Saturday, January 31, 2004

Victoria's, and Israel's, Ugly Secret

By Ina Friedman
Jerusalem Report - January 31, 2004
Of the thousands of women brought to Israel each year to work as prostitutes, many are enslaved, beaten and raped by their pimps. Now, one of them is fighting back...
If you were to pass her on the street, there's nothing particular about Victoria that would catch your eye. She could be your daughter, your sister, or your wife. In fact, before her ordeal began, she was a law student in the small Republic of Moldova, and she still has hopes of resuming her studies there. It is only when she begins to speak - barely above a whisper, in grammatically tortured Hebrew picked up "on the job" - that you sense, even become infected by, the fear in her voice, the sadness in her eyes, the exhaustion broadcast by her very posture. And only when you hear her story do you understand that this intelligent, un-assuming 21-year-old - one of the millions of people around the world who have been trafficked as prostitutes this year (see box) - is a heroine, not of some abstract international struggle for human rights but of a very private struggle to rise above the status of victim and take charge of her life again.
Ironically, it was a similar impetus that led Victoria (who asks that her last name not be published) into the nightmare she has been living for the past 16 months. In mid-1999, when she ran out of funds to continue her studies and found that her family would not help her, she was lured by the offer of a job in Israel as a masseuse. The promised monthly salary was $1,000 (astronomical compared to the $30 a month she was earning in Moldova), and she was assured that she could return there whenever she chose.
Victoria's suspicion that something was awry arose at the last moment, when the "job recruiter" equipped her with a false passport to travel via Romania. But it was only after she arrived in Israel, in August 1999, that she learned the truth about her new "job" from the man who met her at the airport, took the passport from her, and drove her to a town in the Negev. And the truth was harrowing: The "recruiter," she was told, had sold her into prostitution and debt bondage - meaning that she would have to work off her purchase price ($6,500) before she could be released or even start earning a wage. She would also be required to have sex with her "owner" and his friends for free. The best she could expect for herself was tips from satisfied clients, which she soon discovered averaged $4 to $8 per john.
"We were locked in an apartment or under guard every time we moved from place to place," Victoria explains when asked why she didn't flee. "And even if I could get away, I had no passport, I had no money for a ticket to go back." Because she had entered Israel illegally, Victoria feared the law. She also had reason to suspect that local policemen were in cahoots with her "owners," because they were among the clients being "serviced" in one of the places in which she worked. ("They showed up in uniform," she relates, "with a squad car parked outside waiting for them.") But most of all she feared reprisal by her pimps. "They threatened that if I ran away, their people would track me down in Moldova and make sure I was punished."
AND SO, OVER THE COURSE OF 11 months, Victoria worked in various brothels, apartments and hotels in Beersheba and Tel Aviv from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, "servicing" between 10 and 20 clients a day. Five times she was sold by one pimp to another, each new "owner" requiring her to work off her purchase price. Along the way, she was raped and sodomized by three of her "owners" and one's son, as well. When a brothel in which she was working was raided and she was taken to the police station, she produced the forged Israeli identity card given to her by her "owner" and claimed - as she had been instructed - that she had been in the country for three years. Seeing the identity card, the police asked no further questions, and Victoria was released back into slavery.
It was only on July 27, 2000, the second time she was arrested in a raid, that the police bothered to interrogate Victoria. "I showed them the forged identity card again, but this time they asked me detailed questions about my family - the family I supposedly had, according to the forged card - and I couldn't answer them. So although I was frightened, I told them the truth," she recalls.
Thus ended one ordeal and began another. As an illegal alien, Victoria was held for about a month in a local lock-up and then another two in the Neveh Tirzah Women's Prison in Ramlah, awaiting deportation, before she was discovered by the Hotline for Foreign Workers, a Tel Aviv NGO that focuses on the plight of illegal foreign workers. At first all she wanted was the Hotline's help in obtaining a proper travel document so that she could leave the country. But at some point Victoria also remembered that wronged people have a right to be angry.
"After more than a year of absolute hell, I'm going to be going back without a penny to show for everything that's happened!" she grumbled to Sigal Rozen, the director of the Hotline. So Rozen promptly suggested an idea she had been promoting to women in a similar situation for two years - without any takers.
"Why not get your deportation postponed - with the Hotline's help - so that you can stay and fight for your due?" Rozen proposed to Victoria. "Not only justice for those who have victimized you but just compensation for your labors."
So were born the three court cases currently being waged in Victoria's name or with her help. The first is a criminal case against three of her six "owners" and the errant son. The charges against them, it turns out, do not include trafficking in women, as Victoria was last "sold" a month before the amendment to the Penal Code made trafficking in human beings a crime in Israel. They do, however, include crimes equally as evil: rape and sodomy, in aggravated circumstances, among others.
