Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Case of Shmuel Juravel

Case of Samuel Juravel
(AKA: Sam Juravel, Shmuel Zev Juravel, Samuel Zev Juravel) 
Shmuel Juravel - Convicted Sex Offender
Insurance Salesman
Savannah, GA
Baltimore, MD
Samuel (Shmuel) Juravel grew up in Baltimore, MD. In 1990 - 1991 the first allegations were made against Shmuel of child sexual molestation. According to statements made on the various threads of the Jewish Survivors of Sexual Violence blog, survivors and their parents sought help from Rabbi Moshe Heinemann who said he would take care of things. Needless to say, nothing happened.
Shmuel is the son of Rabbi Moshe and Shulamis Juravel of Baltimore, MD. Rabbi Juravel is employeed as a teacher at the Torah Institute of Baltimore. Shmuel Juravel is also the nephew of Rabbi Dovid Juravel and Rebbitzen Chana Juravel. 
Shmuel Juravel was indicted on March 29, 2006, on the offenses of using a computer to persuade, induce and entice a minor to engage in prostitution or other sexual activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b) (Count One); traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(b) & (e) (Count Two); and, knowingly possessing material containing images of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252A(a)(5)(B) (Count Three).
On August 10, 2006 he plead guilty to three counts of traveling to have sex with a child and use of the Internet to entice a child to engage in illegal sex acts.
Samuel Zev Juravel will spend 262 months in jail and a lifetime of supervised release. He also faces a fine to be determined by the court upon sentencing. There is no probation, no parole and no appeal. That was the plea agreement.

If you or anyone you know were sexually victimized by Shmuel Juravel and are looking for resources, please feel free to contact The Awareness Center and or your local rape crisis 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. Jefferson County Alabama - Sheriff's Office   (02/21/2006)
  2. United States of America vs. Shmuel Zev Juravel (AKA: Samuel Juravel) (03/01/2006)
  3. Savannah man arrested on federal sex charges (03/06/2006)
  4. FBI wanting to talk to Survivors of Shmuel Juravel (in Baltimore, MD and Savannah, GA)
  5. Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice  (03/29/2006)
  6. U.S. District Court - Criminal Docket for Case   (03/29/2006)
  7. Excerpt From Court Document - Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendations   (06/07/2006)
  8. UPDATE: Case of Samuel Juravel  (06/14/2006)
  9. Update on the Court Cases  (07/14/2006)
  10. Press Release - United States Department of Justice  (08/11/2006)
  11. Georgia man pleads guilty in FBI child sex sweep in Alabama  (08/11/2006)
  12. Georgia man pleads guilty in FBI child sex sweep in Alabama  (08/12/2006)
  13. Georgia man handed lengthy sentence in child sex case (08/14/2006)
  1. Today Steve is 25  (02/23/2007)
  2. Testimony Provided at Maryland Senate Hearing on SB575 (03/01/2007)

  1. Can we trust the rabbonim of Baltimore to really monitor Rabbi Stanley Levitt?

Jefferson County Alabama - Sheriff's Office
Feb. 21, 2006

Shmuel Juravel

Shmuel Juravel

Jail Location: Bham 
Jail Number: 20602472 
Offense Code       Offense Description    Bond Amount  

Warrant Number
72999900              FEDERAL TRANSIENT     NO-BOND

Savannah man arrested on federal sex charges
Samuel Juravel is in federal custody in Birmingham, Ala.
By Megan Matteucci
Savannah Morning News - March 1, 2006
Shmuel Juravel - Convicted Sex Offender
Federal officers arrested a Savannah insurance salesman in Birmingham last week on charges he solicited sex from children.
Samuel Juravel, 29, is being held in Alabama on charges of using the U.S. mail and Internet to coerce and entice children for sexual purposes.
Agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI arrested Juravel Feb. 21 at a Birmingham hotel after he arranged to have sex with a minor, according to the Postal Inspection Service.
Juravel is being held without bond by U.S. Marshals in Birmingham, according to William Kirkconnell, the FBI's supervisory senior resident agent in Savannah. The suspect will remain in federal custody until his trial in Alabama.
Federal officers began investigating Juravel on Jan. 31 after he responded to a Craigslist.org posting online for "rare and hard to find escort services," according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah. Postal inspectors filed the affidavit for a search warrant.
An undercover officer had posted the ad.
In his response, Juravel requested 11-14-year-old boys for sex, along with child pornography DVDs, according to the affidavit.
Juravel and the officer e-mailed back and forth during the first week of February, and talked about different children, payment information and travel arrangements to Birmingham to meet the child, the affidavit said.
The e-mails were sent from Juravel's home computer, the affidavit says. The FBI filed a subpoena with Comcast for the e-mails and identity of the sender.
On Feb. 8, Juravel mailed the halves of three $100 bills from Savannah to a post office box in Birmingham and specified the child he'd selected, the affidavit says.
He asked for another boy to be placed "on standby," the affidavit says.
He arrived in Birmingham Feb. 21 to find officers waiting to arrest him, said Tony Robinson, a U.S. Postal Inspector in Alabama. On the same day, FBI agents, postal inspectors, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided Juravel's 203 Groveland Circle home in Savannah's Oakdale neighborhood, Kirkconnell said. They were searching for computers, software and other items.
Juravel works for A J & C Garfunkel property and casualty insurance on Mall Boulevard. Samuel Juravel Insurance is also listed at the same address.
A phone message left for a manager at A J & C was not returned Wednesday.

