What happened to Chaim is every parent’s worst nightmare. What makes it even more painful for the Weiss family is knowing that someone has information that could identify Chaim’s murderer and no one will share that with the police.

The Torah commands us “Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed” (Lev. 19:16). It is way past time to end the unimaginable suffering of the Weiss family and Chaim’s aging parents. If you have any information at all about Chaim’s murder, now is the time to call the police.

Perhaps you know someone who was a student or teacher at Torah High School. Maybe you know someone who knows someone who was. Please share this post with as many people as possible.

Any tips can be shared completely anonymously by calling 800-244-TIPS. There is a $25,000 reward available.

You can also contact Detective Captain John Azzata at 516-573-7788.

If you don’t want to contact the police directly, you can contact me at ericpjk@gmail.com.

Eric Aiken is the owner of www.protectjewishkids.com.

Agudath Israel & Torah Umesorah

Two days ago, I published an article on my website www.protectjewishkids.com criticizing Agudath Israel’s and Torah Umesorah’s efforts to kill New York’s Child Victim’s Act. The Act, if passed, would allow child rapists and sex predators to be prosecuted for their crimes. I think that most people would agree that prosecuting child sex predators for their crimes is a good thing.

But Agudath Israel, Torah Umesorah and their allies at the Catholic Church seem to disagree. They feel so strongly about this legislation that they have teamed up with each other 4 times in the last decade to successfully defeat the bill. They are now fighting it again for the 5th time.

Rabbi David ZweibelRabbi Dovid Zwiebel of Agudath Israel of America – how much money paid in dues and donations to Agudah synagogues have you spent to kill the Child Victim’s Act? Are there no poor people in your communities that need this money? Does everyone have enough food to eat, clothes to wear and money to pay rent and mortgages? Did you ever ask the members of your synagogues if they agree with what you’re doing with their money?

Dovid NojowitzRabbi Dovid Nojowitz of Torah Umesorah – your name really hasn’t come up in the many articles in the media, blogs and Facebook pages that identify those whose religious organizations oppose the Child Victim’s Act. But it should.

According to the Torah Umesorah website, you are listed as the national director and your picture is at the very top of the organizational structure. Torah Umesorah signed a joint statement with Agudath Israel vehemently opposing the Child Victim’s Act.

Many of the large families that send their children to your schools face tuition bills of up to $18-$25,000 per year, per child to give their children a Torah education. Are these families so rich that that they don’t mind their tuition dollars going to your lobbying efforts to kill a bill that will PROTECT their children from child rapists?

Did you ever ask parents if this is what they want their tuition money spent on?

Rabbis Zwiebel and Nojowitz

Instead of killing the Child Victim’s Act, allow me to suggest a better use of your time, donations and tuition money:

 

  • Require every synagogue, school, yeshiva, summer camp and mikva to expel anyone from their institution that is believed to be a danger to children.

 

  • Require every employee of these institutions to report immediately to the police any suspicion that a child may be harmed, without first asking a rabbi’s permission to do so.

 

  • Publicize the name of every person known to be a danger to children so parents and employers can insure that these monsters don’t ever have access to the children in their care.

 

Perhaps if your institutions enacted these critical child safety rules that cost nothing to implement, you wouldn’t have to spend so much time and money lobbying with the Catholic Church to kill child protection legislation.

Eric Aiken is an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse and the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com

Agudath Israel and New York’s Child Victim’s Act

Rabbi David ZweibelRabbi David Zweibel, Executive Vice President, Agudath Israel of America.

212-797-9000 – dzwiebel@agudathisrael.org

Agudath Israel and New York’s Child Victim’s Act

For the 5th time in a decade, Agudath Israel rabbis led by the “Gedolim” are lobbying with the great moral leaders of our time, the Catholic Church, to try to defeat New York’s Child Victim’s Act. The Child Victim’s Act would eliminate the insanely short statute of limitations for child sex crimes and allow New York’s child sex predators to be prosecuted.