The second is a civil case filed in the Beersheba District Labor Court in which Victoria, represented by the Hotline's energetic legal adviser, Nomi Levenkron, is suing all six of her "owners" for a combined total of almost $200,000 in back wages, interest, and compensation for the pain, suffering, and anguish she endured while enslaved by them.
The third is a petition to the Supreme Court for an injunction ordering the minister of internal security, the interior minister, and the Israel Police to pay for Victoria's upkeep ($1,500 a month, though there are legal precedents for demanding twice that amount) until she can testify in the criminal case.
Since being released from the Neveh Tirzah Prison early last November, Victoria has been living, in hiding from her former enslavers and with no police protection, off the kindness of strangers. She is not getting the medical attention she wants. She is not receiving the psychological counseling she needs. "There are times when I'd just like to go window shopping in a mall to cheer up a bit," she says. "But that would only remind me how utterly destitute I am."
"The terms of her release from detention prohibit Victoria from working during the remainder of her stay in Israel," Levenkron explains. "So who's taking care of her? Well, if having our volunteers stand up at the end of a law class, tell Victoria's story, and pass around the hat is 'seeing to her needs,' then yes, I suppose you can say we're taking care of her."
VICTORIA'S CIVIL SUIT AND Supreme Court appeal for maintenance are unprecedented in Israel. But many aspects of her plight are so common to the thousands of trafficked women engaged in prostitution in Israel that one must wonder why the phenomenon has been allowed to continue for so long.
Indeed, Chief Superintendent Avi Davidovich, head of the Investigations Division in the national headquarters of the Israel Police and head of a new interministerial committee on trafficking in women, notes that the problem has been growing since the beginning of the 1990s.
"Four factors have fostered it," Davidovich explains: "The rapid growth of Israel's population and thus the number of men who seek sexual services; the growth in the number of foreign workers, mostly single men, who have become major consumers of such services; the opening of borders and freer movement worldwide, especially migration from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); and an erosion of social norms in Israel."
"Israelis have simply grown used to the idea that women can be bought," concurs Leah Gruenpeter-Gold, co-director of the Awareness Center in Tel Aviv, which specializes in research on trafficking in women and prostitution. "I wouldn't say sex trafficking has burgeoned here largely because of the foreign workers - show me one who can afford $60 an hour for a prostitute. It's far more because of the changed norms of young Israelis - both married men and single men who don't want to enter into a relationship so they purchase sex."
The influx of 1 million immigrants from the CIS over the past decade has also made it easier for the crime syndicates operating there - whose tentacles reach deep into Israel - to traffic women with forged documents. "Some prostitutes come in under the forged identities of Jewish women in Russia and the Ukraine," explains Hagay Herzl, an advisor to the internal security minister on foreign-workers issues. "They even receive the rights and benefits accorded to immigrants by the Law of Return."
Yet even though the problem is a veteran and particularly ugly one, trafficking in women has only hiccupped its way through the discussion of Israel's struggle with a growing population of illegal foreign workers. "It crops up from time to time, the press gives it a blast of coverage - like when the four Russian prostitutes were burned to death in a locked brothel, with bars on the windows, in Tel Aviv last August - and then it goes back to sleep again," says Gruenpeter-Gold.
One reason for the lack of sustained attention by the government and media is that prostitution, per se, is not illegal in Israel (and neither was trafficking in human beings until last July). What is criminal is "procurement," which the law defines as taking some or all of the profits of a woman so engaged. In short, it is pimps who stand to spend up to five years in prison (seven under aggravated circumstances) for their actions. Yet in the case of trafficked women, it is the prostitutes who have been consistently punished by Israel's law-enforcement agencies - as illegal aliens - by being arrested, detained for weeks, and deported, while the owners of brothels have gotten off scot-free.
Another reason for the lack of vigor in attacking the problem is that Israeli officials, to this day, seem somewhat ambivalent about just how victimized the trafficked women are.
"From talks with hundreds of women awaiting deportation in Neveh Tirzah, I can tell you that only an isolated number claim they were deceived about what awaited them here - meaning they had answered an ad for a job as an au pair or a model or something similar," says Herzl. "The overwhelming majority came here knowing what they would be doing and how much they were likely to earn," which is an estimated $700-$1,000 a month. Many of these women, Herzl concedes, failed to anticipate the harsh physical conditions or how hard they would be required to work. "But the great majority of the women who have come here to work in prostitution do get paid for it," he stresses. "Before being deported, quite a few have even told me that they intend to come back, as this is the only way they can improve their economic situation."
Activists dispute this overview, saying that while they simply don't know what proportion of the women are here against their will, it's a far from isolated phenomenon. Still, testimonies like those cited by Herzl
