East Brunswick rabbi paid for sex with teen, prosecutor says New Jersey 101.5 February 18, 2018: Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, 35, has been charged with one count of engaging in prostitution with a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey. According to Carey […]
Members of Jewish community Adass Israel investigated over accused principal’s escape
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: When the principal of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school fled to Israel in the middle of the night, the students she was alleged to have abused were devastated.
That was nine years ago and Malka Leifer is still evading justice.
This afternoon Victoria Police confirmed it is investigating members of the Melbourne community who assisted her escape.
Reporter Louise Milligan met one of Leifer’s victims, who today landed in Israel to campaign for her extradition.
(Footage of Dassi Erlich with a friend at a cafe in Elsternwick, Melbourne)
DASSI ERLICH: I haven’t had any coffee yet today. (Laughs)
LOUISE MILLIGAN, REPORTER: It seems like a pretty ordinary scene: a 30-year-old woman out for coffee with her friend.
DASSI ERLICH: How old is Kes now?
DASSI ERLICH: Twenty. Yeah…
LOUISE MILLIGAN: But even though she has spent her entire life in this neighbourhood, for most of that time Dassi Erlich was strictly forbidden from doing anything as simple as this.
DASSI ERLICH: I didn’t know how to really exist in the outside world. I didn’t know how to do kind of the normal, everyday things that everybody else does outside of the community.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Dassi grew up in the tiny Jewish community, Adass Israel, here in Melbourne’s Ripponlea.
DASSI ERLICH: We didn’t grow up with any TV or that type of stuff. So, yeah. Just going to the cinema and watching a movie: that’s not something I had ever done before.
NICK MAZZEO, LAWYER: The Adass community is an ultra-Orthodox community, so it’s a very closed community. It involves about 200 families.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Dassi’s sheltered existence extended to the classroom. She went here, to the Adass Israel Girls’ School.
DASSI ERLICH: That’s all I knew. That was, you know, growing up and going to school and learning how to be a good Jewish mother; learning Jewish studies. That was my life.
Leaving school: I think I left school with a year seven maths and a year seven English.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Young Dassi was incredibly isolated and naive and was also struggling with a difficult family life – which made her a perfect target for school principal Malka Leifer.
DASSI ERLICH: Malka Leifer: she knew that I came from an abusive household. And she approached me with the intention of a person of support: someone that could help out with what was going on at home; someone that could listen and care.
And over time she molested and then raped me.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Two of her sisters were also allegedly targeted by Leifer.
DASSI ERLICH: There was no-one to tell. There was literally no-one to tell.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Did you know it was wrong?
DASSI ERLICH: On some level I knew it was wrong. I couldn’t – at the time I couldn’t state why it was wrong, because I didn’t have the words for it. But definitely it felt wrong.
NICK MAZZEO: The abuse was horrific and included penetration.
It’s a credit to her that she’s able to continue day by day and get through this trauma that she’s gone through.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Dassi was married off into the community while still a teenager, but the trauma resurfaced when she had a baby.
(Photograph of Dassi Erlich and her child at the beach)
LOUISE MILLIGAN: The day after this photo was taken, she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
DASSI ERLICH: I was quite suicidal and I was self-harming.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Dassi told a psychologist about the abuse and later, while in hospital, reported to Victoria Police.
The Adass Israel School learned about Dassi’s complaint to a psychologist. In the heat of the moment, they made a very poor decision about what to do about Malka Leifer.
NICK MAZZEO: A meeting was held and – we’re talking within hours – airline tickets were booked and Leifer, along with her husband and children: they were flown out of the country to Israel.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: What does that say to you?
NICK MAZZEO: It’s disgraceful that people, knowing that a crime had been committed, would take those steps to remove someone from the jurisdiction.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: There are thought to be up to 15 alleged victims. Victoria Police eventually laid 74 charges against Malka Leifer.
But Dassi Erlich was treated as a traitor to her community and her parents.
DASSI ERLICH: By going forward to the police, my reputation was shot. So I left the community.
TED BAILLIEU, FORMER VICTORIAN PREMIER: She’s been through terrible times. To think she’s been abused by her principal, she’s been shunned by her community and she’s been chopped out by her own parents.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Forced to seek a new life, Dassi sued the school board and in 2015 Supreme Court justice Jack Rush awarded her $1.2 million: the largest Victorian damages payout to a victim of institutional abuse.