You can already see why Agudath Israel and the Catholic Church would be alarmed.

The outrageousness of their combined efforts is sickening. It is incredible to me that Agudah rabbis have little in common with Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist or even liberal Orthodox Jews, but they have lots in common with the Catholic Church.

To better understand Agudah, it’s important to examine who in the Catholic Church Agudah has decided to cozy up to. Cardinal Timothy Dolan (the guy wearing the cross – it’s hard to tell these guys apart by their moral positions on child sexual abuse) used to be the head of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

It has been estimated that the Milwaukee Diocese has had at least 8,000 child sex abuse victims who were preyed-upon by 100 priests. It was revealed that pedophile priests in Dolan’s Diocese were paid off to quietly leave the Diocese. No police, no warnings to parents, no therapy for the kids and most importantly to the Church, no money for its thousands of victims.

But the Church didn’t get away with it. The Milwaukee Diocese eventually went bankrupt due to huge settlement payments to the victims. It was later revealed that Dolan asked for and received Vatican approval to move $57 million dollars out of the Diocese bank account before victims could be paid.

Now that you know who the guy wearing the cross is sitting next to Rabbi Dovid Zweibel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel, we can better examine Agudath Israel’s shameful explanations as to why they need to spend so much time and energy fighting to kill the Child Victim’s Act.


Our concern is simply protecting the economic viability of Jewish schools. Yeshivas operate on shoestring budgets.” Rabbi Avi Shafran, Agudath Israel of America’s director of public affairs

JTA – May 2, 2016

Stated simply, legislation that would do away with the statute of limitations completely, even if only for a one-year period, could subject schools and other vital institutions to ancient claims and capricious litigation, and place their very existence in severe jeopardy.  Agudath Israel and Torah Umesorah most vigorously oppose any such legislation.”

Joint statement of Agudath Israel and Torah Umesorah, April 21, 2009


When I read these two statements, it appears that what Agudah is saying is that protecting Jewish schools and yeshivas are far more important than passing legislation that will protect the children who attend them.

Otherwise, the statements should have read:

“We will stop at nothing to protect our children from harm and sexual abuse. Even if that means that Jewish schools and yeshivas who for decades enabled abusers and ignored our children’s cries for help will have to pay for their negligence.”

Do you see the difference?


The second statement is also signed by Torah Umesorah.

This is truly scary.

Torah Umesorah has 760 Orthodox schools in its network educating 250,000 children across the U.S. If you have a child or grandchild, niece or nephew in an Orthodox school in the U.S., they are probably in a Torah Umesorah school.

Think about this – if you are a parent paying tuition to one of these schools, your money is funding a lobbying effort to keep in place laws that allow Orthodox men to sexually abuse Jewish children and never face prosecution. Did you know that this is what your child’s school is doing with your money? Are you O.K. with that?

You might want to have a chat with your school’s principal and ask them to stop spending your tuition money to endanger your child’s welfare.

The second statement from Agudath Israel and Torah Umesorah justifies their lobbying efforts because they don’t want to expose their schools to “ancient claims and capricious litigation”.

The phrase “ancient claims” implies that there is some kind of statute of limitations on criminal child sexual abuse in Torah law, by which victims lose their rights after an arbitrary number of years have passed since they were molested.

News flash to Rabbis Zweibel, Shafran and all the “gedolim” of Agudath Israel – JUDAISM DOESN’T HAVE A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS!


Rabbis – on what halachic basis do you assert that child sex abuse claims should ever be dismissed in the victim’s lifetime? Either the victim has proof and evidence of the crime or the claim gets thrown out. That’s how justice works.

What you’re doing is ignoring Torah law and denying justice to Orthodox victims in order to protect your precious schools and jobs.

 

What good are your schools and yeshivas if the children who get raped and sexually abused there leave Judaism in disgust, as many victims already have? Is this what you’re proud of and have dedicated your lives to? Do you think that God really wants you to protect a bunch of bricks at the expense of destroying Jewish kids’ souls?

