Wednesday, October 24, 1990

Case of Rabbi Chaim Ciment

Case of Rabbi Chaim Ciment
(Williamsburg) Brooklyn, NY
New Square, NY

Chaim Ciment was charged with first-degree sexual abuse, after allegations were made that he fondled a 17 year old girl in an elevator.  

Note: there are several individuals with the name of Chaim Ciment.  The alleged offender was born around 1953 and resides in New Square, NY.  If anyone has more information on this case or a photograph of Chaim Ciment, please forward it to The Awareness Center.

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.
Table of Contents:
  1. Sex Arrest Stirs Hasidic Rage Mob storms Brooklyn precinct; 12 officers hurt  (10/24/1990)
  2. Hasidic Leaders, Brooklyn Police Meet on Melee  (10/25/1990)
  3. Melee Follows Arrest of Hasid on Sex Charge (10/25/1990)
  4. Melee's Wake: Everybody's Mad  (10/25/1990)
  5. Hispanics Cite Bias (10/27/1990)

Sex Arrest Stirs Hasidic Rage Mob storms Brooklyn precinct; 12 officers hurt
By Bob Liff and Curtis L. Taylor
Newsday - October 24, 1990
A mob of Hasidic Jews stormed the 90th Precinct police station house in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section last night to protest the arrest of an Hasidic man on a sexual abuse complaint, authorities said.

Police said about dozen officers were injured, none seriously, before the protesters were forced back onto Union Avenue, where about 200 held a vigil in the the rain for two hours before dispersing about 11:15 p.m.

A group of about 30 Hispanics at the same time staged a counter demonstration, shouting, "Lock him up. Lock him up." Hasidic community leaders said they believed the man had been falsely accused and charged that he was roughly handled by police.

Hispanic protesters said they feared the arrested man would be given special treatment.
Police said no formal charges had been filed late last night and that an assistant district attorney was being called in to evaluate the situation.

The incident that led to the filing of the complaint occurred at the Clemente Plaza, a Mitchell-Lama housing development that is home to both Hispanics and Hasidics and has been a flashpoint in disputes between the two groups over community issues, officials said.

According to officials and Hasidic community leaders, a woman who lives in the building charged that a Hasidic visitor to the development sexually assaulted her in an elevator.

But the Hasidic leaders said the woman has a history of harassing Hasidics and is facing eviction from the complex.

Angelo Rodriguez, the development's manager, said the woman's family is disruptive and that an eviction hearing is scheduled for next week.

The family, he said, has been the subject of complaints of harassment against blacks and Jews.

Rodriguez said security officers told him that they saw the woman chasing the man into the building.

But Saul Nieves, one of about 25 Hispanic counter protestors at the station house, said the Hasidics are accorded special treatment and that Hispanic complaints are often brushed aside.

"These people do this all the time," Nieves said. "They can't just abuse our women and expect nothing to happen."

Rabbi Moses Teichman, who lives in the complex, said he would file a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board charging that the  officers who arrested the man roughed him up.


Hasidic Leaders, Brooklyn Police Meet on Melee
By The Associated Press
The Bergen Record - October 25, 1990
NEW YORK:  Police officials and Hasidic leaders met Wednesday to ease tensions in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn after hundreds of Hasidic Jews stormed a police station to protest the arrest of one of their colleagues on sexual assault charges.
Forty-four officers suffered minor injuries in the melee.
Wednesday's meeting was aimed at "seeing how we can prevent future incidents like this from happening," said Assistant Chief Thomas Gallagher, commander of patrol officers in northern Brooklyn.
Most of the officers were treated for cuts and bruises and their injuries were not considered serious, police said. "There were no assaults on the officers; they were injured while establishing order on the street," Gallagher said.
"It's unfortunate that this happened, but it was an instantaneous outburst of emotions," said Rabbi Moses Teichman, president of the tenants association at Roberto Clemente Plaza, a private, low-income housing development at 541 Wythe Ave. in Williamsburg.
The arrest that led to the melee outside the 90th Precinct stationhouse occurred in the housing development after a 17-year-old woman complained that Chaim Ciment, 36, a Hasidic Jew from Spring Valley, had fondled her breasts while they were riding an elevator in the complex.
Ciment was charged with first-degree sexual abuse.
The Clemente Plaza development, which is home to both Hasidic Jews and Hispanics, has been a flashpoint in disputes between the two groups over community issues, police and tenant leaders said.
The woman who leveled the charge against Ciment is in the process of being evicted from the building and has a history of abusing tenants, Teichman claimed. She is neither Hasidic nor Hispanic.
"We're dealing with a woman who has a deep emotional hatred against Jews and blacks," Teichman added. "This is not a question of Jews against Hispanics, or Hispanics against Jews."
After Ciment's arrest, some 300 Hasidic Jews tried to enter the 90th Precinct, but were pushed back by police officers onto Union Avenue, where the melee occurred at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Officers from 10 other Brooklyn precincts were called to the scene and restored order about 90 minutes later, police said. Only one demonstrator, Abraham Fruend, 33, of 61 Harrison Ave., Brooklyn, was charged. he was accused of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.
"This was just an outburst of built-up emotions of people who had cases with this woman, who believed this incident never happened," Teichman said.
The rabbi blamed a police lieutenant at the precinct for sparking the melee, and said he had filed a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
"The desk lieutenant used foul language in answer to our request to sit down and explain the situation," Teichman said. Police had no comment on the rabbi's allegations.

