If anyone has a photograph of Mordechai Ehrman, please forward it to The Awareness Center.
- Day-Care Abuse Alleged B'klyn DA investigates charges at Midwood center (03/08/1990)
- Inquiry Begun Into Claim Of Child Abuse at Center (03/09/1990)
- Preschool Owner Denies Sex Charges (03/09/1990)
- Child-abuse claims probed; N.Y. day-care centre for Orthodox Jews is under investigation, assemblyman says (03/10/1990)
- Other news to note (03/10/1990)
- B'klyn Rabbis Back Sex-Abuse Charges (05/15/1990)
- In the matter of Morton Ehrman, Appellant, v. Cesar A. Perales, etc., Et Al. Respondents (06/19/1990)
- Food Stamp Charges Stick to B'klyn Man (08/16/1990)
|District Attorney Charles Hynes|
By Frank J. Prial
|NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind|
By Bob Liff
Newsday - March 9, 1990
As several parents yesterday continued to say their children were sexually abused at a closed Brooklyn preschool for Orthodox Jewish youngsters, the owner of the preschool denied the charges and said she and her husband will be vindicated.
Meanwhile, the predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Midwood, where Mordechai and Tova Ehrman ran the Simcha Play Group from their home, was embroiled in a bitter round of accusations and counteraccusations growing out of parents' claims that more than 50 children were abused at the preschool.
As many as 60 children from the ages of 2 1/2 to 5 have been interviewed by assistants to Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, and perhaps five of the children's comments are being further investigated, a source familiar with the case said yesterday. The source said while some medical evidence exists indicating abuse might have occurred, it is inconclusive and has not been linked to Mordechai Ehrman, who also drove the bus for the preschool operated by his wife. The couple closed the preschool in the fall when allegations first surfaced.
An investigation by the city's Child Welfare Administration into allegations involving two children led to a letter the Ehrmans received late yesterday from the state Department of Social Services - which has oversight for city child abuse investigations - deeming those accusations "unfounded," according to A. David Stern, Ehrman's attorney and cousin.
"No credible evidence was found that the child (children) has been abused or maltreated," the letter said, as read by Stern. "The report has therefore been considered unfounded."
Soon after accusations began spreading in the neighborhood in October that Ehrman, 49, had abused children, he was called before a special rabbinical court - where observant Jews often resolve differences - and ordered to sign what Ehrman described as a confession.
Ehrman, an Orthodox Jew, refused, and sent out an open letter to "parents and rabbis" in which he called the accusations "vile and disgusting," and said they were "false and slanderous."
Some neighborhood leaders say the community is split between Syrian-born parents who are Sephardic Jews, who are cooperating with Hynes' investigation, and Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish parents of European descent, who wanted to keep the dispute before a Beth Din, or rabbinical court.
On several occasions over the last five months, angry parents confronted Ehrman at his East Fifth Street house, according to Ehrman and parents. One occasion resulted in fisticuffs between Ehrman and the father of one of the children, with each man filing charges against the other.
"We are the only victims here, my husband, my children and me," Tova Ehrman, who started the preschool six years ago, said yesterday. The couple has 10 children. She described the allegations against her husband as "total lies and falsehoods, willful and calculated."
While anonymous posters in Midwood accuse Ehrman's wife of taking part in abuse, an investigative source said Wednesday no allegations have been made involving Tova Ehrman.
"Only him," the source said. Ehrman has cooperated with investigators, and voluntarily took a lie detector test, which he passed, according to documents supplied to investigators by Stern.
Meanwhile, four parents of children who attended the preschool yesterday called New York Newsday to say their children, some as young as 3 years old, described events the parents called sexual abuse.
"My son has been waking up every night screaming," said the mother of a 4 1/2-year-old boy who, she said, has a scar on his penis that doctors believe may be the result of abuse. "You tell me how a child that age can even make up these things."
Another Brooklyn mother yesterday said her daughter, who was 4 when she attended the preschool, described games involving many children that the mother described as abuse. State Assemb. Dov Hikind, D-Borough Park, who brought 70 parents to meet with Hynes last month, said Wednesday "there is no doubt terrible things happened" at the preschool.
Child-abuse claims probed; N.Y. day-care centre for Orthodox Jews is under investigation, assemblyman says
By Frank J. Prial
The Gazette - March 10, 1990
NEW YORK - The Brooklyn district attorney is investigating charges that dozens of children were sexually molested last year at an unlicensed day-care centre in Brooklyn which has now closed, according to participants in the case.
A spokesman for district attorney Charles Hynes refused to confirm or deny that an investigation was under way, but the Democratic assemblyman from Brooklyn, Dov Hikind, said he and more than 70 parents of children who had attended the school met with Hynes on Feb. 6 to discuss what they contended was slow progress in the investigation.