United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama - March 1, 2006

Page 1 of 5
a/k/a Samuel Juravel, Defendant.
On Friday, February 24, 2006, Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam held a Detention Hearing in this matter in which testimony was received and at the conclusion of the hearing found that there was a condition or a combination of conditions that would enable Defendant to be released on bond. Judge Putnam set Bond at $100,000, secured by good and sufficient sureties, with numerous special conditions of release imposed. Judge Putnam stayed Defendant's release on Government's motion until 12:00 Noon, Monday, February 27, 2006. Defendant was remanded to the custody of the U. S. Marshal.
2006 Mar-01 AM 10:53
Page 2 of 5
On Monday, February 27, 2006, Assistant U. S. Attorney John England moved for reconsideration of the detention hearing findings held before Judge Putnam. (Doc. 4.) This Court granted the motion for reconsideration and continued the stay until 12:00 Noon, Wednesday, March 1, 2006, and a subsequent detention hearing was set before the undersigned on Tuesday, February 28, 2006, at 2:45 p.m.
In accordance with the Bail Reform Act, this Court held a detention hearing on Tuesday, February 28, 2006. Evidence in the form of testimony and exhibits was received. Considering all such evidence, this Court concludes the following:
Findings of Fact
The defendant has demonstrated through his use of the internet and e-mail that he actively solicits contact with children of a young age. The defendant, in addition to the conduct involved in this case, has apparently solicited contact with unsuspecting male children ranging in age from 8 to 13 offering an opportunity to appear in a catalogue for children's clothes. In addition, based on his extensive collection of child pornography, the defendant has been involved with the active solicitation and/or collection
Page 3 of 5
of child pornography for some time - all without his family suspecting any of it. These activities are in addition to him seeking out, negotiating for, and paying the purchase price for sexual contact with children that Defendant thought were 11 and 12 years of age.
Defendant has remarkable intellectual ability as demonstrated by his success in dramatically increasing the insurance business of his family's firm. The defendant also has demonstrated his ability to hide his activities from his family. It is obvious that he is a member of a very close and loving family, but it is clear from the evidence that Defendant has the ability to continue to hide his conduct from those who care for him the most.
The defendant's planning and forethought involved in the conduct associated with flying to Atlanta, renting a vehicle to drive to Birmingham, renting a room at a separate hotel, bringing with him condoms, pornography (child and otherwise), and a digital camera clearly evidences that Defendant has the ability to, and in all likelihood will, circumvent most any restriction this Court may impose upon him.
Finally, the defendant, if convicted, is facing a potential long-term prison sentence. Defendant's cavalier attitude in seeking out and carrying
Page 4 of 5
on his activities in the apparent view of his family demonstrates that he will in all likelihood not be concerned about the amount of money his flight from prosecution would cost him or his family. Therefore, no amount of security would reasonably assure his appearance.
The Court finds that there is no condition or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required by the Court or that will assure the safety of any other person and the community.
The Court finds, therefore, that the Government's motion to detain the defendant is due to be and hereby is GRANTED. It is ORDERED the defendant be committed to the custody of the Attorney General and confined to a corrections facility separate, to the extent practicable, from persons awaiting or serving sentences; that he be afforded reasonable opportunity for private consultation of counsel, and that, upon order of this Court or upon a request by an attorney for the Government, the person in charge of the corrections facility in which the defendant is confined shall
Page 5 of 5
deliver the defendant to the United States Marshal for the purpose of appearances in this case.
Done this 1st day of March 2006.

March 29, 2006

BIRMINGHAM, AL - A federal grand jury has returned indictments today against four men charging them in separate cases of child pornography. 

SHADE ARTHUR BALLENGER, 44 of Fort Payne, Alabama is charged in a one count indictment with possession of child pornography. If convicted he will face a federal prison sentence of up to ten years, and a fine of up to $250,000. 

DARREN VINCENT GESE, 34, of Pinson, Alabama is charged in a two-count indictment with using the internet to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, and with traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with another person. If convicted he will face a maximum federal prison sentence of up to thirty years, and a fine of up to $250,000. 

JOHN BRADLEY POWERS, 58 of Hoover, Alabama is charged in a two-count indictment with possession of pornographic images depicting young children. POWERS' conduct was discovered after a separate investigation began in Germany revealed that POWERS received child pornography via the internet. If convicted he will face a federal prison sentence of up to ten years, and a fine of up to $250,000. 

Shmuel Juravel - Convicted Sex Offender
SAMUEL ZEV JURAVEL, 29, of Savannah, Georgia is charged in a four count indictment for interstate travel to have sex with a child, use of the internet to attempt to entice a child to engage in illegal sex acts, and possession of child pornography. It is alleged that on February 21, 2006, JURAVEL traveled to a location in Jefferson County to meet what he believed to be a 12-year-old and an 11-year-old for illegal sex acts. After his arrival at the location, JURAVEL was also found to be in possession of pornographic images depicting young boys. It is also alleged that from January 31 until February 21, 2006, JURAVEL used the internet to attempt to persuade, induce, and entice the boys to meet him for sex. JURAVEL now faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted on all counts, and a fine of up to $750,000.
Each also faces criminal forfeiture of computer equipment. 

"Child pornography steals the innocence of childhood," stated U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. "These children will be protected through zealous prosecution. The message is very clear to internet users Child Pornography is prosecuted," added U.S. Attorney Martin. 

Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation were instrumental in each of these cases. Special Agents of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated case involving POWERS. The Birmingham Police Department, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office assisted in the respective investigations.