The judge said:
NICK MAZZEO: That the school’s conduct was “deplorable,” “disgraceful.” They are just a few of the words the he used.
He was very scathing of the way that the school conducted the case. There’s no doubt about that.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Leifer, meanwhile, is still in Israel. She has fought extradition, arguing she is too mentally unwell to face trial in Australia.
DASSI ERLICH: Malka Leifer is living a free life in Israel. She has absolutely no restrictions on her movement. She can go and come as she pleases.
(Dassi Erlich and her sister Elly meet Ted Baillieu in a Melbourne side street)
LOUISE MILLIGAN: So Dassi Erlich has embarked on a campaign to press Israel to extradite her former principal.
TED BAILLIEU: Hello.
DASSI ERLICH: Hi.
TED BAILLIEU: How are you, Dassi?
DASSI ERLICH: Good.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: She has some formidable supporters, like former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu.
TED BAILLIEU: I said to her, “Dassi, I’m happy to stand beside you on any public platform you like.” I said it a number of times and she took me up on it. And I’m very pleased to be able to help her.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Last month Mr Baillieu accompanied Dassi and her sister Elly, also a Leifer victim, to a meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Prime Minister has today indicated he will raise the case with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
MALCOLM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER: What I’ll say is that justice demands that she be brought back to Australia to answer the charges.
LOUISE MILLIGAN: Dassi Erlich has been negotiating for some time with the new Adass Israel School board to get a public apology to her and the other alleged victims of Malka Leifer.
The school had promised a lengthy statement to 7.30 today, but it never arrived.
Victoria Police this afternoon confirmed it is still investigating some members of the Adass community who helped Malka Leifer flee Australia nine years ago, in the middle of the night.
Dassi Erlich is taking her plea direct to the Israeli Government. Late yesterday she flew to Israel with her sisters.
For now, Malka Leifer remains protected inside a closed ultra-Orthodox community in central Israel.
DASSI ERLICH: I want to achieve justice. I want to ensure as well that there is awareness in Israel about this case, because Malka Leifer is living in a community around people that are as naive and as ignorant of these kind of issues as I was when I was growing up.
And if I can do anything to ensure that what happened to me doesn’t happen to anybody else, that’s definitely a big goal of mine.
Last night Israeli Channel 2 broadcasted another horrifying story from Bnei Brak, where a number of parents believe that one of the teachers has been sexually abusing their children for a several years. When approached, the principal confirmed that the suspect “strokes children – it’s true, no doubt about it.”
Nevertheless, the parents are frightened to take the matter further. Unfortunately, due to the culture of silence in their community, not one of these parents has so far been willing to approach the police to make a formal complaint.
One parent was recorded anonymously. He told how, “My wife said to me, ‘Don’t do it. You’ll pay a heavy price. Why are you getting involved in this story?’”
“Three years now L is raping children and everybody’s silent! Is this Torah education?!” the parent added.
Racheli Roshgold of Lo Tishtok, an NGO which combats sexual violence in the Haredi community, said, “I have personally witnessed the absolute fear that reigns within this Chassidic sect. More people were in touch with me, but they adamantly refuse to be revealed, they’re not willing to go to the police, despite my attempts to persuade them. And they also explain with great pain why they are unable to speak to the police.”
The voice of another parent with a child in the school was also broadcast anonymously: “There’s nothing we can do, we’re frightened, we have nowhere else to send the children, if not this school. And they threatened us that if we go to the police or co-operate with the investigations, then they’ll kick us out of the system.”
You can watch the full report in Hebrew here.
Rabbi charged with rape, sexual assault, sodomy against a minor
|By JEREMY SHARON
In an indictment sheet of horrifying allegations, Rabbi David Harrison, who taught at the Beit Shulamit religious girls high school in Jerusalem, was charged with dozens of counts of rape, sodomy, sexual assault, assault and intimidation through threats against a former pupil, who was a minor at the time.
The complainant, a woman now aged 21, filed a charge of rape and other allegations against the rabbi at the beginning of the month claiming that they took place over a period of several months when she was 14.