 Melee Follows Arrest of Hasid on Sex Charge
The New York Times - October 25, 1990, Thursday, Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section B; Page 3; Column 2; Metropolitan Desk 

A melee erupted in Brooklyn's 90th Police Precinct Tuesday night when hundreds of Hasidic Jews surrounded the station house to protest the arrest of a Jewish man who, they said, had been falsely accused of fondling a teen-age girl. 

Three hundred demonstrators were involved in the pushing and shoving on a rainy night that left 32 police officers slightly injured. One Hasidic man was charged with assaulting an officer, a police spokesman said. 

The incident was the latest in a long period of tensions between the Hasidic population and other residents in the area, which is in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge. 

The Hasidim say they have been the target of anti-Semitic slurs and in some cases attacks by a few troublemakers. But other residents complain they have been harassed by the Hasidic community, which they contend is bent on forcing them out of the neighborhood. 

Elevator Encounter Reported
Tuesday's incident began when (Name Removed) , 17 years old, told the police that she had been accosted by Chaim Ciment, 36, in the elevator of 541 Wythe Avenue in the Roberto Clemente Houses, a mixed-income subsidized housing development. 

"He pulled out a $20 bill and said: 'This is for you. Don't worry everything will be O.K.,' " (Name Removed) said in an interview. She contended that Mr. Ciment had followed her and offered her money in the past. 

(Name Removed) , who lives in a four-room apartment with her infant son, two brothers and her mother, said Mr. Ciment had jumped on her and fondled her before she managed to push him away and cry out for help. She said he left the elevator on the 11th floor and ran downstairs to the lobby, where she and an aunt caught up with him and had security guards detain him until the police arrived. 

Mr. Ciment was taken to the police station, where he was charged with first-degree sexual abuse. He could not be reached for comment yesterday. 

Woman's Account Disputed
Isaac Abraham, who lives in the housing complex, which abuts the waterfront, said he went to the station house with several women who were in the lobby when the guards stopped Mr. Ciment. Mr. Abraham said they wanted to tell the police that (Name Removed) had previously started fights with other Hasidic Jews. 

"This family has created a lot of panic in the complex," Mr. Abraham said of Ms. Howe and her family. "People stay out of the elevator and keep their kids out of the playground when they see her." 

Mr. Abraham said a police officer in the station house had treated him rudely. By then, several hundred protesters had congregated outside, and the police got into a shoving match with them as they tried to clear the area. 

Hitting by Police Reported
"They were hitting Jews who just came to protest," reported Esther Gold, who said she had gone to the station house to tell the police that (Name Removed) was accusing Mr. Ciment without provocation. 

Several women congregated in the broad courtyard outside(Name Removed)'s building yesterday and defended her, saying she did not start trouble. Many were indignant at the Hasidic protesters. 

"If they attack our police officers, they are saying they are above the law, so what can we expect?" said Elisa Torres, a tenant organizer who has tried to negotiate past conflicts with the Hasidic Jews. 

She said tensions had been on the rise in the area for more than a decade. 

GRAPHIC: Photo: (Name Removed) , right, says she was sexually abused by a Hasidic man in a housing project in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Hundreds of Hasidim protesting the man's arrest surrounded the 90th Precinct station house on Tuesday night. With Ms. Howe yesterday was her mother, Eilaine Herling. (Vic DeLucia/The New York Times)

Melee's Wake: Everybody's Mad
Newsday - October 25, 1990

One day after a mob of 300 Hasidic men battled with police at Williamsburg's 90th Precinct station house, Hasidic and Hispanic leaders - as well as police - yesterday began assessing the fallout from the most recent uproar. 