probably made it easier to turn a blind eye to the egregious violations of human rights often entailed in the sex trafficking business. And typically, perhaps, it took an outside party to rub Israel's nose in this problem.
That service was provided last May by Amnesty International, which issued a blistering 23-page report on trafficking in women in Israel that slammed the government for "[failing] to take adequate measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish human rights abuses against trafficked women" from the former Soviet Union. The report included a list of specific recommendations, among them: making slavery and trafficking unlawful; establishing a special unit to deal with the investigation and prosecution of abuses; treating women as victims rather than criminals; opening a hostel for trafficked women (detaining them in prison, pending deportation, only as a last resort); and providing them with legal aid, counseling, and medical services, as well as tools to request asylum when they face danger if returned to their native lands.
Clearly, official Israel was stung by the reproof. On June 13, 2000, the Knesset established a special commission of inquiry into trafficking in women, headed by Meretz Knesset member Zahava Gal-On. At the end of July, the Penal Code was amended to making trafficking in human beings a crime whose perpetrators are liable to up to 16 years in prison (20 for trafficking in a minor). And most recently, an interministerial committee, composed of representatives of the Justice, Interior, Internal Security, and Labor and Social Affairs ministries, has begun to address many of the issues spotlighted by the Amnesty Report.
Perhaps most telling of all, officials like Davidovich and Herzl are now clearly speaking of trafficked women as "victims" and of the need to prosecute the traffickers and pimps, rather than the women they victimize.
Expectations of what this thrust of interest and activity can accomplish, given budgetary constraints, vary. "We're not talking about eradicating [sex trafficking], just containing its spread and reducing its scope," says Davidovich. "And it's clear that the police cannot take on the establishment of hostels or other aspects of a witness-protection program to encourage these women to testify in criminal cases."
But Herzl is far more upbeat, saying that he intends to raise the idea of a witness-protection program with the incoming minister. He also reports that the police have been directed to embark on "quality, in-depth investigations - not against the women but against the importers, the pimps, the people who run the whole business." And he promises that "in the near future, you'll see the results of these activities. We are determined to deal with the phenomenon head on," he says, "with the aim of reducing it to the point of elimi-nating it."
MEANWHILE, OUT IN THE field, the hue has yet to turn rosy. The Knesset's commission of inquiry held only two sessions before its six-month mandate expired, and now there are procedural obstacles to automatically renewing it. A judge in Beersheba has been known to assign trafficked women to be held in detention, until their deportation, in the very brothel where they worked - stipulating, of course, that they must not engage in prostitution! And the Awareness Center has learned that the City of Rishon Lezion, south of Tel Aviv, has been issuing business licenses to brothels; the city had not responded by press time to an inquiry on this from The Report.
Even more dismaying is the fact that the first trial based on the new anti-trafficking clause of the Penal Code ended in mid-February with a whimper: a plea bargain - proposed by the prosecution - in which the offender received a mere two-year sentence. The case would probably not have come to trial at all had it not been for the fact that one of the victim's johns - a kibbutznik - fell in love with her (and vice versa), tried to redeem her from bondage by paying off her "owner," shelled out an advance, and then got stung by the greedy pimp, who proceeded to "sell" her elsewhere. Only then - and after the love-struck kibbutznik had managed to "kidnap" his prospective bride from her captor - was the matter taken to the police.
"Evidently the State Attorney's Office also has to be educated about the new outlook on trafficking," says Gruenpeter-Gold bitterly, while the Hotline's Levenkron has registered an official protest with the Tel Aviv district attorney over the plea bargain.
Speaking of education, Gruenpeter-Gold suggests that the Education Ministry also be represented on the interministerial committee dealing with trafficking, and Levenkron would add the Foreign Ministry to its list of members, explaining that an Israeli information campaign in the CIS could go a long way toward attacking the problem at its source.
All in all, press clippings over the past six months seem to suggest a slightly heightened awareness of the problem, and talks with officials suggest that the state is finally beginning to address it. But the apparent change of attitude is still nowhere near the energetic campaign that the organ-izations grappling with the issue of trafficking would like to see adopted.
"Neglect, sheer neglect is why we've reached this point," says Levenkron, and Gruenpeter-Gold adds: "I wish I could say that something has seriously changed since the law was amended last July, but I can't."
"Just two months ago, we had a hard time getting the police interested in even hearing Victoria's testimony," reports the Hotline's Rozen. "They said it would be her word against that of her pimps, and they couldn't build a case on that. It was only after I had testified before the Knesset inquiry commission that the police called back to say they would like to see her. They were shamed into it. And we should all be ashamed that things like this exist in our 'enlightened,' democratic society and we still prefer to turn the other way."