Harrison has spent his career as a teacher and educator, and has also worked extensively performing wedding ceremonies for couples without a personal connection to a rabbi. Harrison began work at Beit Shulamit, in the Ramot neighborhood, as a part-time teacher in September 2007 but was fired in June 2010.
According to the indictment, Harrison, now 58, initiated direct contact with the complainant in December 2009, after he was her substitute teacher at Beit Shulamit.
A few days later, he met the pupil close to her classroom and asked her to accompany him to a staff room where he gave her worksheets to hand out to another class.
On this and several other occasions, Harrison allegedly touched the student on her hand, arm, stomach and chest, but apologized immediately for having touched her.
At a later stage, Harrison allegedly called the pupil to the same staff room used specifically by the rabbis of the school and which could be locked from the inside.
When she entered, Harrison allegedly locked the door behind her and told her to sit down, whereupon he took off his pants and underwear, and forced her to perform oral sex, while telling her that it was all right because he was a rabbi, that it was a secret between them and threatening to harm her if she told anyone.
In the next incident after this assault, Harrison allegedly met the girl at the entrance to the school and told her to come with him to a bomb shelter in the building, divided into two rooms. According to the indictment he pushed her into the inner room of the shelter, and told her to undress, slapping her in the face when he told her she was undressing too slowly.
He then hit her again, forced her to lie on a table in the room and then raped her. Afterwards he told her that she’d had fun, and that so had he, and that she had been a good girl. He again threatened to harm her and that he would tell everyone she was a prostitute if she spoke with anyone about what he had done.
According to the charge sheet, Harrison raped the girl between two and four times a week, including sodomy. On one occasion the day after he raped her, he forced her to swallow an emergency contraception or “morning after” pill.
During May 2010, the complainant was ill and was away from school. When she returned, Harrison allegedly ordered her to meet him in the shelter and scolded her for having been away without informing him.
He then allegedly ordered her to strip and beat her for several minutes, and then raped her once again.
The beatings occurred on other occasions as well, in which Harrison would kick the pupil, beat her with his belt, and in one incident threw a chair at her, bruising and scratching her.
Harrison would allegedly repeatedly threaten to harm her if she did not do as he instructed, and threatened to tell her parents and others that she had initiated sex with him and that they would believe him and not her because he was a rabbi.
He also threatened that he would have her expelled from school, that no other schools would accept her, and threatened to send other people to harm her and even kill her.
The state has requested that Harrison be incarcerated until the end of the legal proceedings against him.
The director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, Orit Sulitzeanu, described the allegations as “outrageous and terrifying” and said that such crimes required a severe punishment.
“This criminal exploitation by an educator and religious figure is unforgivable,” said Sulitzeanu.
“This incident demonstrates the urgent need to ensure that advisers are placed in all educational frameworks who will be able to identify and deal with sexual violence, and for pupils to attend workshops for the prevention of sexual violence.”
Harrison denies the allegations against him and says he does not even know the woman.
Report: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish School Promised $2.1 Million To Quiet Allegations It Protected A Child Molester
A prominent ultra-Orthodox Jewish school has reached secret settlements worth $2.1 million with two former students who accused their teacher of molesting them, the New York Post reports. The students were two of several who have accused the man, Rabbi Joel “Yehuda” Kolko, of sexually abusing them, dating back to the 1970s. Experts the tabloid consulted said that this is the first known settlement to come out of child molestation cases in the city’s Haredi Jewish enclaves.
The settlements came to light because the school, Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Kensington, allegedly failed to pay $1 million of the total promised, leading the alleged victims to sue.
The accusers’ lawsuits claimed that the yeshiva has received credible allegations that Kolko was molesting students going back 25 years, but allowed him to retain his role as an elementary school teacher and failed to report the allegations to the police. Rabbis at the school investigated claims of Kolko’s abuse in 1985 and found him innocent, according to a decision obtained by the blog Failed Messiah. In addition to five who sued, at least four other alleged victims have come forward since 2005, The Jewish Week reported, but their cases were beyond the statute of limitations for bringing civil or criminal suits. A lawyer for victims told New York magazine that as many as 20 people had contacted him saying Kolko had abused them.
Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes reached a sweetheart plea deal with Kolko in 2012 related to the accusations of two alleged victims. The deal allowed Kolko to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and avoid jail time. Hynes’s office claimed that the parents wouldn’t allow the boys to testify, but the parents said that was a lie, and that they were shocked by the deal.
