Tuesday, August 08, 2000

Case of David Schwartz

Case of David Schwartz

(AKA: David William Schwartz, David W. Schwartz, D. William Schwartz, Dovid Schwartz)

 Camp Counselor, Camp Ruach - Culver City, CA
Social Studies Teacher, Yeshivat Yavneh Middle School - Hancock Park, CA
(Pico-Robertson) Los Angeles, CA

Even though David Schwartz is required to register as a sex offender for life, he is not listed on the California or National Registry.  It is believed he left the country and may be residing outside of the United States  There are rumors floating that he is in Israel.

There are several people who's name is David William Schwartz.  The individual discussed on this page was born October 20, 1966.

David William Schwartz is a convicted sex offender.  At the time of his offenses he was a counselor for a preschool for boys at an Jewish orthodox camp for the arts.  He was originally sentenced a six-year prison sentence was suspended.  Instead he was sentenced to one year in residential treatment and five years' probation.  

The sentencing came after Schwartz, accepted a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest to one felony count of committing lewd acts with a child. 

According to California law, a plea of no contest in a criminal court is the equivalent of guilty, but if victims decide to sue Schwartz, they cannot use the criminal plea against him, according to the district attorney's office.)

According to his plea agreement, Schwartz was require to register as a sex offender for life, undergo at least two years of sex offender therapy and is prohibited from being alone with minor children, including his own, for the period of probation. He will have to pay restitution to various victims' funds and pay the therapy and medical costs of both the 4-year-old victim and another boy.

Upon Schwartz's release from prison , Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader at the Airport Courthouse ordered Schwartz to stay out of an area roughly encompassing the Pico-Robertson and south Westwood neighborhoods. In addition, Schwartz must stay 100 yards away from a list of synagogues and schools where some of his victims may attend.

In a letter filed with the court by the Rabbinic Council of California'(RCC) also requested the judge also prohibit Schwartz from attending any synagogue where children are present and only allow him to attend synagogues populated mostly by senior citizens. They also asked that Schwartz be ordered stay away from all schools and be prohibited from using the mikvah (ritual bath).  Judge Katherine Mader rejected those recommendations.


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Table of Contents:

  1. Camp Counselor Accused of Molestation (08/8/2000) 
  1. A supervisor at a Los Angeles-area Orthodox day camp was charged with sexually abusing two boys, ages 4 and 5 (08/16/2002) 
  2. Camp Counselor Charged With Child Molestation (08/06/2002) 
  3. Police Arrest Jewish Camp Counselor On Molestation Charges (08/05/2002) 
  1. Child Molester Sent to Treatment Center (02/07/2003) 
  2. Letters to the Editor: David Schwartz (02/14/2003) 
  3. Schools Adopt Guide to Block Sex Abuse (06/19/2003) 
  1. Rabbis' Tact Puts Sex Victims First (03/18/2004)

Camp Counselor Accused of Molestation
By Julie Gruenbaum Fax
Jewish Journal.com - August 8, 2000

A 35-year-old counselor at an Orthodox day camp was arrested last Sunday after two preschool boys told their parents that the counselor had sexually abused them.

David Schwartz, a counselor at Camp Ruach in Culver City, has been charged with six felony counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with minors under 14 and one misdemeanor of indecent exposure. He is awaiting arraignment at the Culver City jail, where he is being held for $300,000 bail, which was reduced from the original $1 million bail.

The boys, ages 4 and 5, came forward on Friday, Aug. 2, their last day this summer at Camp Ruach, a music and arts camp for Orthodox boys. The parents went to the police late Saturday night, after Shabbat, and took the children to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to be examined. Early Sunday, the LAPD passed the case to the Culver City Police Department, who arrested Schwartz, a married man with young children, outside of Congregation Anshe Emes on Robertson Boulevard near Pico Boulevard after morning services on Sunday.

Police are continuing the investigation to determine whether there are more victims, according to Lt. Dave Takenson of the Culver City Police Department.

The case is being handled by Stuart House, a cutting-edge facility at Santa Monica Hospital where the police, the district attorney, social workers and medical personnel all work together so the children are subjected to only one interview.

"We put our heart, soul and personal means into this camp with a dream that Jewish kids should be able to have Torah with music and art in their lives. The accusations are truly heartrending and devastating to all involved," read a statement from Rabbi David and Rena Sudaley, who founded the camp last summer.

Schwartz, who worked at Camp Ruach last summer as well, has been a social studies teacher at the Yeshivat Yavneh middle school in Hancock Park for three years. Both camp and school officials say that until now, Schwartz has had a clean record with no complaints.

Rabbi Moshe Dear, headmaster of Yeshivat Yavneh, says that police are not conducting any investigations at Yavneh, since no one has come forward with any allegations against Schwartz. Yavneh has placed Schwartz on administrative leave.