The operator of the school was Mordechai "Morton" Ehrman, participants in the case said. He ran the school, known as the Simcha Play Group, at his home in the Midwood section.
Working with him at the school were his wife, Tova, several of his 10 children and an undetermined number of hired teachers.
Ehrman's lawyer, his cousin, David Stern, said that four complaints by parents about the Ehrmans had been investigated by the Special Services for Children division of the Human Resources Department.
He said the files had been closed this year for lack of evidence.
He said that the Ehrmans had been subject to a campaign of intimidation, threats and harassment since the charges first surfaced last year and that they had received no help from the city.
"No one gives a damn," he said.
No charges have been filed against Ehrman or anyone in his family, but Hikind said he understood that evidence is being heard in the case.
All the families involved are Orthodox Jews, Hikind said, and some had been cautioned by their rabbis not to make their complaints public because they might embarrass the Jewish community.
Other rabbis in the neighborhood encourged the parents to press charges against the Ehrmans. "Some rabbis even urged them from the pulpit," Hikind said.
Other news to note
Orlando Sentinel - March 10, 1990
DAY-CARE TROUBLES. The Brooklyn district attorney is investigating charges that dozens of children were sexually molested at a now- closed, unlicensed day-care center in Brooklyn last year, participants in the case say. A spokesman for District Attorney Charles J. Hynes refused to confirm or deny that an investigation was under way, but Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, said he and more than 70 parents of children who had attended the school met with Hynes on Feb. 6 to discuss what they contended was slow progress in the investigation. The operator of the school was Mordechai "Morton" Ehrman, participants in the case said. He ran the school, known as the Simcha Play Group, at his home. The controversy first came to light when a mother went to her rabbi complaining that her 3-year- old daughter had been molested at the school.
B'klyn Rabbis Back Sex-Abuse Charges
By Alexis Jetter
Newsday - May 15, 1990
"Both the accusers and the accused have been waiting for this Jewish court to act," said Assemb. Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn). "They are very respected, and now that they have made a very clear statement in regard to this, I hope the DA's office will follow through."
They formally requested that Ehrman continue to abide by a pledge, which they said he signed in October, 1989, to refrain from opening another preschool while the investigation is continuing. Ehrman closed the school in the fall when allegations first surfaced.
Some neighborhood leaders said the Bais Din was necessary because Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish parents of European descent preferred to keep the matter before a Jewish court. Syrian-born, Sephardic Jews whose children were allegedly abused are said to be cooperating with the District Attorney's office.
IN THE MATTER OF MORTON EHRMAN, APPELLANT, v. CESAR A. PERALES, ETC., ET AL., RESPONDENTS
June 18, 1990
In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78, inter alia, to review a determination of the respondent Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services, dated August 20, 1985, which denied the petitioner's application for food stamp benefits, the petitioner appeals from an order and judgment (one paper) of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Hutcherson, J.), dated September 27, 1988, which denied his motion for an award of attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 USC ? 1988.
Lawrence J. Bracken, J.p., Sybil Hart Kooper, Isaac Rubin, Sondra Miller, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
Contrary to the petitioner's contention, we conclude that the Supreme Court properly denied his request for attorney's fees pursuant to 42 USC ? 1988 inasmuch as his cause of action is not a bona fide civil rights cause of action pursuant to 42 USC ? 1983 (see, Matter of Cruz v Perales, A.D.2d [2d Dept., Feb. 20, 1990]; Matter of Rashid v Perales, A.D.2d [2d Dept., Dec., 26, 1989]).
Food Stamp Charges Stick to B'klyn Man
By Patricia Hurtado
Newsday - August 16, 1990
The head of a defunct Brooklyn day-care center is accused of illegally obtaining $3,000 worth of food stamps, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office announced yesterday.
Mordechai Ehrman, 49, of Brooklyn's Midwood section, surrendered to authorities yesterday and was charged with 13 counts that include grand larceny, filing false applications with the state Department of Social Service and falsifying false business records.
He pleaded innocent to the charges at his arraignment before State Supreme Court Justice Michael Curci yesterday afternoon. In an unusual move, Curci ordered Ehrman held overnight without bail. Leonard Robertson, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said that the judge had issued the order because of a delay in processing fingerprints.
Ehrman faces 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge of grand larceny.
Ehrman, who operated the Simcha Play group at his home, is at the center of allegations that dozens of children were sexually molested at his facility. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said he had "no comment" on the the five-month-old grand jury investigation.
But Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat, said yesterday that he had been told that the grand jury had concluded its investigation. He said he was concerned that Ehrman has not been charged in that case.
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