Friday, January 30, 2004

NIH director defends funds for criticized sex research

By Robert Stacy McCain
The Washington Times - January 30, 2004

The director of the National Institutes of Health said his agency will continue to fund sex research, including studies involving pornography and prostitution that have been criticized by House Republicans.
"I fully support NIH's continued investment in research on human sexuality," Dr. Elia A. Zerhouni wrote in a letter to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, that bypassed the Republican committee chairmen who oversee the agency.
The director's letter reported on NIH's "comprehensive review" covering several projects criticized by congressional Republicans and conservative activists.
Those projects included a $147,000 Northwestern University study that paid women to watch pornography, another that studied prostitutes at truck stops and one that examined "two-spirited" transvestites in American Indian cultures.
The letter to Mr. Kennedy echoed Dr. Zerhouni's remarks earlier this month to an agency advisory committee. "When we looked at the public health relevance, there was no question that these projects should have been funded and should continue to be funded," the director told the NIH panel, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Critics say the NIH sex studies divert federal tax dollars from potentially life-saving research. Rep. Mark Souder, Indiana Republican, called Dr. Zerhouni's defense of the projects "an unbelievable rationalization."
"Do I need a Ph.D. to understand why it is a sensible prioritization to spend hundreds of thousands of research dollars to pay women to watch porn, while countless Americans are suffering from dehabilitating diseases with no cures?" Mr. Souder said in a statement.
The NIH director said he is "initiating discussions ... to ensure that this research is better presented to the public so that they may understand the relevance of this research to public health and that it is prioritized appropriately."
The battle over taxpayer-funded sex research has escalated steadily in Congress over the past year. In July, the House rejected in a 212-210 vote a measure sponsored by Rep. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, that would have eliminated federal funding for five sex studies.
Democrats have defended the research. Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, accused Republicans of "scientific McCarthyism" for questioning the sex studies. "Imposing ideological shackles on this research would be a serious public health mistake," Mr. Waxman wrote in an October letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, whose department includes NIH.
Although Dr. Zerhouni's letter to Mr. Kennedy outlined various sexual research projects, it did not specifically address the project most often cited by critics of NIH sex research: Northwestern University psychology professor J. Michael Bailey's study that paid female subjects as much as $75 each to "watch a series of commercially available film clips, some of which will be sexually explicit" in order to monitor their body's sexual arousal.
Rep. Dave Weldon, Florida Republican, condemned as "disgusting" the NIH decision to fund the Bailey study.
In November, Northwestern announced an ethics investigation of Mr. Bailey, who has been accused of violating federal law by failing to obtain consent from subjects used in research for his recent book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen."
One of the complainants in the ethics probe -- described under the pseudonym "Juanita" in Mr. Bailey's book -- consulted the professor in 1996 to obtain psychological approval for sex-change surgery. "Juanita" filed an affidavit with the university saying that two years after undergoing the surgery, she had sex with the professor. His book subsequently cited her behavior as validating Mr. Bailey's theories of sexuality.
NIH is "clueless" for defending Mr. Bailey, said University of Michigan professor Lynn Conway.
"Taxpayer money is not just being wasted in sex research at Northwestern University -- it's being used to exploit and defame transsexual women in the name of science," said Ms. Conway, a pioneering computer scientist who was born male and underwent sex-change surgery in 1968.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Case of Rabbi Benyamin Fleischman

Case of Rabbi Benyamin Fleischman
(AKA: Ben Fleischman)

Photographer - Baltimore, MD

Please Note: There is more then one individual with the name Benyamin Fleischman.The individual on this page was born born on October 31, 1963 in Harrisburg, PA.