If you or anyone you know have been victimized by Shmuel Juravel please contact the FBI immediately. They are looking for survivors in Savannah, GA.
If you or someone you know was victimized by Shmuel Juravel while he was living in Baltimore, contact me at The Awareness Center. The FBI has been given some information regarding what you can do to help. The Awareness Center's phone number is _____________.
FBI Agents
Scott Sledd
US Postal Inspector:
(Call if you have information on this case regarding child pornography, or Juravel traveling across state lines to commit a crime)
Jeff Arney
The prosecuting attorneys are:
John H England, III or
Alice H Martin, US Attorney

Excerpt from Shmuel's court documents:
June 7, 2006

He was in Alabama to meet (Name Removed). The name on the email headings was (Name Removed), but he thought his true name was (Name Removed). (Name Removed) was introducing Juravel to two boys, ages 11, 12, or 13. Juravel said it was not sex, "it was an exploration." His plan was for the boys to masturbate while he watched. One of the boys was supposed to have brown hair with hazel eyes and 95 pounds. The other had brown hair and brown eyes. When asked about the "j/o and porn" mentioned in the emails, Juravel advised "j/o" meant jacking off.
Juravel said he had two computers at his residence, one located in the den and the other in the master bedroom. His internet service provider was Comcast with a screen name of szjj@comcast. He advised there were some gay porn movies in his home, but no movies of children. He claimed he is not gay, but has been curious for about a year. He had a male massage in Atlanta once which "came with release," although he had to perform the release himself. When asked "why young boys," Juravel responded "I don't know." He had some sexual experiences when he was 12 - 13 years old with some male friends of the same age which consisted of mutual masturbation or "masturbation both ways." Juravel advised he had never met (Name Removed), and said "we had an arrangement." (Name Removed) made Juravel cut the bills, three $100 bills, in half and mail them. He gave (Name Removed) the other half at the time of the meeting. Juravel advised he brought a suitcase containing adult porn videos, magazines, and condoms. He stopped on the way and bought the condoms because he thought (Name Removed) would ask if he had them.

a/k/a "Shmuel Zev Juravel"

The Awareness Center - June 14, 2006
On May 25, 2006, there was a Pre-trail hearing on the case of Samuel Juravel. The case has been continued to July 10, 2006. There was NO plea hearing entered. Shmuel Juravel is still in custody. No bond posted  The Pre-trial hearing will be held on July 10 at 9:00 am. Judge Coogler presiding, at the US Circuit Court - Alabama Northern District, Hugo L. Black U. S. Courthouse, Birmingham, AL
Shmuel faces 70 years in Federal prison without parole plus a $750,000.00 fine.

Jewish Survivors of Sexual Violence Speaks Out - July 15, 2006

A jury trial will continue on August 15, 2006 on the case of Samuel Juravel. Shmuel Juravel has been held in custody since his arrest back on Feb 21, 2006.
Jury Trial Continued
August 14 at 9:00 am.
Judge Coogler.
United States Circuit Court - Alabama Northern District
Hugo L. Black U. S. Courthouse
Birmingham, AL

Shmuel faces 70 years in Federal prison without parole plus a $750,000.00 fine.
Agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI arrested Shmuel Juravel (Feb. 21, 2005) at a Birmingham hotel after he arranged to have sex with a minor. 

Juravel grew up in Baltimore, MD. Around fifteen years ago the first allegations were made against Shmuel of child sexual molestation. According to statements made on the various threads, survivors and their parents sought help from Rabbi Moshe Heinemann who said he would take care of things. Needless to say, nothing happened. 

Shmuel is the son of Rabbi Moshe and Shulamis Juravel of Baltimore, MD. Rabbi Juravel is employeed as a teacher at the Torah Institute of Baltimore. Shmuel Juravel is also the nephew of Rabbi Dovid Juravel and Rebbitzen Chana Juravel. 

Samuel Juravel has 3 attorneys, 2 from the Law firm of Sirote and Permutt.
  • ames Sturdivant - Birmingham, AL
  • Robin Beardsley - Birmingham, AL
  • Robert Isaacson - is the third attorney has a private practice (Walter's Law Office) in Savannah, GA.
The prosecuting attorneys are:
  • John H England, III - Assistant US Attorney, Northern District of. Alabama, Southern Division
  • Alice H Martin - Assistant US Attorney, Northern District of. Alabama, Southern Division

Press Release - United States Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice - August 11, 2006
Alice H. Martin
United States Attorney
Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, AL - SAMUEL ZEV JURAVEL pled guilty late yesterday in United States District Court to three counts of traveling to have sex with a child and use of the internet to entice a child to engage in illegal sexual acts. JURAVEL, 30, of Savannah, Georgia, was arrested in Birmingham in March 2006 and remains in federal custody. 

"Be warned - out of state child predators who travel to Alabama to harm our children will be prosecuted," states U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. "We will protect our children through zealous prosecution of those who take advantage of and steal the innocence of childhood."
In the Plea Agreement filed August 10, 2006, JURAVEL pled guilty to traveling from Georgia to a location in Jefferson County, Alabama, to meet with what he believed to be a 12 year old boy and an 11 year old boy for illegal sex acts. JURVAL also admitted use of the internet to attempt to persuade induce, and entice the boys to meet him for sex. Through criminal forfeiture proceedings, a lap top computer which was seized at the time of arrest will be forfeited by JURAVEL. 

According to the plea agreement JURAVEL now faces 262 months imprisonment and a life time of supervised release. Additionally, JURAVEL also faces a fine which will be determined by the Court at the time of sentencing. A sentencing hearing date has not been set by the Court at this time. 

This case is significant in that it brings attention to a new Federal initiative: Project Safe Childhood which was launched earlier last month. Project Safe Childhood is a major Department endeavor where U.S. Attorneys will work together with local Department-funded Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, and all their other federal, state, and local partners, in unprecedented cooperative efforts to attack online pedophiles and pornographers. 

