ALBANY — Oscar-winning movie producer Harvey Weinstein, now one of New York’s most notorious prison inmates after being sentenced for sexual assault, has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to officials connected to the state prison system.
Weinstein, who turned 68 last Thursday is being isolated at Wende Correctional Facility in Western New York, officials told CNHI Sunday.
He is one of two Wende inmates who have tested positive, the officials said.
Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault in a prosecution that attracted world-wide attention amid the #MeToo movement.
Officials familiar with his situation said it is believed Weinstein was positive for the virus when he entered the state prison system last Wednesday from Rikers Island, a New York City jail.
Weinstein was sent to Wende, where the prison system operates an intake center for new state inmates. Inmates are typically sent to other facilities from there after medical and security concerns are assessed.
Weinstein was accepted by the prison system last week following his sentencing at a Manhattan courtroom. During his trial, he had been alternating his time between Rikers Island and a New York City hospital, where he was treated for high blood pressure and chest pains.
Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA), said he could not comment on Weinstein’s situation or elaborate on any inmate’s health record due to privacy rules.
Powers acknowledged the union has urged state corrections officials to immediately suspend all “non essential” transfers of inmates from one state facility to another as well as the transporting of local jail prisoners to the state prisons during the ongoing health emergency.
“There is no better breeding ground for this virus than a closed environment such as a correctional facility,” said Powers.
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the agency overseeing state facilities, declared last week it is suspending all visits to prison inmates to counter the spread of the virus.
The officials who said Weinstein has tested positive spoke on the condition of anonymity, noting they were not authorized by the corrections agency to publicly comment on the situation.
Powers said three state corrections officers are among those who have tested positive and numerous officers throughout the system are being monitored after coming in contact with people believed to have been infected, he noted.
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From HaAretz – To read the entire article click here.
New True Crime Show Explores ‘Insane’ Story of a Prominent Rabbi, Sexual Assault and a Missing Teen
‘It’s a story you hear and dismiss as an urban legend at first,’ says creator of Israeli docu series delving into the world of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who served prison time for sexual assault
On the night of January 23, 1986, a 17-year-old yeshiva student disappeared in Jerusalem. Nissim Shitrit was last seen in the area of an ultra-Orthodox community in the Jerusalem Hills. Four months earlier, members of a so-called modesty patrol came to the yeshiva where Shitrit was enrolled. Disguised as yeshiva students, they told the teenager that two well-known rabbis wanted to speak to him about his future. Shitrit went with them to the beach. They began to beat him up, but stopped when a police van drove by.
Shitrit filed a complaint with the police about the attack, telling investigators that his assailants had identified themselves as members of a modesty patrol who told him they came to teach him a lesson for having dared to go out with girls. In his statement, he added that one of his attackers was Shmuel Habany, a known follower of Rabbi Eliezer Berland and a member of the rabbi’s Shuvu Banim Hasidic community in Jerusalem. Habany was arrested, but released after denying a connection to the incident.
Members of Berland’s community are people who became religiously observant and are not wanted in their secular home but also are not welcomed in the Haredi community, which often sees them as unmarriageable. To what extent did that situation allow Berland to wield control over consciousness of his followers?
“It’s easier to take these people, who are tabula rasa in terms of religion, and to tell them things that they’ll consider to be absolute truths. From there it’s easier to also arrive at extremism. Often they actually choose a new identity for themselves, changing their names. With Berland there was also this extremism surrounding the laws of modesty, until at the end he was convicted of sex crimes. I think Berland has obsessions surrounding sexual control, and that’s where all the insanity came from. There are testimonies I was exposed to from additional women who didn’t go to court but testified before a rabbinical tribunal.”
In the movie and beyond, Berland is portrayed as a dangerous man with great influence over his followers. Perhaps law enforcement isn’t dealing with him and his sect in a reasonable manner, even when he preaches violence.
“I can’t understand it. After all he is a spiritual authority who has great influence. It’s like a riddle. I don’t know why and how it happens. I don’t have answers. To come and say that maybe there’s someone in the police who wants to protect Berland? I find that hard to believe. He is a powerful man with connections to a lot of people, including people from the underworld, who are considered his followers.”
Do you think there’s a connection between underworld figures and the fact that the police seem to be lenient toward him?
“If there is, that would be frightening.”
During your research, did you consider whether there are figures in the police who are protecting Berland at some level?