Rabbi Benyamin Fleischman is a photographer and is frequently commissioned to do jobs outside of the state of Maryland (including outside of the US). His probation order permits him to travel. Please note that his work in the past has included weddings (with children present), Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (Commerical Photography and Video).

If you suspect your child or someone else's child has been victimized please contact your local child protection hotline or The Awareness Center for a referral.

Mr. Fleischman sentence is 10 years which will be suspended, five years probation, with the requirements recited before of no contact with children under 18. He is to cooperate with Child Protective Services. He was also ordered to stay away from his victim, and to have no unsupervised contact.

There is a new trend that is happening all over the country (U.S.) Many alleged offender are pleading guilty to a lessor charge, so that the plea agreement will include a stipulation that a convicted sex offenders will not have to be placed on the states sex offenders registry. When this happens it puts the entire community (or in this case children in other countries) at risk of harm.

Please note that no news media group has picked up this case, even though Mr. Fleischman was a well known person in the Jewish community in Baltimore.

At one time he owned the website:  He sold the URL to a photo lab in Flordia and is no longer associate with it.


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. Sign posted publicly within the Eruv of Baltimore  (02/2003)
  2. Ben Fleischman's Photography Studio (02/12/2003)
  3. Commerical Photography and Video (02/12/2003)
  4. State of Maryland Vs.Benyamin Fleischman

Sign posted publicly within the Eruv of Baltimore
February 2003


Ben Fleischman's Photography Studio
February 12, 2003


Commerical Photography and Video 
Ben Fleischman's Web page - February 12, 2003


Transcript of Official Proceedings
Held on 01-08-04 Before Judge Glynn

CASE NOS. 103211052 & 103211053
Plaintiff vs BENYAMIN FLEISCHMAN,Defendant

(Plea Agreement)


HEARING DATE: January 8, 2004


For the Plaintiff:  Tammy Griffin Lawman, . Assistant State's Attorney

For the Defendant: Howard L. Cardin, Esquire

Transcriptionist: Transcription Service: Nancy E. Guido

Proceedings recorded by video recording, transcript produced by transcription service.


                                                                                                                           Page 2
-- -- -- --
None given.

None given.  

(On the record -- 10:18:22)

                                                                                                                           Page 3
MS. LAWMAN: State of Maryland versus Benyamin Fleischmani; Case Number 103211052 through 053. Griffin Lawman (ph.) for the State.
MR. CARDIN: On behalf of the Defendant, Howard Cardin. Good morning, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Now my understanding is there's going to be a plea to sécond degree assault that carries a maximum lawful sentence of 10 yearsi and the agreement is going to be the sentence is 10 years suspended, five years probation with a collection of requirements with respect to counseling, and no unsupervised contact.with children under the age of 18i is that correct?

MS. LAWMAN: A stay away order,from the victim, Your Honor.

THE COURT: And visitation to be in accordance with what?

MS. LAWMAN: CPS, Your Honor. THE COURT: Okay.

MR. CARDIN: Child Protective Services.

THE COURT: OkaYi is that your understanding?

MR. CARDIN: That is, Your Honor. In addition, of course, there will be a motion or modification filed and we will be asking the Court to change this to probation before judgment at the appropriate time.

THE COURT: Now my understanding is the victim and the family are not presenti correct?

MS. LAWMAN: That is correct, Your Honor.


                                                                                                                           Page 4
THE COURT: But that they fully concur that this is the correct outcome?

MS. LAWMAN: Correct, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Okay. Would you raise your right hand so the Clerk can take down your in~ormation?

(The Defendant was duIy sworn according to Iaw) .

CLERK: Please state your first and last name for the record.

MR. FLEISCHMAN: Benyamin Fleischman. CLERK: Address?

MR. FLEISCHMAN: 1014 Flag Tree Lane, Pikesville.

CLERK: Okay; zip code?


CLERK: Date of birth?

MR. FLEISCHMAN: 10/31/1963.

CLERK: And how old are you today, sir? MR. 'FLEISCHMAN: Forty.

CLERK: Thank you.

MS. LAWMAN: Your Honor, to be clear, the State is caIIing the second count in 052.

THE COURT: Second degree assauIt.

MS. LAWMAN: Correcto

THE COURT: Okay; if you would pIease advise your client?