Eric Aiken is an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse and the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com

Richard Joel and Yeshiva University

Richard Joel

Richard Joel, President of Yeshiva University – 212-960-5300  president@yu.edu


Yeshiva University is the premier Modern Orthodox rabbinical seminary in the world. Thousands of Y.U. students have become ordained rabbis through Y.U. Many of them lead prominent synagogues and Orthodox institutions.

Unfortunately, some Y.U. rabbis have a very long history of either failing to protect Orthodox children and adults, supporting convicted child sex predators, failing to defrock abusive rabbis and ignoring the please of victims for help, as will be shown below.

1) Y.U. was sued by 34 former students alleging that Rabbi George Finkelstein, Rabbi Macy Gordon and Rick Andron sexually abused them over the course of many years. The case was dismissed not due to lack of evidence or witnesses willing to testify, but on statute of limitations grounds.

A report commissioned by Y.U. at a reported cost of $2.5 million confirms that abuse took place in many Y.U. locations, by numerous individuals and over the course of many years.

The summary report states –

The Investigative Team has concluded that multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place at YUHSB during the relevant time period. This conduct was carried out by a number of individuals in positions of authority at the High Schools at various times throughout the period covered by the Investigation, including, in certain instances, after members of the administration had been made aware of such conduct. In addition, the Investigative Team found that, during the relevant time period, sexual and physical abuse took place at other schools comprising the University as well.”

The Y.U. lawsuit was thrown out due to New York’s disgracefully short statute of limitations (courtesy of the Catholic Church and Agudath Israel).

In Judaism, there is no such thing as a statute of limitations. Criminal acts are never forgiven without the offender begging forgiveness from each and every victim and fully compensating the victims for their lifetime of pain, therapy and the damage that they suffered.

Ironically, the world’s most prominent Modern Orthodox rabbinical seminary uses secular law to skirt the Torah and Jewish values because of a statute of limitations that Torah law does not recognize.

Despite Y.U.’s own damning report –

  • No one was fired over the scandal.
  • Victims, to my knowledge, have not been compensated for the harm they suffered.
  • Y.U. does not publicly identify the molesters.
  • Y.U. will not name the rabbis and officials who covered up the abuse.

Former Chancellor Rabbi Norman Lamm has publicly admitted that he allowed Y.U. molesters to be hired by other Jewish institutions and he did not warn them.

Contrast Y.U.’s rabbis’ actions with an entirely secular university that had a similar sex abuse scandal – Penn State. In the Jerry Sandusky case, university officials lost their jobs, Penn State was severely sanctioned and Sandusky went to jail for at least 30 years for the sexual abuse of students that went on for years. Penn State has already paid $60 million in compensation to 26 victims and may pay more.

Instead of hiding behind its lawyers, it’s time that Y.U. displays humility, compassion, leadership and a commitment to adhering to Torah law.

  • Y.U. needs to reach out to each and every victim, apologize, beg their forgiveness and amply compensate them for their lifetime of suffering.
  • In addition, Y.U. needs to publicly identify every person it believes to be a sex offender and warn the communities in which the offender lives and works about him.

2) After Y.U. president Richard Joel made 2 public declarations that Y.U. was safe, Y.U. hired a convicted child sex offender, Akiva Roth, to teach Hebrew.

3) Rabbi Matis Weinberg was alleged to have abused numerous Y.U. students in Israel. Y.U. terminated its study abroad program in 2003 because of Weinberg but does not say what Weinberg is believed to have done to Y.U. students. I personally warned Y.U. rabbis about Weinberg 22 years prior to these events. They knew of abuse allegations against Weinberg for decades and yet Y.U. students were still sent to a yeshiva where Weinberg had access them.

4) Rabbi Marc Gafni was once a Y.U. rabbinical student and he also ran a teen outreach program from a Y.U. office. He has publicly admitted to having sexual relations with Sara Kabakov when she was 13. She alleges that she told several Y.U.-ordained rabbis about Gafni and that they either ignored her or defended Gafni.