Hasidic Jews questioned the alleged fondling - and subsequent arrest - that triggered the melee. Hispanics accused police of showing favoritism toward the Hasidim, yet the Hasidim said that police used undue force while arresting one of their members. 

And police union officials were miffed that while 44 officers suffered minor injuries during the rock and bottle throwing fracas, only one person was arrested. 

The uproar was prompted by a 17-year-old resident of Roberto Clemente Plaza in Williamsburg, who told a security guard Tuesday night that a man had tried to fondle her in an elevator at 541 Wythe Ave. That report led to the arrest of Chaim Ciment, a 36-year-old Hasidic man from Spring Valley in Rockland County, who was awaiting arraignment last night on sexual abuse charges. 

The teenager, who police say is of Irish and German descent, is from a troubled family that Roberto Clemente Plaza management has been trying to evict for more than a year, according to Clemente managers. 

Police commanders - in between meetings with leaders from the Hispanic and Hasidic communities - meanwhile tried to calm their own officers' anger that only one of the hundreds of black-clad Hasidim who mobbed the station house to protest Ciment's arrest was arrested. 

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Phil Caruso, outraged at what he called "the actions of ostensibly law-abiding citizens," said officers will try to identify those who assaulted officers during the melee. 

"No one has the right to storm a precinct and wantonly injure police officers," said Caruso, who asked for a meeting with leadership of the Satmar Hasidim, the largest Hasidic community in Williamsburg, to try to calm tensions. 

Forty-four police officers reported injuries in the station house confrontation, including one who was repeatedly kicked in the ribs by a circle of Hasidic men as he lay on a rainy sidewalk. Other police officers said that Hispanic youths on a nearby rooftop threw eggs and bottles as the melee raged below. 

At one point, Hasidic activists using a private radio channel tried with little apparent success to rally Orthodox Jews from other neighborhoods to block access to the precinct for the police reinforcements who were called in from across northern Brooklyn. 

Sources said department officials are questioning whether dispatchers who put out an "officer in distress" call over police radios for almost 10 minutes added to the chaos and tensions. 

City Human Rights Commissioner Dennis DeLeon is also trying to bring together Hasidic and Hispanic leaders. 

While the alleged victim in Tuesday's incident was not Hispanic, Hispanic activists quickly renewed the charge that police show favoritism to the Hasidim because of the political clout of prominent rabbis. 

"If police act with such fear {of Hasidic power} that they can't even protect each other, how can they protect us?" said Carmen Calderon, a Hispanic activist who is also a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit charging that the city has favored the Hasidim in disposing of urban renewal land in the neighborhood. 

But Rabbi Moses Teichman, who said he witnessed the rough treatment Ciment received, said the melee had nothing to do with disputes with Hispanics. "It was an instantaneous burst of built-up emotion and frustration because there is a perception {within the Hasidic community}, which is not necessarily always true, that nothing is being done by police," he said.


 Hispanics Cite Bias
 By Bob Liff 
Newsday - October 27, 1990
As Jewish leaders in Brooklyn denounced Tuesday night's assault on a Williamsburg precinct house by 300 Hasidim protesting the arrest of a community member, Hispanic leaders met with city officials to press their argument that Hasidim get favored treatment from local police. 

The assault on Union Avenue's 90th Precinct station house, in which 44 officers reported injuries, followed the arrest of a Hasidic man on sexual abuse charges. Chaim Ciment, 36, was arrested after a 17-year-old girl complained to security guards that the man attempted to fondle her in an elevator at the Roberto Clemente Plaza houses. 

Hispanic leaders led 500 people in a vocal protest in front of the same precinct house Thursday night, with several police officers contradicting their commanders by privately saying Hasidim do receive special treatment. 

"What happened Tuesday is a reflection of the attitude of the Hasidic community," said David Santiago, a leader in the South Side Political Action Committee who met with city Human Rights Commissioner Dennis deLeon yesterday. 

Santiago charged that the Hasidim use their clout to intimidate police and to control city housing policy, a reference to a federal lawsuit in which Hispanic plaintiffs have assailed the sale of city urban renewal land to Hasidic developers. 


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