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Birmingham Police Department, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney John H. England, III is prosecuting this matter on behalf of the U.S. Government. 

United States Attorney's Office Press Releases are also on the Internet visit www.usdoj.gov/usao/aln 

Jill Ellis, Public Information Contact, 205-244-2015.

WTVM, GA - August 11, 2006

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. A Georgia man has pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of traveling to have sex with a child and use of the Internet to entice a child to engage in illegal sex acts.

30-year-old Samuel Zev Juravel of Savannah faces 262 months in jail and a lifetime of supervised release.
He also faces a fine that will be determined by the court. 

U-S- Attorney Alice H- Martin said -- quote -- "Be warned _ out of state child predators who travel to Alabama to harm our children will be prosecuted." 

In the plea agreement, Juravel pleaded guilty of traveling from Georgia to Jefferson County, Alabama to meet who he thought was an 11-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy for illegal sex acts. 

He also admitted to using the Internet to try to persuade, induce and entice the boys to meet him for sex.

Georgia man pleads guilty in FBI child sex sweep in Alabama
Associated Press - August 12, 2006

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A Georgia man has pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of traveling to have sex with a child and use of the Internet to entice a child to engage in illegal sex acts. 

Samuel Zev Juravel, 30, of Savannah, filed a plea bargain in United States District Court. He now faces 262 months in jail and a lifetime of supervised release. He also faces a fine to be determined by the court upon sentencing. 

"Be warned - out of state child predators who travel to Alabama to harm our children will be prosecuted," said U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. "We will protect our children through zealous prosecution of those who take advantage of and steal the innocence of childhood."
In the plea agreement, Juravel pleaded guilty of traveling from Georgia to Jefferson County, Ala. to meet with what he thought was an 11-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy for illegal sex acts. 

He also admitted to using the Internet to try to persuade, induce and entice the boys to meet him for sex. 

In line with criminal forfeiture proceedings, Juravel will forfeit a laptop computer seized at the time of arrest. 

The case highlights a new federal initiative, Project Safe Childhood, launched earlier this month. The project involves U.S. attorneys working together with local Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, as well as other federal, state and local officials, to fight online pedophiles and pornographers. 

This case involved the cooperation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Birmingham Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Georgia man handed lengthy sentence in child sex case
The Associated Press - September 14, 2006

Note From Jewish Whistleblower:
This is a huge victory for the efforts of those who put Juravel's survivors in touch with the FBI (The Awareness Center and the Jewish Survivors blog). Those efforts forced a very unfavorable plea agreement in a case where in the past people like Juravel got a slap on the wrist and no jail time. This is a very strong message to those in Baltimore who have protected Juravel and other sexual predators.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A Georgia man will serve a lengthy prison sentence following his conviction for traveling to have sex with a child and using the Internet to entice a child to engage in illegal sex acts. 

At a hearing yesterday, U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler ordered 30-year-old Samuel Zev Juravel of Savannah to serve 262 months (22 years) in prison. He must also remain under supervised probation for the rest of his life. 

Federal court records show Juravel admitted in a plea deal, that in March he drove from Savannah to Birmingham to meet what he believed to be were two boys, ages 12 and 11, for illegal sex acts. The youngsters turned out to be law enforcement officers.
Juravel's arrest and prosecution is part of the F-B-I's Project Safe Childhood. The program targets Internet crimes against children.

Today, Steve Is 25.
By Phil Jacobs 
Baltimore Jewish Times -  February 23, 2007

Editor's Note: It would be very difficult to write one definitive story on the issue of sexual molestation. With the clear understanding that there are many different, unique stories, we decided to tell the story of abuse through the experiences of one particular victim. This toxic problem is not exclusive to any one denomination of Judaism. It is, unfortunately, pervasive.

But we also understand that there is yet more to tell in the future, so this will be the first of an occasional series.

The teacher's son. Steve was 11.  (Case of Shmuel Juravel)
The yeshiva administrator. Steve was 13.  (Case of Yosef Meystel)
The attorney (Brad Hames). Steve was 15.  (Case of Brad Hames)

He graduated recently from Towson University with a degree in science. He is awaiting response to graduate school applications.

Steve is from an Orthodox family of eight children. He is no longer observant. Still, he remains close to his parents and siblings. He was a student at a Baltimore-area yeshiva and then a yeshiva high school in the Midwest.

But along the way, everything went so very wrong.

Steve still makes his home in the Orthodox community here in Baltimore. He was one of the disenfranchised teens who hung out over on the corner of Strathmore and Park Heights avenues. People grouped him and the others as "reject" kids. They had, the community said, "Fallen off the derech," fallen off the righteous path.

"I was probably taking more trips to the principal's office than most kids, because I liked to joke around," he remembered.

His fifth-grade rabbi held a summer camp for the boys. The highlight of the summer was an overnight camping trip to Glyndon. Steve remembers a barbecue, baseball and swimming.
It was an experience that was supposed to be fun. It should have been memorable. Instead, it started a process that Steve wishes he could forget.

That night, Steve and the friends in his tent just couldn't fall asleep and were talking. This is what children do when there's the excitement of camping, sleeping outside in tents on a summer night.

The cackling and giggling of the children drew attention, not from the rabbi but from his teenage son, who was acting as a chaperone on the trip. He told the boys to stop the noise. Finally, he told them to come to his tent.

"Shmuel Zev called us to his tent," said Steve. "He told us to lay down, and he started telling us stories. I noticed a hand where it shouldn't have been. It was weird."