Judy Mitzner alleges that she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Gafni when she was a minor. She claims that she reported the abuse to Y.U. and that nobody did anything to protect her or stop Gafni.

“So, what is wrong here? Why did Yeshiva University (who heard my story at the time directly from me, and stories from others) permit Mordechai Winiarz (aka Marc Gafni) to continue his employ as the director of the then Jewish Public School Youth Movement?”

(From Judy Mitzner’s blog)

5) Rabbi Baruch Lanner is a former Jewish school principal and youth group leader. He is also a convicted child sex offender who was protected for years by Y.U.-ordained rabbis. Even after he served 6 years in jail, he was allegedly welcomed into the home and synagogue of Y.U.’s high school principal, Rabbi Michael Taubes.

6) Evan Zauder is a convicted child sex offender who was a rabbinical student at Y.U. Before his sentencing (he received 13 years), 50 individuals sent letters to the judge requesting leniency for Zauder.

Some of the letters were sent from prominent Y.U. staff including:

Rabbi Ezra Schwartz, Rosh Yeshiva of RIETS;

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Vice President of university and community life;

Dr. David Pelcovitz, professor of psychology and special assistant to Y.U. president, Richard Joel.

Letters were also sent to the judge by prominent rabbis including:

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Congregation Bnei Yeshurun of Teaneck, New Jersey;

Rabbi Reuven Taragin, Dean Yeshivat HaKotel (Rabbi Mordechai Elon, Yeshivat Hakotel’s former Rosh Yeshiva, was convicted of child molestation);

Rabbi Baruch Taub, Rabbi Emeritus of Beth Avraham Yosef of Toronto Congregation.

No one sent letters to the judge voicing support for Zauder’s victims or advocating for a jail term commensurate with Zauder’s crime. Nothing tells victims of Orthodox child sex offenders that rabbis don’t give a damn about them like the Evan Zauder case.

7) Rabbi Barry Freundel is a world-renowned, Y.U.-ordained rabbi. He was also my rabbi in Washington, D.C. Freundel is currently serving a 6 1/2 year sentence after being caught secretly video-recording 150 women over the course of several years as they undressed to go into one of the most sacred places in Judaism – the women’s mikva (ritual bath).

I can’t think of one rabbi who has done more to damage and traumatize thousands of Orthodox women around the world than Freundel. There are women who refused to use the mikva (causing tremendous marital strife) after reading about Freundel’s disgusting betrayal of his rabbinic power. Women Freundel converted publicly questioned whether they even wanted to remain Jewish anymore.

Yet Y.U., to my knowledge, has not revoked his ordination. For that matter, I am not aware of any rabbi who has sexually abused women or children who has had their ordination revoked by Y.U.

Even the Catholic Church, as horrible as they have been (and still are) in protecting molesters, defrocks molester priests. In a recent 10-year period, the Catholic Church defrocked 848 molester priests and censured another 2,500. I have never heard of a single rabbi, anywhere, whose ordination was revoked due to him being a sexual predator.


Y.U. President Richard Joel, the $2.8 million man

According to The Jewish Forward, Richard Joel, Yeshiva University’s president, reportedly told a man who complained to him that he was molested at Y.U., “[I] told him to get on with his life…”

Also, according to The Jewish Forward, in 2014 (the year that the Y.U. lawsuit was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds), Richard Joel received a compensation package of $2.8 million. This made him by far the highest paid executive of any Jewish non-profit. His previous year’s salary was $900,000. Also in 2014, Y.U. ran a deficit of $150 million. Nice work if you can get it.

Eric Aiken is an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse and the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com

Letter to Rabbi Mark Dratch of the Rabbinical Council of America

An open letter to Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America from Eric Aiken

Dear Rabbi Dratch,

 

I write this letter to you out of great concern for what I perceive to be a lack of any meaningful action on the part of the RCA to protect Orthodox children from the plague of sexual abuse. The RCA is the largest Orthodox rabbinical organization in the world with over 1,000 members in 18 countries. It has close ties to Yeshiva University, the Orthodox Union, the Beis Din of America, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Conference of European Rabbis.