                                                                                                                           Page 5
MR. CARDIN: Certainly. Now Mr. Fleischman, we have indicated to the Court that we wish to tender this plea of guilty to second degree assault. Before the Court can accept that plea it must be satisfied that you understand that you enjoy certain rights anq that those rights are being given up by tendering this pleaj do you understand that?

MR. FLEISCHMAN: (Inaudible)..

MR. CARDIN: So I am about to ask you-a number of questions to make sure that you understand what is going on here today, and that the Court can make a finding that you have voluntarily and intelligently given up these rights do you understand that?


MR. CARDIN: And again, we'll ask you to keep your voice up. If you have any questions, stop me I'll be glad to answer. answer them okay? If not, the Court will be glad to.  How much education have you had?


MR. CARDIN: OkaYj and so you certainly can read and write?


MR. CARDIN: And you understand what is going on here today?
                                                                                                                           Page 6

MR. CARDIN: And would it be fair to say that you and 1, along with many of the other persons here have rnet on rnany, rnany occasions to discuss this case?


MR. CARDIN: Now, you understand that you do have the right to continue your pleas of not guilty, and if you did you would be able to have a trial. That trial could either be a court trial or a jury trial. A jury is 12 persons selected from the cornrnunity who would have to agree unanirnously that the State had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt before the jury could find you guilty. If you had selected a court trial then the Court would have to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Do you understand that?


MR. CARDIN: Do you understand that by entering this plea of guilty you're giving up your right to a trial, be it a court trial or a jury trial?


MR. CARDIN: Do you further understand that had you pled not guilty and had there been a trial that the State would have called witnesses. Those witnesses would have testified frQrn the witness chair under oath. You have a right to see those witnesses, a right to cross
                                                                                                                           Page 7
examine them through me as your counsel. That's your right of confrontation and cross examination of witnesses. By entering this plea of guilty you're giving up your right of confrontation and cross examination. Do you understand that?


MR. CARDIN: Do you further understand that had this case gone to trial you would have been able to call witnesses in your own defense. You would have been able to use the subpoena power of the Court to ,get those witnesses to come in, and you, yourself would have been able to testify. There will be no trial; thus you're giving up your right of compulsory process to have witnesses come in to testify. Do you understand that?


MR. CARDIN: Do you further understand that had you gone to erial you would have had the absolute right not to testify. That is your right against selfincrimination. By entering this ~lea of guilty you're giving up your right against self-incrimination. Do you understand that?


MR. CARDIN: All right. Now let me point out and let us make it clear at this point; you and I have

                                                                                                                           Page 8
discussed the fact that you are tendering this plea under Alfred v. North Carolina. That is, you are saying to this

Court that you believe you are innocent of this offense, but that because of the plea offer that has been made to you in our discussions you have agreed or decided it would be in your best interests to enter this plea of guilty is that correct?


MR. CARDIN: And that is what you' re saying to this Court?


MR. CARDIN: Okay.  Now, you understand that there were motions that were filed on your behalf. The Court would have ruled on those motions prior to trial. By entering this plea of guilty those motions become moot and, in fact, are withdrawn. Do you understand that?

MR.' FLEISCHMAN: Yes, sir.

MR. CARDIN: Do you further understand that had this case gone to trial, had you Been found guilty you would have had an automatic right of appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. By entering this plea of guilty you're giving up your automatic right of appeali do you understand that?


                                                                                                                           Page 9
MR. CARDIN: Let me advise you at this pointi you would be able to file an application for leave to appeal but that is limited to four very narrow issues.
Those issues are the jurisdiction of this Courti and I advise you that the events occurring in Baltimore City, and you being over the age of 18 gives this Court jurisdiction. Do you understand that?

MR. FLEISCHMAN: (Nods head yes) .

MR. CARDIN: The second issue you could raise is whether or not you received the proper assistance of counsel. Are you satisfied with the services that I have rendered?


MR. CARDIN: The third issue you could raise is whether or not the plea you are entering, the guilty plea you are entering is a free and voluntary act on your parto In that regard the Court needs to know whet?er or not anyone has threatened you, coerced you, or forced you in any way to get you to plead guilty.


MR. CARDIN: Other than the plea negotiations has anyone promised you anything to get you to plead guilty?


MR. CARDIN: Is this, then, a free and voluntary act on your part?