Hynes’s office also dismissed claims of witness tampering by the yeshiva and its supporters, including threatening phone calls the father of an alleged victim said traced back to the school, and a lawyer for the school allegedly contacting the victim’s therapist and asking the therapist to pressure the family. The lawyer denied the claim, which the therapist memorialized in a sworn affidavit.
The settlements are a positive step for victims in ultra-Orthodox communities, where going to the secular authorities with claims against fellow Jews can be considered sinful, according to one authority on the subject.
“If word gets out, other schools will think twice if they hear about abuse,” Rabbi Yosef Blau, spiritual adviser to Yeshiva University and victim rights advocate, told the Post.
Victims seeking recourse in the criminal justice system currently must do so before the age of 23, or 21 if implicating an institution, according to New York’s statute of limitations. A bill currently before the state legislature seeks to extend the statute.
To read the article in its entirety click, here.
DEAR MR. FELDMAN…. OUR RESPONSE…
We have a feeling that Mr. Feldman is trying to bait us into a new excuse to add to his repertoire of lawsuits. Those lawsuits are lining his pockets. They are not going to children damaged by the Chabad Lubavitch community. He has already said that.
We are writing this disclaimer so that it is clear that this is an OPINION based upon his own responses to questions we asked and his refusal to respond to others. Everything we post here a counterpoint to his directly made points.
In the event that Mr. Feldman wants to claim that what follows were not made by him, or in case he decides to remove them, we have copies of Mr. Feldman’s own emails which come with every post. If this is not the REAL Yosef Feldman then let it be very clear, that our counterpoints are relevant regardless. His name could have been John Doe and it would not matter. The statements are a unique example of the representations by the Chabad Lubavitch community through a “spokesman” of sorts.
What follows under LM are our OPINIONS of Mr. Feldman’s own responses. He would have been quite wise to waddle off into the Australian sunset but he did not. He responded last night and it is to that we make our remarks.
As a general matter, Mr. Feldman’s responses to our questions which he promised to answer, say more in what he does not type than in what he does. They reflect a level of hypocrisy and speak to every single criticism we and others have had of the Chabad Lubavitch community. They reflect the community’s beliefs that rape and molestation are a matter of semantics, that a serial rapist can even give Teshuva enough to help the nightmarish dreams that each victim undoubtedly suffers every night, that Smicha is to be taken lightly, that the Chabad community and frankly Yosef Feldman should not be accountable for their collective misdeeds because, well… those misdeeds are not as they appear. They are not RELEVANT.
LostMessiah, August 2, 2016
YOSEF FELDMAN AND LM: Point and Counterpoint….
I just noticed your last comment.
I said that I’ll answer RELEVANT questions…
LM: The word “Relevant” provides you and your community the opportunity to creatively dodge questions that make you uncomfortable. The issue here is that by not answering the questions, you have answered them entirely and given them significant “relevance”. The conclusions to be drawn are quite honestly that your community makes its own rules and lives by its own laws. By not responding, you are simply confirming. You are permitting the default response and are anything but transparent. You are certainly nothing if not predictable.
I answered all the relevant questions and I also explained why the first two weren’t relevant.
LM: They were very relevant. Your explanation is a poor excuse for a response and an affirmation that what is happening is unKosher.
Re the further questions I don’t think there’s any misunderstanding by anyone re what constitutes rape and molestation. The only exception with regard to touching genitals is if it’s clearly not of a sexual nature like by an agreed Bris, then it’s not molestation…
LM: A Bris should not even be part of the narrative. No one is claiming that the Mohel abused a child in front of his family and friends during a brit-milah. We are not going to even begin with the “Metziza b’peh” discussion, however.
Not of a sexual nature? When a child gets his or her genitalia physically touched by a teacher or a Rabbi that child is being molested, damaged, hurt and forced into a lifelong nightmare, ge’enom. Full stop. Like the priests in the Catholic Church, if he has no orgasm, gets no sexual gratification, it is not “of a sexual nature”? Please define, sir.
There can be no exceptions to touching unless by a doctor or in some circumstances a parent, that makes “touching” okay. Sexual gratification or sexual anything should not be the defining factor. This issue must be black and white.
