This page is dedicated to the courage bravery of the child survivors and family members in this case.
At one point the mother was offered hundreds of thousands of pounds to stop her young children giving evidence against two men accused of abusing them, she refused. At that point there were a series of attacks against the family. They had no choice but to move to various secret location after their home was besieged by a mob –– even though Rabbi Henoch Dov Padwa condemned the acts of intimidation and violence.
If you have a photograph of Phillip Eli Cohen or any more information about this case, please forward it to The Awareness Center.
- Law Case News (05/16/1991)
- Child case men can be named (05/17/1991)
- Mother 'Was Offered Money to Stop Children's Evidence' (05/22/1991)
- Child abuse hidden by Jewish sect, court told (05/22/1991)
- Mother 'was offered blood money' (05/23/1991)
- Repression 'led to abuse' (06/14/1991)
- Jury Told of 'Hole' in Child Sex Prosecution (06/25/1991)
- 'Immature' Student Gets Six Months For Assault On Girl, 5 (06/26/1991)
- Student gets six months for indecently assaulting girl (07/21/1991)
- Abuse Case Teenager Freed (08/02/1991)
- Family of sex abuse victim driven from home by mob (08/02/1991)
- Family menaced by 'a community trapped in past (08/03/1991)
- Youth 'repressed by sect' freed (08/03/1991)
- Jewish code of silence hushes scandals (08/04/1991)
- Jewish leader tells community to welcome back ostracised family (08/09/1991)
- Jewish sex abuse family 'hunted' (08/11/1991)
- A law unto themselves (08/11/1991)
- Jewish couple get police protection (08/12/1991)
- Women: The outsiders (08/28/1991)
- Senior lawmen help victimised Jews (05/17/1992)
By Geoff Frost
Press Association - May 16, 1991, Thursday
A Crown Court judge's order banning the Press from naming two men accused of sex offences against children was set aside as unlawful by the Court of Appeal today.
Three judges held that the Children and Young Persons Act could properly be used to protect young victims of assault from being identified, but could not be extended to hide the identities of accused adults.
The decision was a victory for campaigning news agency journalist Caroline Godwin, who challenged the ruling made by Judge Laurie at Southwark Crown Court last month. Her appeal was supported by the Daily Telegraph, Mirror Group Newspapers, Associated Newspapers and the Newspaper Publishing group.
The decision lifted the embargo on naming Phillip Eli Cohen and Jonathan Rosenthal, both of Riverside Road, Stamford Hill, North London. They are currently on trial at Southwark accused of indecency against a young boy and girl.
Their lawyers had urged that naming the pair could lead to the children being identified as they all lived in a close-knit Jewish community. Lord Justice Glidewell, sitting in London with Mr Justice Popplewell and Mr Justice May, said the trial judge was rightly concerned to act in the interests of the children.
But section 39 of the Act, on which he based his ruling, did not, as a matter of law, embrace or envisage the non-naming of defendants.
The trial judge himself conceded that he would welcome the Court of Appeal's guidance. Lord Justice Glidewell, in a general observation, said: "Our combined experience is that judges frequently give advice which the media representatives invariably respect."
Miss Godwin, who conducted her own case in court, had told the judges that Judge Laurie's ruling had "set a dangerous precedent". Told that she could recover her costs from public funds, Miss Godwin thanked the judges but stressed that it was the principle that was important. The newspaper groups were also allowed costs from public funds
The woman, who cannot be named because it would identify her children, said it would have been "blood money". She rejected an allegation that she negotiated with members of her community who did not want her to go to the police.
The mother told Southwark Crown Court: "I have been personally offered money to go away. "I say to people that, even if I was offered a million pounds, we would not go away." When it was suggested she had negotiated a £250,000 fee for keeping her children out of court, the woman said: "No. It would be blood money for the children's suffering."
Student Philip Eli Cohen, 18, of Riverside Road, Stamford Hill, north-east London, denies one charge of buggery and 13 charges of indecently assaulting the woman's 12-year-old son, and four offences of indecently assaulting her six-year-old daughter.
Community police liaison officer Jonathan Rosenthal, 40, also of Riverside Road, denies three charges of indecently assaulting the girl and one similar offence against the boy.
The alleged assaults began in 1986, when the boy was seven and the girl one-and-a-half.
The court has been told Rosenthal comes from a famous Jewish family and that his father was a highly esteemed scholar and headmaster.
Rosenthal is the member of the community who liases with the police whenever an Orthodox Jew is in trouble.
The mother told the court she had been "excommunicated" by other orthodox Jews and alleged a rabbi had told one of her brothers to lie in court to protect Rosenthal.
She described Rosenthal as a "dangerous paedophile who nearly murdered little babies" and accused him of torturing and almost drowning her daughter. Barrister Jonathan Goldberg, defending Rosenthal, accused the mother of telling a pack of lies. He put it to her that she was hated by her community and had been guilty of hysterical exaggeration throughout her life. The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.