Shmuel Zev Juravel, the rabbi's son, was fondling Steve.

"I knew something wasn't right, and I reacted, but he told me to be quiet or 'My father will hear you.' But I remember that one of the other kids started to laugh. Shmuel Zev was switching off between the four of us underneath the blankets."

Shmuel Zev apparently was known for this sort of behavior. Steve learned from others that he wasn't the first, nor would he be the last.

It wouldn't be the last experience for Steve, as well.

Shmuel Zev, now 30, is in federal prison, serving 21 years after he pleaded guilty to traveling to Alabama to have sex with two young boys. Juravel, an insurance salesman in Savannah, Ga., admitted to three counts of traveling to have sex with a child and the use of the Internet to entice a child to engage in illegal sexual acts.

He was arrested by the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents about a year ago at a Birmingham, Ala., hotel after he arranged to have sex with people he believed were to be 11- and 12-year-old boys. Juravel admitted using the Internet "to attempt to persuade, induce and entice boys to meet him for sex."

Juravel gained the attention of federal agents when he responded to an online advertisement for "rare and hard-to-find escort services," according to the U.S. District Court in Savannah. The ad was posted on the Internet by an undercover agent. Juravel requested 11- to 14-year-old boys for sex and child pornography DVDs, according to a government affidavit. According to newspaper accounts, Juravel mailed cash to a post office box in Birmingham and specified the child he wanted, along with another boy "on standby."

He arrived in Birmingham on Feb. 21, 2006, to find federal agents waiting for him.
News of his arrest didn't take long to spread, but it took Steve by surprise. He wasn't sure exactly how he would or could handle it.

"When I first heard he was caught, it put a fire underneath of me," said Steve. "When his story came out, it gave me a weird feeling. I felt as if I could have done more to prevent him from molesting other children. You know, the human mind is amazing, that someone could take this sort of action out on a child."

Shmuel Zev was, as Steve described it, "only the beginning of his experiences with people like this."

Like many Baltimore yeshiva boys, Steve went out of town to a high school yeshiva. His parents sent him to a major school in the central part of the country.

It would be good for him to get a fresh start and meet new faces. Plus, Steve describes himself as extremely neat and meticulous. It was important that the housing offered by any school be neat and not cluttered. And most importantly, it had to be a school that took secular courses seriously. His science, math, English and history courses had to mean something. He wanted to go to college one day.

His first weeks there, Steve described himself as being homesick. Nothing strange, especially for a 13-year-old who had never really been away from home before. He had a need to call home. There was a phone in a corridor, but that was way too public. He was embarrassed to let any of his classmates see the tears associated with homesickness. The only privacy he could have to speak to his parents on the telephone was located in the yeshiva administrator's room.

"He started befriending me," said Steve. "He allowed me use of the phone in his room, which was located next to the beis midrash [study hall] dorm. Once, I was using the phone in his room to call home. He pulled out a porno magazine. It was shocking, it didn't seem real."

The "price" to use the telephone privately was his administrator's obsession with these magazines.

"This went on," Steve continued. "I needed to use the phone to call my parents, and he'd be in the room with these porno magazines. He then asked me if I would masturbate in front of him. It was too much."

Steve kept silent about the incidents, about the request. He did feel harassed and coerced and confused. When he returned to the yeshiva in 10th grade, the same administrator kept offering him the explicit magazines.

Steve was a consistent A and B student, but now his grades started to drop. The administrator, he said, was now offering him money to masturbate in front of him. When Steve refused, the administrator grabbed him by the neck.

He would go on to finally tell a friend who would tell his father. Steve was told by the school's administration to keep the incident quiet. The administration received the complaint about its employee three days before parents' visiting day.

Three days later, the administrator was fired. And Steve started to take personal steps backward from his Orthodox lifestyle.

"I was told by the rabbis that I was using this as an excuse to not be as religious as I should be," he said.

When Steve learned that the administrator was engaged to be married, he had his mother telephone the bride's family to warn them. He was then called back into the office of the rosh yeshiva, or dean, where he was screamed at for "threatening the sanctity of marriage."
Steve's yeshiva experience ended with expletives directed at the rosh yeshiva and screamed so loudly that his classmates heard them come from behind the rosh yeshiva's closed door.

The administrator ended up on the staff of a Chicago-area nursing home. Its management was under question by state authorities for a number of reasons, including alleged sexual abuse charges in 2005.

The Chicago Sun Times reported that something like 10 sex offenders were living at the nursing center. Illinois also cited incidents in which residents were trading sex for cigarettes, passing out from drinking, and wandering off and setting fires inside the facility.
Steve would come back to his parents' home in Baltimore after the yeshiva experience. At first, he'd spend 18 hours a day just sleeping. He contemplated suicide. On one occasion, what kept him alive was simply hearing the happy voice of a younger little sister. He did not want to hurt her or miss her growing up.

But then came "the attorney." He was a ba'al teshuva, a returnee to observance, who became involved in the community, a guest of frum families in town for Shabbat lunches.

By now, Steve was 15 and still in a despondent state of mind. He and his family were introduced to the bright, vivacious young man. Steve said the attorney could sense there were issues, depression even. He would talk with the attorney, make light conversation at the Shabbos table.

The affable attorney invited Steve to go rent a movie with him and then head out to a "sister's" apartment in Columbia. The attorney rented the movie "Fargo." But when the movie was over, he put a porno movie in the VCR. There was, by the way, no sister in Columbia, Steve would later learn.

"I just started screaming," recalled Steve. "I asked to be taken home. He freaked out, and told me he'd take me right home, and he asked me not to tell anyone.