"Our only interest is the security and safety of our children, and until these allegations are dealt with by the court system, we are doing to do what is in the best interest of our students," Dear told The Journal.

Camp Ruach leases space from Ohr Eliyahu Academy in Culver City. While many of the campers come from Ohr Eliyahu, the school is not affiliated with the camp and has nothing to do with the camp or its staff.

The case comes just after Baruch Lanner, 52, a former day school principal in New Jersey, was found guilty June 27 of endangering the welfare of two girls at his school. Lanner was also convicted of aggravated criminal sexual contact and sexual contact against one of the girls. His case stirred controversy because Lanner worked for decades for the NCSY, the Orthodox Union's youth group, and officials there are accused of covering up his misconduct.

Locally, the Orthodox community was rocked in December 2001 when Mordechai Yomtov, a teacher at Cheder Menachem, a Chabad school, plead guilty to continuous sexual abuse of three students.

Rabbi Zalman Uri, senior consultant for Orthodox schools at the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE), says there is growing awareness of the problem in the day school world.

Uri says the principal's council, a group run by the BJE, has met frequently with the Orthodox division for Jewish Family Services (JFS) to discuss how to spot problems and what to do once they occur.

This fall, the staff of JFS's Orthodox division will begin training in the Steps to Safety program, a three-pronged approach to child abuse prevention to raise awareness among parents, teachers and students.

Sally Weber, director of Jewish community programs at JFS, says that many preschools and some non-Orthodox day schools have already hosted the program.

"We don't believe children can be responsible for their own safety," Weber says. "But we do believe there are self-assertion skills we can teach them that will make them less-desirable targets for perpetrators."

JFS has also hired social worker Laurie Tragen-Boykoff as a child advocacy specialist to guide schools and parents in situations when abuse is suspected.

"I have been well-utilized in the Orthodox community," she says. "We have made some really good inroads in terms of a willingness to entertain the idea that various forms of abuse do take place everywhere, regardless of religious affiliation."

Tragen-Boykoff has also run awareness programs for faculty at day schools.

Dear says his faculty has participated in such workshops, and he is open to bringing programs to students and parents.

"Especially with the church scandals and scandals within our own community, as unfortunate as it is, it creates heightened awareness on the part of everyone involved," he says.


A supervisor at a Los Angeles-area Orthodox day camp was charged with sexually abusing two boys, ages 4 and 5.
LOS ANGELES (JTA) - August 16, 2002

David Schwartz, 35, who led the preschool program at Camp Ruach in Culver City, was charged last week with six felony counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with minors under the age of 14 and one misdemeanor count of indecent exposure, the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles reported.

Schwartz, who is married and has children of his own, has been placed on administrative leave from his job as a social studies teacher at Yeshivat Yavneh middle school in Los Angeles.

Police Arrest Jewish Camp Counselor On Molestation Charges
Charges Include Sodomy
NBC News - August 5, 2002

CULVER CITY, Calif. -- A counselor at a Jewish camp in Culver City was under arrest Monday on allegations he sexually abused several young boys.

Police said he is also a teacher at another Southland school.

David Schwartz is charged with molesting two 4-year-old boys.

"The suspect, Mr. Schwartz, was booked for lewd and lascivious acts... They involve very serious acts with the boys, including sodomy," said Lt. Dave Pankenson of the Culver City Police Department.

Jewish Camp Counselor Arrested Investigators are looking at the possibility of other victims. The suspect is being held on $1 million bail.

Schwartz was arrested after one of the boys was taken to the hospital for an exam after he apparently told his parents what had happened.


Camp Counselor Charged With Child Molestation
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office - August 6, 2002

Contacts: Joe Scott, Director of Communications
Sandi Gibbons, Public Information Officer
Jane Robison, News Secretary
(213) 974-3525


Child Molester Sent to Treatment Center
by Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Religion Editor
The Jewish Journal of Orange County  - 02/07/2003

David Schwartz, a counselor for preschool boys at an Orthodox music and arts camp, was sentenced to one year in residential treatment and five years' probation for molesting a 4-year-old boy in his care at summer camp. A six-year prison sentence was suspended.

The Jan. 21 sentencing at the Airport Courthouse came after Schwartz, the 36-year-old father of young children, accepted a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest to one felony count of committing lewd acts with a child. (A plea of no contest in a criminal court is the equivalent of guilty, but if victims decide to sue Schwartz, they cannot use the criminal plea against him, according to the district attorney's office.)

Schwartz will have to register as a sex offender for life, undergo at least two years of sex offender therapy and is prohibited from being alone with minor children, including his own, for the period of probation. He will have to pay restitution to various victims' funds and pay the therapy and medical costs of both the 4-year-old victim and another boy.