I vehemently disagree that lawsuits to defend my falsely affected reputation has anything to do with shaming or causing any negativity to victims and as I constantly emphasise, the contrary is true, that the victims cause is really hampered by exaggerations and lies against anyone involved, as any sensible person understands…
LM: Your reputation is well earned and even better deserved. Your comments to our post, of your own volition, only further solidify that point. You are in court to financially benefit from the criticism of others. There are no exaggerations and lies. You perpetuate everything that is wrong with your community and now you want to capitalize on it. For your defendants, the great collective of journalists and others who have criticized you, we hope to be an inspiration for their defense attorneys. You have not been defamed. If anything, you have been spared the true humiliation and shame you should have felt. The victimizer really should in our view be victimized.
Re the Teshuva issue I also answered earlier re the three perpetrators I know about.
Again I believe the perpetrator I spoke about re Teshuva tried to do his best to make amends with all of his victims. Perpetrator two who’s in jail I understand didn’t try to make amends and perpetrator three who left the country I don’t know the status but I believe not.
LM: There is no making amends, in our view, for touching a child or adult and violating him or her. Sorry to our readers for the graphic details that follow:
There is no making amends for a man who forcibly or by way of coercion sticks his penis in the anus of a boy or the vagina of a girl. There is no making amends for the anal fissures that the boy suffers daily for the rest of his life or the possibility that a raped female child will never be able to have children.
There is no way to make amends for the outright theft of a child’s innocense. That can never be returned. It is stolen by a thief and to add insult to injury trampled on and further plundered by people such as yourself and your community who flippantly respond to allegations with comments like those you have provided to us.
These children, the abused, the victims deserve better. They deserve some form of justice and even more a form of redemption. Their souls will forever be haunted and you and your ilk are only a small piece of the shadows that will forever hang over their heads.
You are a shameful man, Mr. Josef Feldman. The Chabad Lubavitch with whom you associate, whom you defend, whom you shield from scrutiny tarnish the very soul of the greater Jewish community. Your comments here shed light on the very thing we want to change about the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world that idolizes you and your rabbis, its lack of humanity, skewed morality and all in the name of G-d. Your G-d sir, is not ours.
I also responded my opinion re the organisations and individuals who have harassed victims who have come forward and family members of such victims, that proper Teshuva hasn’t taken place even though that most that were involved I believe are trying to rectify that but I am amazed and extremely disappointed that Tzefania Waks hasn’t as yet received an apology from anyone in Melbourne…
LM: Mr. Feldman, your opinion, amazement and disappointment are of little consolation to Manny and Tzefania Waks and others like him. It is all lip-service, a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. You would have been better off never responding to our questions or our criticism. You fed the fire and we thank you for it.
We will continuously remind people of your words, as they clearly represent the Chabad Lubavitch community with which you associate. While we would never wish something bad upon someone and certainly not a child, you will never understand the voices of the abused, silenced and then ignored children, until you walk in their shoes. You will never understand the feelings of the families until you have felt their pain for yourself. Until then, it will always be easier for you to diminish, respond flippantly, and file lawsuits to capitalize.
Were it not for the very fact that we would be dooming your children or grandchildren to inevitable destruction, we would wish that one day you do get to walk in those shoes. Dare we not.
Instead we will say that we hope you will do the right thing and donate every penny of your proceeds to causes that openly and outrightly help families and their victimized children. We hope you will acknowledge in every paper and synagogue, class and family discussion, that there is a problem of abuse, molestation, cover-ups, harassment and shunning that poisons the lifeblood of your community specifically and the entire Jewish world generally and needs to be extricated.
We surmise that you not capable of doing the right thing because your narrative is so ingrained that right and wrong have become muddled existential debates enshrouded in a cloak of blue and white tasseled robes. Even were you to understand the parlance, the cost would be too high for you to have the “betzim” necessary to take steps toward the purification of your communities’ ills.
With the depth of insensitivity reflected in your own comments and correspondingly by default your community, one day you might just walk in the shoes of those whom you so flippantly ignore. Only then will you truly understand. It will be at that moment in time that you will know that which is irrelevant from that which is, indeed, RELEVANT.
Following Up – Questioning Rabbi Dratch’s Less than Adequate Response to Erik Aiken’s Detailed Letter…
Dear Rabbi Dratch,
Six weeks ago, I emailed you and published on my website, http://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.”