The jury's decision last week to use an "ancient" common-law right to acquit community police liaison officer Jonathan Rosenthal of indecently assaulting the children had shown it would not be right to convict Cohen on their evidence. Cohen, 18, of Riverside Road, Stamford Hill, north London, denies nine charges of indecently assaulting the boy and three similar offences involving the girl in the trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Miss Curnow said her client should be cleared of all charges, with the exception of one involving the girl as he had admitted "touching" her on the two occasions covered by the charge. "Your verdicts in relation to Jonathan Rosenthal must mean that a very substantial hole has been blown in the bedrock, the foundation, of the Crown's case because in the end ... this case depends entirely on those children," she said.
In her final address to the jury, Miss Curnow said the trial had "proceeded for all its length without a scintilla of corroboration at all of either child." Turning to the five days of evidence from the children's mother, Miss Curnow said: "She lied and she lied and she lied again and she didn't care whom she lied about."
She had "revelled" in the attention the case brought her and had enjoyed the "feeling of power" she had over Cohen and his former co-defendant. It would never be known to what extent she had "coached" the children in their allegations, but they must have been "infected" by her exaggeration and lies. The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.
Student Phillip Eli Cohen, 18, who blamed his behaviour on "evil impulses" and repressive upbringing, looked stunned as Judge Robin Laurie told him he "richly deserved" a custodial sentence. While he accepted that Cohen, of Riverside Road, Stamford Hill, north London, was immature and not street-wise, he was an intelligent young man with an "element of brass if not metal in his character".
"Anyone can see that these assaults have done enormous damage," said the judge. He told Cohen, a member of the orthodox Yekers community, that one of the most serious aspects of the case was the effect it would have on the girl. "In my judgment, this offence is so grave that a non-custodial sentence cannot be justified." He added: "It is high time in my view that you paid the penalty that any other young man in the same circumstances would be expected to pay, which in my view, you richly deserve." Cohen was convicted of the offence four weeks ago after a two-month trial at Southwark Crown Court.
He was cleared of three other offences of indecently assaulting the girl as well as 13 allegations of indecency and one of buggery against the girl's older brother. When the trial opened, the prosecution claimed Cohen had subjected the two children to years of sadistic sexual abuse. John Hilton QC, prosecuting, alleged Cohen had "indulged his sexual fantasies" by abusing the children and dressing up in their mother's clothes during evening sex sessions while the parents were out.
The children made numerous allegations in court against him, but defence counsel Ann Curnow QC maintained their evidence had been orchestrated by their mother and could not be relied upon. The court was told the family also had a long history of psychiatric difficulties. After learning that her daughter had been sexually molested, the mother wrote to Cohen threatening to kill him if he came near her children again. Cohen wrote back apologising for his actions, saying he had succumbed to evil impulses.
The sentence passed last Friday on Philip Eli Cohen, 18, from the North London Yekers community, was understandable, said Mr Justice Pill in the Court of Appeal. But the impact of a long trial on other charges, of which he was cleared, and a short period in custody was sufficient punishment, said the judge, sitting with Lord Justice Watkins and Mr Justice Rose. "We feel enough is enough."
Cohen, of Riverside Road, Stamford Hill, jailed by Judge Robin Laurie at Southwark Crown Court for indecently assaulting a five-year-old girl, was put on probation for 12 months.
Mr Justice Pill said Cohen, a trusted child minder for another family in the community, touched the girl under her nightie while her older brother was absent. Cohen had always admitted the assault, but following allegations made by both children to their mother he had to undergo a two-month trial, along with Jonathan Rosenthal, 41, on numerous indecency charges.
The children gave evidence on video and behind a screen in court. Rosenthal, a senior figure in the community, and Cohen were acquitted of all those charges.
At the trial, the court was told that Cohen's repressive upbringing in the orthodox community had led to his having no outlet for normal adolescent urges.
Sex was a taboo subject in the sect.
The trial judge accepted Cohen's remorse and the "long and harrowing" wait he endured before being dealt with for the admitted indecent assault, which took place in January last year.
The judge also recognised that Cohen's education would be interrupted by detention and that character evidence given for him by his rabbi was impressive. But Cohen "richly deserved" custody, he said. Cohen's counsel, Miss Ann Curnow QC, told the appeal judges that a custodial sentence was not necessary.
She added that Cohen was deeply ashamed and embarrassed over the "lurid" publicity given to the case by the tabloid press. Mr Justice Pill said: "We criticise the judge in no way for imposing a custodial sentence. However we feel able today to approach the case in a somewhat differentway."
|Rabbi Henoch Padwa condemned |
the acts of intimidation and violence
A law unto themselves: Eli Cohen was given 12 months probation for indecently assaulting a strictly orthodox Jewish girl. For the girl's family, hounded from their home and terrorised by their own community, the sentence is for life.