Prior to his acceptance of the plea bargain, Schwartz had maintained his innocence. He was arrested Aug. 2, 2002, after two boys came forward and said Schwartz had molested them at Camp Ruach in Culver City.

Schwartz's attorney did not return phone calls seeking comment.

"He deserves much more than what he got. He got away with it, but the damage is done to our kids and our families forever," said the father of one victim.

Assistant District Attorney Mara McIlvain said her office offered the plea bargain because some of the parents did not want their children to have to testify.

"Our son was under too much pain and fear to face him. Taking him to court would take the chance of bringing back the nightmares and pain, so we had to bargain," one victim's mother said. "We had to weigh a lot of things, and the most important thing was our son."
While all the boys in the group told stories that indicated they had been molested and tormented, only two were able to tell their stories coherently and consistently enough to be considered admissible in court.

Three parents spoke with The Jewish Journal, telling of the long-lasting pain Schwartz has inflicted on their families. Parents said their children spoke of being touched and hurt, and watching Schwartz make "white pee-pee."

Testimony and physical evidence on at least one boy indicated that he was sodomized. Schwartz is alleged to have brought a bird into class and cut off its head in front of the children, telling them that if they told anyone about what happened, he would do the same to them and their parents.

Parents said that while in retrospect there were some indications that things were not right — one boy didn't want to go to camp, another said his "tushie" hurt, but the parents thought it was a common rash — none of the boys said anything directly until after the last day of camp.

Parents said Schwartz, who was in charge of the youngest group, was sometimes left alone at the camp with the boys, when the older groups went off-site for swimming or trips.
The director of Camp Ruach could not be reached for comment.

The three families who spoke to The Journal said their sons are all in therapy.

One parent shared that in therapy, her son drew a picture of a boy crying, with his mother lying dead next to him.

Some of the boys refuse to go to the bathroom alone, because the abuse was alleged to have taken place in the bathroom. One of the boys has become extremely sensitive to seeing animals in pain. All are having nightmares.

Dr. David Fox, a rabbi and clinical psychologist in Beverly Hills who consulted on this case and on others like it, said the effects of abuse in young children vary.

"The obvious effects are nightmares, mistrust of certain adult figures, in some cases nausea as the body becomes the receptacle of the child's anxiety, fear and sadness.... We have children at this age who develop insecurity or conversely can develop self-protective anger to show they are not going to let this happen again," Fox said.

The psychologist has often seen depression, as well, and in extreme cases, children below the age of 6 have been put on suicide watch.

Much of the therapy is still being handled by Stuart House, a cutting-edge facility where the District Attorney's Office, therapists and medical personnel work together on abuse cases to minimize the additional damage evidence collecting can do to children.

When Schwartz was first arrested, many in the Orthodox community — those who knew him and those who didn't — asserted the innocence of Schwartz, who was a counselor at Camp Ruach for two years and taught middle school social studies at Yeshivat Yavneh in Hancock Park. Several rabbis who knew him privately expressed disbelief that he could have perpetrated such acts.

At a hearing soon after his arrest, at which his bail was reduced from $1 million to $300,000, Schwartz's supporters heckled the parents of the victims, accusing them of harming another Jew. But as details of the boys' stories came out, support waned.

At the Jan. 21 sentencing, several prominent Orthodox rabbis — who had not been supporters of Schwartz — appeared to show support to the families and to send a message to the community.

"It is important for rabbanim to let it be known that these things can not be tolerated," said Rabbi Gershon Bess, one of the most respected rabbinic figures in the Orthodox community, who spoke at the sentencing. "It is the obligation of everyone to protect all children, and to make sure that a person like this is not in a position to hurt other children."

Bess said he has seen progress in the Orthodox community's willingness to not only deal with situations as they arise, but to undertake proactive measures to educate parents, teachers and children.

"Parents have to realize that unfortunately, these things do exist and do occur, and it is the obligation of every parent to educate their children and to develop a very open relationship with children," said Bess, the father of nine.

Meanwhile, the victims and parents search for healing, knowing that Schwartz will be out in a year.

"This guy is extremely dangerous," one father said. "He is going to be walking out and getting a job, and with his beard and kippah on his head, nobody would think of checking his background."

One mother takes comfort in the thought of eternal justice.

"He can get away with it in the court down here, but not with the court upstairs. There is a higher authority, and he is going to pay."


Letters to the Editor: David Schwartz
Jewish Journal of Greater California - February 14, 2003

I have known David Schwartz and his family for nearly 10 years and was shocked by your slanderous article concerning his case ("Child Molester Sent to Treatment Center," Feb. 7). Knowing Schwartz, the charges filed against him are completely out of character. He is a very conscientious person who follows halacha carefully and would never harm a child. While in jail, he spent his time learning and saying "Tehillim." When I visited him in jail, he did not complain of the hell he must have been going through, but asked me to visit several folks in the old age home that he was no longer able to visit. He pleaded "no contest" rather than risk going to trial given the present climate concerning these kinds of cases. He maintains his innocence. I pray to Hashem that the truth will come out and the person who committed this crime will be brought to justice.