“There’s a young woman who filed a police complaint against Berland for sexual harassment. A woman I know accompanied her. I know that a few hours after the complaint was submitted, Berland was already at Ben-Gurion International Airport and he left on a trip that lasted three years, until he was extradited [here]. People who left Shuvu Banim told me a few times that they had lost their faith in the police because of the way they were treated. There were so many things that Berland did and said, ostensibly including calls to murder someone, and you don’t understand how he wasn’t arrested.”
In the wake of your movie’s findings, the police have launched a new investigation into the disappearance of Nissim Shitrit. Do you believe that this time they will investigate the case with the seriousness that it deserves?
“I shall be very disappointed if the case of Nissim and of Avi Edri is not reopened,” Haziza said, referring to a different unsolved murder, carried out in the Jerusalem Hills in 1990 and attributed to the modesty patrols.“If at the end of the new investigation there are no answers, it will surprise and disappoint me very much.”
It’s possible that you’ll be called in and asked about findings in the case. What will happen if you’re asked to testify in a way that involves reporter’s privilege – the protection of confidential sources?
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Abuse victim Manny Waks wins $800,000 in damages from paedophile David Cyprys
Waks, now an advocate for Jewish abuse victims, was one of a number of children Cyprys abused at Melbourne’s Chabad Yeshivah centre
Malka Leifer, former Melbourne principal and accused child abuser, granted further delays in extradition process
The alleged victims of an Israeli teacher accused of sexually abusing girls at a Melbourne school said they were distressed and angry about further delays to her extradition case.
The Jerusalem District Court has granted lawyers for the former principal of the Adass Israel girls school, Malka Leifer, time to cross-examine members of a psychiatric panel that found the 54-year-old had been faking mental illness to avoid extradition.
The panel is meant to be the final assessment of Ms Leifer’s mental fitness after more than 30 previous examinations, many of which found her mentally competent to face trial.
Israel’s State Attorney’s Office had seized on its findings to press for a speedier resolution to the extradition hearing, so Ms Leifer could be sent to Australia to face 74 sexual abuse charges.
“The psychiatric panel’s findings lead to the inevitable conclusion that over the past five years, the court and the mental health system have fallen victim to a fraud perpetrated by Leifer and her supporters,” it said in a press release before the court hearing.
This is being published from the files of Larry Noodles.
Please see his blog for an in-depth look into Rabbi Daniel Greer, whom Noodles refers to as the “GOAT.” He has written extensively on the subject.
In our opinion, far too many Jewish organizations, shuls, funds, and people have supported Rabbi Greer, written letters on his behalf, explained away his crimes as if they did not happen. Is it not time that his supporters be held accountable for their support and by implication their complacency?
A recent letter written to the Court and posted by Noodles on his blog reads: “He [Greer] humiliates people with the ease that others say good morning.”
“However, I wish to echo and amplify the voices of his true victims and tell you both from experience and professional expertise that victims of emotional, let alone physcial or sexual abuse often come back, often seek to impress, and often fail to confront the abuser.”
We will be following this story closely and adding information as it becomes available regarding Rabbi Greer and his supporters.
Is it not time to denounce Rabbi Greer and show your support for his victims?
NEW GOAT VICTIM COMES FORWARD
Daniel Greer was sentenced to 20 years in prison, suspended after 12, last month after getting convicted of four felony counts of risk of injury to a minor. Connecticut trial Judge Jon Alander considered the testimony of no less than three accusers, ie., Rabbi Avi Hack, Eli Mirlis and Rafi when he sentenced pedophile “Rabbi” Daniel Greer, AKA “the Goat” to 20 years in jail.
In spite of the testimony of no less than three accusers, in spite of the fact that the Goat’s two loyal sons fled the compound, and in spite of the fact that Dr. Ford testified in the civil trial that Ezi Greer was molested by the Goat, the Goat received numerous glowing letters of admiration, love, and support. One such love letter was written and signed by “Senior” Rabbi Albert Feldman, Rabbi Emeritus of the Westville Synagogue, who stated: “After knowing Daniel Greer for better than a half-century, I can fully vouch for Rabbi Daniel Greer’s upright moral and ethical character and behavior in all situations.”
We are subscribers to the newsletter published online by Manny Waks on his blog. We encourage you to subscribe as well. Interested readers should click here.
We are reposting this without obtaining his permission to do so and if asked, it will be taken down. We have chosen this particular printing of the newsletter to repost because we have covered so many of the stories independently.
We are admirers of Manny Waks’ work on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse and wholeheartedly support his efforts to prevent sexual abuse in the Global Jewish Community. We sincerely hope that one day his newsletter will be deemed unnecessary, obsolete and be relegated to the annals of history.
Until that happens, we remain steadfast in our efforts and our admiration.