With the RCA’s enormous power and influence comes a concomitant responsibility to protect Orthodox children and support the survivors of sexual abuse in ways that have never been done before.

I tried to address this issue with you when I drafted an email that was sent to you in November of 2015. In it, I asked you to consider doing 3 specific things to protect Orthodox kids. Unfortunately, you would not commit to doing any of them.

1) Implement and enforce the 4 separate sets of child protection resolutions that the RCA has adopted over the last 23 years.

I am not aware of a single rabbi or Orthodox institution that has implemented these important child safety procedures.

The RCA doesn’t even have a list of its own child protection rules on its website. It took me half a day of reviewing every RCA resolution for the last 50 years just to find these 4 sets of child protection resolutions.

How is an RCA rabbi who wants to protect children from sexual abuse supposed to have any guidance on this topic when the RCA doesn’t even publish a guideline for its members?

2) Endorse my website which publicizes the names of hundreds of Orthodox child molesters.

Three years ago, the RCA called for using a sex offender registry to identify child sex predators. To date, as far as I am aware, the RCA has not done anything to establish such a registry. You told me that exposing convicted child molesters is a “no-brainer”, yet the RCA will not publish such a database nor will they endorse mine.

3) Require all RCA rabbis to publicly pledge to ban anyone convicted of a child sex crime from attending their synagogues.

It is beyond comprehension that rabbis allow known and convicted child molesters to frequent synagogues and attend Jewish communal activities where children are present. There can no longer be any tolerance for such reckless and irresponsible behavior from our religious leaders.

These are serious issues that I believe that the RCA is not adequately addressing.

Moreover, the RCA has adopted the following important resolutions which I believe are largely ignored by many RCA members and Orthodox institutions, especially Yeshiva University:

Schools, synagogues and youth organizations to adopt policies which mandate the dismissal of abusive teachers and child care workers from their positions, and the notification of future potential employers of the circumstances of their dismissal.”
Excerpt from the RCA resolution (6-1-1993) titled “Physical and sexual abuse of children.”

Incredibly, 23 years after this child protection resolution was adopted by the largest Orthodox rabbinical organization in the world, there is still not:

  • A single rabbi or Orthodox institution that I am aware of that will publicize the names of known Orthodox child molesters and rapists even though hundreds of these child sex predators’ identities are a matter of public record.
  • A system in place to notify future potential employers of the identity of known Orthodox child molesters and rapists.

Another example:

The RCA will regularly issue on its website and to the media appropriate statements of condemnation when public attention is drawn to a case in which Jews are either victims or perpetrators of abuse.”
RCA resolution 4-27-10

I have on my website close to 250 publicly disclosed arrests and/or convictions of Orthodox Jews and rabbis for child sex crimes. They have been variously convicted of raping, sodomizing, beating, starving, burning, abusing and drugging Orthodox children in Jewish communities throughout the world. The RCA has only commented on 3 of these cases and those cases are from Orthodox factions that have little to do with the RCA community.

On its website, the RCA does not condemn by name the rabbis who cover up and protect Orthodox child rapists and molesters. There is no public warning to parents, employers, schools, yeshivas, summer camps and synagogues about the hundreds of Orthodox child sex predators who live in their communities.

Throw abusive rabbis out of the rabbinate!

 

Rabbi Dratch, 10 years ago you ran jsafe.org (now defunct), in which you were a staunch advocate for the protection of Jewish children from sexual abuse. You wrote dozens of meticulously-sourced, scholarly articles arguing for instituting many reforms needed to protect Jewish children from sexual abuse.

On July 24, 2006 you call for defrocking and excommunicating abusive rabbis.

You begin your article by writing:

There are rabbis who should not be rabbis.”

Later you write:

The Code of Jewish Law goes a step further and records that a scholar, who is rumored to be involved in heresy or immoral behavior, such that he causes a desecration of God’s Name, is to be excommunicated. Such a person certainly is no longer considered a rabbi.”

