RAIDS MAY BE LINKED TO LEAKED VIDEOS OF RABBI MOSHE HERSH KLEIN AND YESHIVA STUDENTS
The following is a report from ABC News regarding the raids in Kiryas Joel. That is followed by another, a report in Lohud and a link to the corresponding television report. The television report can be viewed by clicking here.
From our perspective, what is so striking about the news reports are the denials of the community that the videos implicated the Rabbi Moshe Hersh Klein in wrongdoing. Someone in that community felt the necessity to place cameras above Klein’s desk. We would argue that there are likely hundreds of cases of abuse at the hands of Klein and probably many other videos.
Those children’s lives, his victims’ lives, will be forever tarnished by this Rabbi. The parents who entrust their children in his care are doing a disservice to their children.
The video of the Rabbi and the child can be seen on a previous article we posted. Click here for a link. We did not post the longer version nor did we post the second video. Somehow they felt like a form a voyeurism that we could not stomach.
May 12, 2016
FBI agents seize documents in Hudson Valley Hasidic community
FBI agents conducted a raid Thursday in the Orange County community of Kiryas Joel.
They searched a yeshiva where a principal was caught on camera in what appeared to be some sort of intimate encounter with a student.
Authorities executed search warrants at the United Talmudical Academy, the yeshiva where a principal was caught on tape in close physical contact with young boys, though it is not known if the search warrants are related to the principal’s activities.
The clips show a young boy being held close by one of the principals at United Talmudical Academy, one of the yeshivas in the village.
The UTA’s board of directors says the child was sent to the office for behavioral issues and that, while disturbing, is not evidence of abuse.
No comment from investigators, but UTA and several yeshivas have been in the feds’ sights for months.
In March, a series of raids in Ramapo were carried out amid questions whether federal money earmarked for technology was being misused.
As for the videos, many in the community are coming to the defense of the rabbi.
“He’s been a very, very wonderful rabbi,” said one woman. “No complaints on him, my husband even learned from him and he’s a wonderful person. I think this whole thing is a fake.”
The only comment from the FBI is that this is part of an ongoing investigation, and that there have been no arrests or charges filed as of yet.
United Talmudical Academy of Kiryas Joel put out a statement earlier this week saying that the behavior caught on tape does not constitute a “criminal assault.”
“In these videos, the school principal is seen embracing the students who were sent to his office for behavioral issues,” it read. “While this type of restraint may be unacceptable to some viewers, it in no way rises to the level of a criminal assault.”
The statement called the principal a respected rabbi for more than 30 years with an “unblemished professional record as an educator.”
KIRYAS JOEL – FBI agents and other law enforcement officials are conducting a number of raids across this ultra-Orthodox village Thursday, including at a property run by the United Talmudical Academy.
Outside that four-story brick yeshiva, at 16A Getzil Berger Blvd., a Journal News reporter observed at least seven law enforcement officials — most wearing FBI jackets — carrying items out of the building. Authorities left the scene about 1:20 p.m.
An Orange County Sheriff’s patrol car could also be seen blocking the entrance to the Kiryas Joel Public Safety building on Forest Road as FBI agents investigated inside.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office and an FBI spokeswoman had no comment Thursday.
Orange County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Hamill called it an FBI investigation, referring questions to that agency. He said sheriff’s deputies provided assistance to the FBI. Sullivan County District Attorney’s office investigators were also seen at the public safety center.
The raids come a week after two videos surfaced on the Internet said to show a principal at the United Talmudical Academy in close physical contact with young boys, prompting a state police investigation.
The school on Tuesday issued a statement defending him and denying that any abuse occurred. It said the videos have been mischaracterized by the media and critics of the Hasidic community.
A spokesman for the primarily Satmar Hasidic village, Ari Felberman, has not returned calls, and a receptionist at the village offices said he was not available.
Wolf Gluck, a UTA administrator, has not responded to any inquiries from The Journal News since the videos were posted online last week.
As word spread through the village about the raids, residents said they had no idea about the details.
One shopper at the main strip mall on Forest Road, Billy Fried, said he had not heard about them but would be surprised if they had to do with the videos, which he had heard about but had not seen.
“I know (the principal) for 40 years. He’s a very warm, honest, upstanding gentleman,” Fried said. “My kids who had him as a teacher say the same thing. I would bet a million dollars on this man.”
Search warrants were previously executed by federal and local authorities in mid-March at ultra-Orthodox yeshivas in Rockland County and several locations in Kiryas Joel targeting possible misuse of federal “e-rate” technology funding by religious schools. A grand jury continues to meet in that case.
A separate or related probe that led to searches in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that same day was possibly targeting school lunch program spending, according to a report in The Forward.