"You think you're climbing up a hill and you're about to emerge from it, and then there's a mudslide."

Steve kept silent, but then while in the neighborhood, he and a friend passed the attorney walking along Cross Country Boulevard on a Shabbat afternoon. Steve's friend volunteered, "There goes the child molester."

"He told me that the guy did stuff to him. The guy was a guest in his house, like, every Shabbos."

Steve and his friend did go to the rabbis, and the attorney has since left the Baltimore area. There were never any charges or disciplinary actions taken against the attorney.

In a meeting with a rabbinic official, Steve was told he should work hard in own personal life to be close to the "kisse ha coved" (the throne of glory). Instead, Steve wanted to kill the attorney who abused him. And for months, he and a friend would trash his car or stand outside of his Cross Country Manor apartment and yell expletives at his window.

"I thought sometimes that I had written on my forehead the words, 'Molest me.'"

There is a way Steve describes these incidents. He talked about how in a science class, he learned that a cheetah can sprint swiftly at short distances, but could never keep up with entire herds of gazelles, who can run at a quick rate for miles.

"But the cheetah," he said, "watches for hours until he can pick out the gazelle who is lame, or the young who can't find its mother. That's when it strikes."

What also started to "strike" Steve was the availability of drugs. He contends that an overwhelming number of his friends or acquaintances who were victimized by sexual predators would begin to self-medicate, be it with alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine or even heroin.

At 12-step meetings, he was overwhelmed by the number of sexual molestation incidents he would hear as part of the lives of those Jews in recovery. He was also, in a sense, relieved that he wasn't the only Jewish person victimized.

Steve smoked pot, but he said his priority was getting an education. He would go on to attend the Community College of Baltimore, earning his degree, and then attend Towson. He wants to work in the sciences.

"There's a lot of sick people out there," he said of sexual predators. "These people are in all of this for themselves. They do not care about anybody, about you or your mental state when they violate you. It's so rampant. It's like the AIDS virus, it's gone wildfire. For guys like me, there used to be a sanctity about Judaism that prevented these things from happening. That sanctity is gone. When it comes to religion, I might talk the talk, but I'll walk my own walk."

It "sickens" Steve to even walk into a synagogue these days. He called the yeshiva system a "breeding ground for sexual molestation."

He said the best "therapy" he's had has been to talk to other victims, or "survivors," as he calls them. There's an anger, tears are in his eyes as he gets ready to say his next comment, which simply is, "Nobody is ever going to hurt me again."

He spends his days working as the office manager of a medical facility. Many nights are spent in the gym, where the strenuous exercise he puts himself through is often the best therapy. He hopes to get his post-graduate education, and eventually find the woman of his dreams and raise a family. And he wants to continue doing what he can to make the issue of sexual molestation a bigger part of the social conversation.

"A lot of people overlook this thing, especially in the religious community," he said. "God forbid, we should talk about it," he said in a mimicking way. "But these predators are among us, and they are a danger to our children."

What of now, what of the future? Steve said he doesn't live through a day when he doesn't think about his abuse. He added that in his life, he has met a lot of "good people" who are also survivors.

Does he believe in God any longer? He quickly answers yes, it's the system that he said lets him and other survivors down.

In his discussion, he'll insert a word of Torah, an expression of Hebrew here and there. It's the neshamah (soul) of this young man speaking. He sees many Jews in terms of the biblical description erev rav, or mixed multitudes.

"These are the people who gave us the story of the egel, the golden calf," he said. "These are people who say they are Jewish, dress like they are Jewish, but then go ahead and hide from the reality of sexual abuse. It's like they think it will just go away, or it would never happen in the Jewish community."

If there is a hero in his life, he quickly points to his grandmother, who survived the Holocaust.

"When I think I've been through some bad times, I try to pick up the phone and talk to her. She's in her 80s, and I know if she's OK, then I know I'll be OK."

His answer for the future is to educate the public.

"This is a big deal. It's like if you throw a pebble in the water, it creates a ripple effect, that's how we have to educate people about what we've been through."

Steve's eyes are intense and he's staring off to the side.

"Considering what I have been through," he said. "I'm going to be OK."

Steve's Dad
"It's affected my wife and the entire family, and it's been going on through years." Steve's dad is the child of Holocaust survivors. Israeli born, he's survived two wars. Yet, he's never seen such a struggle as the one his abused son has lived through. "This isn't like a medical problem, you treat it and it's over," he said. "This is a lifetime problem, and it takes a long time to recover from sexual abuse."

The family did approach an attorney and Steve's yeshiva was questioned. But key evidence, said his dad, was destroyed by the yeshiva administration, evidence that might have resulted in charges against the former administrator. When reached on his cell phone, the person at the Center of Steve's nightmare admitted that he was the former administrator of the Midwest yeshiva. But when given details of the former student's allegations against him, he responded by saying, "I have no idea what you are talking about." He hung up the phone. By press time, a call to the yeshiva president, himself, was not returned.

The yeshiva authorities, Steve's dad said, ended up victimizing the victims of their administrator. And both he and his wife suspect that their son hasn't told them everything, that the abuse was much worse.

"I would never suspect something of this nature existing in the religious community," said the dad. "I would expect that the yeshivas would address these issues as soon as they discover them. It appears that the people who abused my son were both known to have these tendencies, yet they were kept in their positions. But because I didn't suspect anything, I never exposed my kids to these possibilities of abuse. Before kids go to yeshiva, I feel parents should educate them about sex offenders.