However, there are at least 150 rabbis who are known to have committed either sex crimes against children or to have violated the wives of their congregants, yet they have not been excommunicated and they still retain the honorable title of rabbi.

Even the Catholic Church, with its deplorable many decades-long history of protecting pedophile priests, nevertheless is willing to defrock them. In a recent 10-year period, the Catholic Church has defrocked nearly 900 pedophile priests and censured another 2,500 of them.

Rabbi Barry Freundel is the former head of the RCA’s conversion committee. He is currently serving a 6 ½ year jail sentence after being caught over the course of several years secretly video-recording 150 women undressing as they entered the mikva.

I can’t think of a rabbi who has traumatized more women, caused more of them to refuse to go to the mikva or to abandon Judaism than Freundel. Yet as far as I know, he has not been excommunicated and is still a rabbi.

Why?

The Child Victim’s Act

As you may be aware, for the 5th time in a decade, the New York legislature will consider eliminating their disgraceful statute of limitations for child sex crimes. This would allow child rapists and sex predators to be prosecuted for their monstrous crimes against children. The first 4 times this legislation was brought up, the bill was defeated by the holy clergy of the Catholic Church and Agudath Israel of America.

Rabbi Dratch, where exactly do you and the RCA stand on this issue? We need to hear from you loudly and publicly if you support the Catholic Church’s relentless efforts to prevent child molesters from being prosecuted or if you stand with defenseless Jewish children instead.

Will you urge your 1,000-member rabbis to sign the Change.org petition to stop Agudath Israel from trying to defeat the Child Victim’s Act yet again? Will you urge your members to email the petition to all of their congregants and sign it? Will you lobby New York legislators to pass the Child Victim’s Act?

Or will you and the RCA do nothing and remain silent?

To prevent the incessant child sexual abuse in Orthodox communities worldwide, we need leaders who lead. We need action. We need rabbis who will stop at nothing to protect our vulnerable children.

 

What we don’t need any more is the abandonment and silencing of abuse survivors, the protection of molesters, the denial that we have a problem, the toothless resolutions or the righteous-sounding press releases.

To quote the last line of your essay titled “Few Are Guilty, but All Are Responsible: The Obligations to Help Survivors of Abuse” of January 10, 2007:

The time for foolishness is over. All are responsible.”

Yes they are, Rabbi Dratch.

Eric Aiken is an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse and the owner of www.protectjewishkids.com

 

 

Rabbi Hershel Schacter of Yeshiva University


Rabbi Hershel Schachter Rabbi Hershel Schacter – Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University

A top rabbinic dean of Yeshiva University has warned rabbis about the dangers of reporting child sex abuse allegations to the police because it could result in a Jew being jailed with a black inmate, or as he put it, “a shvartze,” who might want to kill him.”

Rabbi Hershel Schachter, one of the most respected faculty members of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, also said that children can lie and ruin an innocent man’s life.”

(Regarding alleged molesters at Y.U.,) “Schachter told the New York Times, in December, that in addition to Finkelstein and Gordon he knew of another staff member who had been let go for similar reasons. He has never revealed the name of that member of staff.”
The Jewish Forward – 3-14-13


An open letter to Rabbi Hershel Schachter

Dear Rabbi Schachter,

Please allow me to inform you that, statistically speaking, children almost never lie about being sexually abused. Seven year-old Orthodox kids, with no sex education, would have no ability to be able to describe accurately and in detail how they were sexually violated if the violation didn’t occur.

Furthermore, Orthodox children have no incentive to lie about abuse when they know that they can be (and usually are) severely punished for saying bad things about their rabbi, teacher, principal or father.

Your assertion that children can lie and destroy an innocent man’s life is ill-informed. Usually, it’s the other way around. Rabbis can, and do, destroy many innocent children’s lives by accusing them of being liars, by protecting their molesters and by punishing and publicly humiliating child victims for speaking the truth.