                                                                                                                          Page 10

MR. CARDIN: The fourth issue that you could raise would be whether or not the sentence imposed by the Court is one th~t is allowed by law. I have advised you that second degree assault, the maximum penalty is 10 years, and the máximum period of probation that a Court can impose is five years, so that the sentence contemplated by the plea negotiations'is certainly a sentence that is allowed by law. Do you understand that?

MR. FLEISCHMAN: (Nods head yes) .

MR. CARDIN: So what I've said to you is this. Although you would be able to file an application for leave to appeal, the likelihood of succ~ss is extremely remote. Do you understand that?


MR. CARDIN: Now, are you under the influence of any alcohol or drugs at this time?


MR. CARDIN: Do you suffer from any mental or physical impairment that would prevent you from understanding what is going on here today?


MR. CARDIN: Are you under the care of a psychiatrist or a psychologist?

                                                                                                                          Page 11
MR. CARDIN: Okay; and that is as part of your counselingi is that correct?


MR. CARDIN: Is there anything about that that would prevent you from understanding what is going on here today?


MR. CARDIN: Have you recentiy been in a mental institution?


MR. CARDIN: Are you on probation or parole?


MR. CARDIN: Do you understand that if you were on probation or parole this guilty plea would be a violation of that probation or parole?


MR. CARDIN: Are you a citizen of the United States?

MR. FLEISCHMAN: Yes, sir,.

MR. CARDIN: Do you understand that if you were not a citizen of the United States, if you were mistaken about that, that this guilty plea would result in or could result in your deportation from the United States?


                                                                                                                          Page 12
Now, having then understood all the rights that explained to you, and recognizing that you are these rights, is it still your desire to enter this plea of guilty at this time?



THE COURT: Any questions for me or for your attorney?


THE COURT: I find the plea is entered into I knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently.

MS. LAWMAN: If called to testify, Your Honor, the State's witnesses would testify as follows.
That (Minor Victims Name Removed), date of birth Minor (Victims Date of Birth Removed), who was the (Relationship of Victim Removed) of Mr. Benyamin Fleischman, date of birth 10/31/19'63, who would be identified here in Court today as person standing at Defense counsel table, disclosed to her therapist that from the age of five to the age of ten Fleischman forced her to engage in sexual intercourse and various other sexual acts.  (Minor Victims Name Removed) was living with Mr. Fleischman at the time at (Victims Address Removed), which is located in Baltimore City, State of Maryland. (Minor Victims Name Removed) was under the age of 18 and Mr. Fleischman was the custodian of (Minor Victims Name Removed) at the time.
That would be the statement of facts, Your

                                                                                                                          Page 13
THE COURT: Additions or corrections?

MR. CARDIN: And Your Honor, we agree that that's witnesses would testify to; this being an -

THE COURT: I understand you contest the facts the family of the victim and the victim wish to in this fashion.

MS. LAWMAN: Correct, Your Honor. MR. CARDIN: Yes, sir.

THE COURT: All right; very well.

Based upon that and the facts as recited in the I'll enter a find of guilty to the second degree count beyond a reasonable doubt.  Anything else you wish to say on sentence?

MR. CARDIN: Yes, Your Honor; If I might. I have -- the Court will note all the witnesses who are the courtroom on Mr. Fleischman's behalf. I have them that we did discuss this matter in chambers and indicated to them that their presence here was certainly very important but they need not testify at this time. I believe as a result I would just like to proffer Court that there are witnesses here, not only locally, but from New York, from Minneapolis, I believe; from Florida; certainly coming from all areas to testify behalf of Mr. Fleischman. And I suggest to you and I

                                                                                                                          Page 14

~represent to you that he has just an excellent reputation in the cornrnunity. That is the reason why I did ask the tcourt to consider and the Court did advise how we would handle a situation for probation before judgment.

I would like al so to put on the record -- I know these things are not adrnissible as far as trial is concerned, but indeed, there was a polygraph exarnination conducted at rny request, not to the knowledge of the State; and I have it here which does indicate that Mr.Fleischman was telling the truth when he denied these allegations.

The last thing I want to say to the Court before disposition is, Mr. Fleischrnan is a photographer and is frequently cornmissioned to do jobs out or the State of Maryland; and so we are requesting that the probation orders specifically allow him to leave the State of Maryland for purposes of taking this employment.

He has also been engaged to do jobs out of this country, and he -- during -- while we were waiting for trail, in fact he had to turn down --


MR. CARDIN: -- at least two jobs because of In fact, I was getting ready to file a petition to to go on one and we decided ultimately that we not do that.