"We read news accounts of Palestinian terrorists who disguise themselves in the clothing of Orthodox Jews and then they blow themselves up as suicide bombers," continued the dad.
"A person who wears the clothing of an Orthodox Jew and molests another person is the same as that suicide bomber, only he's killing the soul of a child."

Why Is This A Big Deal?
So Steve was touched on his penis, asked to masturbate in front of another man, and pressured to watch a porno movie.

There are those who might scoff at the notion that these acts constitute sexual molestation. They might also ask why Steve simply can't "get over it" and move on with his life. After all, the sexual molestation could have been a great deal worse. Why is all of this such a big deal? Yet for Steve and survivors of sexual molestation, these actions of abuse, no matter how major or minor, impact them every day of their lives.

Lisa Ferentz, a clinical social worker based in Pikesville, and the creator of a certificate program in Advanced Trauma Treatment, has spent years working with survivors of sexual abuse. Ms. Ferentz believes that "we should never minimize acts of sexual molestation because the experience profoundly affects a child's fundamental sense of trust and safety in the world. Regardless of what is attempted or done to a victim, it can lead to a deep sense of loss. There is the loss of safety, innocence, appropriate boundaries, protection, trust, physical and emotional safety. Having to keep the abuse a secret exacerbates a sense of rage, shame and despair. This can lead to a multitude of inevitable symptoms and problems as the survivor develops. When the pain is overwhelming, many survivors attempt to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. The experience can be truly life-altering."
In addition, she said it is not unusual for a person to be repeatedly victimized, often by multiple perpetrators.

"When children are abused and threatened into silence, they often exude a vulnerability, helplessness and despair that resonates for perpetrators, making them potentially easy targets. Pedophiles look for kids who are lacking in self-esteem, despondent or passive. They tend to stay away from kids who appear to be confident, happy and strong. They want to make sure their victim will not put up a fight, and won't tell anyone afterward. Sadly, survivors are left asking themselves, 'What am I doing to attract these people?' Although abuse is never the victim's fault, this questioning begins a spiral of self-blame, guilt and shame. And it decreases the survivor's ability to advocate for safety in the future."
Ms. Ferentz suggests that victims or survivors start their journey toward healing by "finding someone they can trust to disclose to: someone they know will absolutely believe them. Therapy is an important tool toward recovery. With the proper support and guidance, victims can truly survive and transcend their abuse."

Convicted sex offender Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt and the Vaad of Baltimore
By Vicki Polin
Examiner - August 1, 2012
Earlier today Rabbi Stanley Levitt plead guilty to sexually assaulting several young boys back in the 1970s. The assaults occurred in a Boston area hospital and another at a sleepover in his Brighton, MA home.

Tomorrow morning 66 year-old Levitt could face up to 40 years in prison on the four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. According to reports, prosecutors on this case say they are seeking prison time.

Over the last several years Rabbi Stanley Levitt resided in both Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Since 2009, The Awareness Center (International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault), started warning the Vaad Harabonim Baltimore (Jewish Religious Court) of the serious nature of allegations made against Rabbi Levitt. The organization requested that the Vaad help to warn community members of the dangers . . . and also publish suggested protocols in hopes of protecting unsuspecting children from becoming the next victim of this (now convicted) sexual predator. Unfortunately, nothing was done.
On July 15th an article was written and published stating that Baltimore Vaad member -- Rabbi Moshe Hauer wrote a letter to the community warning them about Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt. Unfortunately, due to political games often played by rabbonim in the ultra-orthodox world -- the scheduled letter was never mailed.

According to a reliable source at the last minute, due to political pressures, Rabbi Hauer decided not to send the letter to community members, and later appeared to be holding the letter hostage as a means of having the article removed from the internet. At the time there were numerous phone calls and emails in which threats were made against the author of the article. Some of these threats were made by a highly respected social worker who runs the Shofar Coalition, which is an organization connected with the Jewish Federation of Baltimore.

The truth is that like in many other ultra-orthodox Jewish communities, religious leaders in Baltimore have an extended history of protecting alleged and convicted sex offenders and then shaming, blaming and harassing survivors and their family members who make police reports without their permission or speak out.

It is well known in Baltimore’s religious circles, that Shearith Israel Congregation (also known as the Glenn Ave. Shul), is the “Davening Headquarters” for both alleged and convicted sex offenders.

Besides Rabbi Levitt calling this synagogue home, so does Cantor Stuart Friedman, Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau and from time to time Rabbi Moshe Eisemann.

The "Glenn Avenue Shul" is under the leadership of Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, who is also the long time president of the Vaad Harbonim of Baltimore.

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer is also known as the “go to rabbi” when it comes to protecting sexual predators. A perfect example of this was seen in the case of Samuel (Shmuel) Juravel, a young man who was caught in an internet sting back in 2005. 

When Shmuel was younger it was known by the Vaad that he was molesting younger boys within the Baltimore community. Instead of making police or hotline reports, the Vaad “monitored his behavior” and also assisted in helping him find a bride when he was old enough to marry. 

According to a reliable source, after Shmuel Juravel left Baltimore and relocated to Atlanta -- Rabbi Hopfer contacted the Atlanta area Vaad, and informed them of the allegations of child molestation. No hotline or police reports were ever made. Instead the Atlanta rabbis felt they could monitor Juravel on their own. Their monitoring included allowing this sexual predator to teach bar mitzvah lessons to eleven-year-old boys from within their community.

Knowing how the Vaad of Baltimore operated, it was not a big surprise that Rabbi Stanley Levitt made Baltimore his second home.

Can we trust the rabbonim of Baltimore to really monitor Rabbi Stanley Levitt?