Unlike rabbinical courts that almost always whitewash Orthodox child molester’s crimes against Orthodox kids, we live in a nation with an independent judiciary and rules of law. America has a robust judicial system that gives every opportunity to exonerate the accused. If the evidence isn’t compelling, the accused goes free.

Instead of warning rabbis about the dangers of reporting Orthodox molesters to the police, why don’t you allow the police to do their jobs? Unlike rabbis and rabbinical courts, the police are staffed with highly experienced, qualified detectives who know how to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse. Why don’t you warn rabbis about the dangers of NOT reporting molesters to the police?

One last thing – please publicly name everyone that you know who is an Orthodox child molester. Parents and employers cannot protect the children in their care if rabbis cover up and conceal the identities of Orthodox child sex predators.

Eric Aiken is an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse and the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com

Corrupt local district attorneys

Charges have been leveled at the Brooklyn, Rockland County, Orange County and Ocean County district attorneys for years that they fail to vigorously investigate and prosecute cases of child sexual abuse in the Orthodox community. The claim is that this is due to the intense pressure put upon them by rabbis to cover up these rampant crimes. For years, advocates have suggested that rabbis who control the bloc vote of thousands of their followers demand that district attorneys bury child sexual abuse cases in return for their followers’ votes.

There was some hope a few years ago that when Brooklyn’s notorious former D.A., Charles Hynes, was replaced by Ken Thompson, that victims and their advocates would finally see the end to the cover-ups. Unfortunately, despite his campaign pledges, Thompson has proven to be no different than Hynes.

Please see my page “Corrupt Brooklyn D.A.” on my website, www.protectjewishkids.com . I explain in more detail about the extreme lengths the Brooklyn D.A goes to in order to prevent the public from discovering the identity of convicted Orthodox child molesters.

  • To my knowledge, neither the Brooklyn, Rockland County, Orange County or Ocean County, NJ district attorneys have ever prosecuted a single rabbi for protecting child molesters or encouraging others to threaten or bribe Orthodox victims not to testify against their abuser. In New Jersey, it is against the law for any adult who has even a suspicion (proof is not needed) that a child has been abused to conceal that information and not report it to child protective services.
  • Many Orthodox victims assert that they were threatened to prevent them from testifying against their Orthodox molester. Most victims refuse to testify after receiving these threats. This witness intimidation cannot occur without the tacit, if not explicit, approval of the rabbis that control Orthodox communities. With only two exceptions that I can find, no one involved in witness intimidation has ever been prosecuted by the D.A.’s.
  • To this day, I cannot track over a dozen cases of Orthodox child molesters in Brooklyn because Ken Thompson’s office seals these cases. The result of these disgraceful cover-ups by Thompson’s office is that parents, employers and advocates are prevented from discovering the identity of convicted Orthodox child molesters that may be in contact with children.
  • It’s not like D.A.’s aren’t aware that Orthodox victim witnesses are coerced and threatened not to testify against their abuser. Both the Brooklyn and Rockland County D.A.’s have publicly acknowledged years ago that Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse are threatened not to testify against their Orthodox abusers, yet the D.A.’s do nothing to stop it.
  • The D.A.’s have proven over the course of decades that they will do nothing to protect victims from the onslaught of further abuse that victims regularly receive. Victims and their families are publicly shamed, humiliated and punished by their rabbis, friends, neighbors and Orthodox community members because they spoke the truth about their abuser. Frequently, the abuser is a prominent rabbi.

In an investigation that I conducted last year, I looked at dozens of convictions of Orthodox child sex predators that were prosecuted by the Brooklyn D.A. and compared them to Federal convictions of Orthodox child molesters. The contrast was shocking.

Every Federal case resulted in jail time for the molester, usually for years. However, 50% of the convictions by the Brooklyn D.A. resulted in probation. Another 30% were sentenced to jail time of less than 2 years. With time off for good behavior, most of these child sex predators will only spend a few months in jail.

 

Eric Aiken is the owner of the website www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child sex predators.