                                                                                                                          Page 15
As part of his pre-trial release order he was to turn in his passport. He attempted to do so accept it. So I have been holding that I make that representation to the Court, since he was released. I also would ask the Court with regard to that whether or not the passport can, of be returned to him.

THE COVRT: Is there any concern about that at

MS. LAWMAN: No, Your Honor. THE COURT: That's fine.

MR. CARDIN: So that will be returned to him; and that with regard to jobs out of the country we to will have to file some type of request for him to be able We understand that and we're prepared to do

THE COURT: I would ask the Clerk to note on the order that he's permitted to travel outside the of Maryland for the purposes of work. That's fine.

MS. LAWMAN: Your Honor, I would just like to be clear.  Just one second.

(Plaintiff and Defense counsel confer briefly) .

MS. LAWMAN: Your Honor, Iwould just ask that th e counseling requirement be through Parole and

                                                                                                                          Page 16
THE COURT: That's fine.
MS. LAWMAN: And be reflected on the probation order

MR. CARDIN: Your Honor, and one other thing; and I do apologize to the Court.
With regard to traveling out of the state, and I should have realized this, he does have, family out of also. We would ask that he be permitted to -

THE COURT: That's fine.

MR. CARDIN: I don't think that's an issue now with the State.

MS. LAWMAN: Your Honor, as long as he follows

THE COURT: That's fine. No objection.

MR. CARDIN: Okay; thank you.

THE COURT: And I do appreciate so many people cming here today, and, I mean, a consideration of the plea is the fact that Mr. Fleischman has otherwise had a led an exemplary life without any other involvements with the criminal justice system and has a lot of community support. And obviously the fact that the family to be resolved in this fashion, 1 think, it's best interests of everybody given the unfortunate of the case.

                                                                                                                          Page 17
Is there anything else? MR. CARDIN: No, Your Honor. We are prepared for

THE COURT: Does Mr. Fleischman have anything he to say?
(Mr. Fleischman. struggles to stand up) THE COURT: Are you okay?

MR. FLEISCHMAN: I've had back surgery. Sorry,

THE COURT: Anything else you wish to say?

MR. FLEISCHMAN: No, thank you.

THE COURT: All right.

Pursuant to our agreement, sir, the sentence is which will be suspended, five years probation, requirements recited before of no contact with under 18, cooperate with Child protective with respect to visitation, and appropriate sex counseling under the Department of parole and

MS. LAWMAN: And a stay away order from the Your Honor.

THE COURT: And stay away from the victim.

MR. CARDIN: Your Honor, it's not -- no unsupervised contact with children under 18.

MS. LAWMAN: No unsupervised contact


                                                                                                                          Page 18

THE COURT: No unsupervised contact

MR. CARDIN: Yeah when you said no contact unsupervised contact it's no unsupervised contact.

THE COURT: That's fine. Right.

MR. CARDIN: And my client asked the same that brought us to the Court right before New Year's and that is what happens if he sees her -- you  know, I -- we're going to work it out; and I explained to him that, you know the world has to go on, and his life will go on, too.

THE COURT: Right.You understand the sentence,


THE COURT: You have 10 days to ask for a new trial, 30 days to request a leave to appeal, 90 days to request modification. Counsel can bviously do that for you by filing appropriate pleading in the courthouse.  Any other Questions?

THE COURT: Good luck to you.

MS. LAWMAN: Your Honor, all counts not called in the State would ask be closed by operation of law, and State would enter a nolle prosequi in 103211053.

THE COURT: Very well.
MR. CARDIN: Thank you, Your Honor.

                                                                                                                          Page 19

THE COURT: Thank you.
MS. LAWMAN: May 1 be excused, Your Honor? THE COURT: Yes, thank you.
MS. LAWMAN: Thank you.
(Proceedings concluded -- 10:23:01)

                                                                                                                          Page 20
This is to certify that the foregoing the matter of State of Maryland versus Fleischman, Case Nos. 103211052 and 103211053, the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City on January 8, 2004 was recorded by means of videotape.
I hereby certify that the proceedings, transcribed by me to the best of my ability in complete.


                                                                                                                          Page 21
and accurate manner, constitute the offical transcript thereof

In witness whereof, I have unto subscribed my name this 29th day of January, 2004
Nancy E. Guido


Some of the information on The Awareness Center's web pages may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.

We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

For more information go to: . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this update for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  --Margaret Mead