By Vicki Polin
Examiner - August 3, 2012

Yesterday Rabbi Stanley Levitt received 10 years probation and is required to register as a sex offender, after pleading guilty on charges of sexually assaulting 3 boys in Boston. It's been reported that he’ll also have to wear a ankle monitoring device. If he violates any of the terms of his probation he will end up in jail. According to a reliable source, Levitt has chosen Baltimore, MD as his place of residence.

After the sentencing hearing one of the individuals who was victimized by Levitt stated: “this will mean that another life will be ruined for him to end up in prison, and I went through all of this so that wouldn’t be the case. . . All we can do is hope he violates his probation without harming another child.”

The issue still remains of how prepared the ultra-orthodox community of Baltimore will be to keep the children in their community safe? Considering the track history of being non-compliant with Jewish law, which requires all adults to be mandated reporters, let alone stonewalling law enforcement officials during several past investigations of possible child molestation, one has to realize that the Baltimore orthodox community is becoming a sort of mecca for Jewish sexual predators residing in the United States.

Shmuel Zev Juravel is a quintessential example of how ineffective rabbinical "monitoring" is of sex offenders, especially in Baltimore’s ultra-orthodox community. Juravel was known by Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer to have molested many boys within the eruv (Jewish community), but was never reported to the secular authorities, as he comes from an internationally highly respected, prestigious rabbinical family, who had strong ties to the Baltimore community. When Shmuel Juravel moved to Savannah, GA, Rabbi Hopfer notified the Orthodox rabbi there that Mr. Juravel should be "monitored" around children.

At the time Shmuel Juravel was married with four sons of his own. It didn’t stop him from allegedly molesting several other boys in the Savannah community as well. He was finally stopped by the FBI in an internet sting operation for soliciting boys on Craigs List and then crossing state lines to meet the alleged victim. The now, 35 year-old inmate is now incarcerated, serving a 22 year sentence in the federal prison system in Otisville, NY. He’s scheduled to be released on March 28, 2024.

The Awareness Center is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault. Since 2001 they have attempted to warn the Baltimore community about numerous alleged and convicted sexual predators from within their own community. Unfortunately, their cries have been ignored. Besides Shmuel Juravel, The Awareness Center has attempted to warned not only community members, but also the Vaad Harabonim (orthodox board of rabbis), in which Rabbi Hopfer is president.

Rabbi Moshe Eisemann is a 76-year-old, highly respected author and religious leader. For many years he was the Mashgiach Ruchni (head spiritual advisor) at Ner Israel High School and College. According to a reliable source, throughout the years at Ner Israel, there were mumblings of him molesting boys (both minors and those slightly past their 18th birthdays). Instead of making hotline or police reports, the administration at Ner Israel decided to handle the allegations quietly and internally.

Instead of doing the right thing, Ner Israel did what many prestigious organizations, institutions and schools do around the globe -- they shifted the alleged offender to another position -- yet allowed Eisemann to live on the high school/college campus and also allowed him to privately tutor students in his home -- without any type of supervision.
Back in 2006, The Awareness Center did their best to publicize the allegations made against Rabbi Moshe Eisemann of the molestation of teenage boys including the few who were molested who were over the age of 18. At the time hotline reports were made, yet due to the fact that none of the alleged victims resided in his home, and the investigators were stonewalled, nothing could be done.

In 2007, after the exposé, "Ner Israel Rabbi Alleged Abuser: When Whispers Get Louder" was published by the Baltimore Jewish times, The Awareness Center put out a call for action, which five years later has still been ignored.

The organization demanded the following protocols be set up to keep students safe:
  1. Rabbi Moshe Eisemann immediately be move off the campus of Ner Israel.
  2. Rabbi Eisemann cease teaching and or tutoring students in his home or else where.
  3. Rabbi Moshe Eisemann have absolutely no contact with children or male adults under the age of 40. (According to Jewish custom, forty is the age in which a man is considered mature enough to study Kabbalah and less likely be able to be sexually manipulated by an sexual predator).
  4. Rabbi Moshe Eisemann be immediately evaluated by a licensed mental health professional who specializes in sex offenders. The professional must be approved by The Awareness Center, Inc. to insure the professional is not biased nor associated with Ner Israel any other individual or organization.
  5. Artscroll/Mesorah publications cease and desist from publishing, selling or distributing any books created by Moshe Eisemann.
  6. All books written by Moshe Eisemann be banned by every yeshiva (seminaries) in the US and abroad.
  7. Rabbi Moshe Eisemann not be allowed to leave the United States.
  8. Ner Israel Rabbinical College finance a team of child abuse experts who will evaluate all past and present students of Rabbi Moshe Eisemann to determine if there are any more survivors. The team of experts will be approved by The Awareness Center to insure things are handled properly and appropriately.
Considering the track record of Baltimore’s orthodox Jewish religious leaders of doing nothing to protect the community from sexual predators, it’s difficult to believe that anything has change. Needless to say, without public outcry nothing will change and individuals like Rabbi Stanley Levitt will continue to offend.
The Awareness Center also asks that the following individuals be contacted:
President of the Vaad of Baltimore:
Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer - Shearith Yisrael (Glen Ave. Shul):
Phone: 410-466-3060 Fax: 410-367-9183
Ner Israel Rabbinical College (and High School):
Phone: 410-484-7200
Rabbi Aharon Feldman - Rosh Yeshiva (Head of the School)
Rabbi Beryl Weisbord - Dean of Students
Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger - President
Artscroll/Mesorah Publications
Phone: 718-921-9000 Fax: 718-680-1875
Rabbi Nosson Scherman, the General Editor
Meir Zlotowitz - Founder of Artscroll Publications

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