Daniel Romm, Santa Monica
In "Child Molester Sent to Treatment Center," Julie Gruenbaum Fax wrote, "At a hearing soon after his arrest, at which his bail was reduced from $1million to $300,000, Schwartz's supporters heckled the parents of the victims, accusing them of harming another Jew." I was present at that hearing from beginning to end and no such thing occurred. There was great concern for Schwartz and his welfare from his friends and family, and people were hesitant to believe that the man they knew would commit such a despicable act, but to my knowledge — as an eyewitness — no one displayed anything but concern for the parents and their children.

Lee Weissman, Irvine - The Jewish Journal stands behind its reporting of the event.


Schools Adopt Guide to Block Sex Abuse
By Julie Gruenbaum Fax
Jewish Journal - June 19, 2003

A national group representing more than 700 Orthodox day schools recently adopted sexual abuse prevention guidelines that were developed by a department of the Jewish Family Service (JFS) in Los Angeles.

Nearly all of the two dozen Orthodox schools in Los Angeles had signed on to a similar policy last year aimed at preventing and reporting verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Torah U'mesorah, The National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, adapted its new policy from the one implemented in Los Angeles.

"We need to develop a culture of creating safety," said Debbie Fox, director of Aleinu Family Resource Center of JFS, which wrote the guidelines. "It's not only, 'don't abuse the child,' but watch the way you talk with them, watch the way you correct them or encourage them to change, watch the teasing that goes on."

A version of the policy will be discussed at a training session for camp directors next week, and Fox encourages parents to ask camps whether their counselors have signed on to the guidelines.

Last summer, when the abuse policy was in its final draft form, David Schwartz was accused of molesting 4-year-old boys at an Orthodox day camp in Culver City. He is currently serving one year in a residential facility, after which he will be on probation for five years.

The Schwartz case was one in a string of abuse incidents that has rocked the Orthodox community over the last few years. Locally, Rabbi Mordechai Yomtov is currently on probation after serving a year in prison for molesting boys at Cheder Menachem school in the La Brea area.

Nationally, an Orthodox Union report found Rabbi Baruch Lanner guilty of widespread and long-term sexual, physical and psychological abuse of teens in three decades of work at the National Conference of Synagogue Youth. Lanner is free pending an appeal after being sentenced last June to seven years in prison for sexually abusing two girls when he was principal of a New Jersey yeshiva in the 1990s.

The Lanner case, in particular, opened up Orthodox channels of communication regarding the abuse issue and led to an increased vigilance among institutions.

The high-profile cases went along with what Fox was seeing through the lens of Aleinu's caseload. When Fox came three years ago, the Orthodox Counseling Program, which recently changed its name to Aleinu, had 11 cases. Today it has about 50 clients and a program of placing social workers in schools, through which it serves about 150 children a week.

In addition, Aleinu runs Nishma, a hotline that was initially conceived as a spousal abuse line, but, like Aleinu, has broadened its mandate after receiving a wider range of calls.

"What we deal with every day are the problems, but that is not an indication that the Orthodox community has significantly more problems than anyone else," Fox said. "It is an indication that we are creating an environment where we can face these issues and invite them to come forward, so we can deal with them as well as we can."

One of the issues she saw was sexual abuse. Early last summer, Fox convened a meeting with the Halachic Advisory Board of Jewish Family Service and the Rabbinic Council of California's (RCC) Family Commission, two groups that work closely together.

With input from parents, educators, mental health professionals and the scrutinizing panel of rabbis, plus endorsement from leading halachic authorities, Aleinu developed the Conduct Policy and Behavioral Standards for Orthodox Schools.

The policy goes further than forbidding sexual contact or even the use of explicit language, materials or sexual innuendo. It warns teachers and staff never to be secluded with a child. There is strong wording against the use of physical force and any unwelcome physical contact, as well as against making any comments about a student's body or clothing.

Teachers and staff are warned against denigrating students or attempting to manipulate students through psychological means, and they are forbidden from instructing students to keep secrets from parents or administration.

All teachers, staff, administrators and clerical and custodial staff are required to sign the guidelines.

When abuse is suspected, either at home or in school, Aleinu guides the family through the legal system and makes sure all their needs are met -- from finding a Jewish foster home, if necessary, to making sure a carpool is arranged to going into the school to talk with teachers, principals and other students.

Rabbi Berish Goldenberg, principal of Yeshiva Rav Isaacsohn-Toras Emes and chair of the RCC's Family Commission, noted how far the Orthodox community has come in tackling difficult issues openly.

The embrace of an Aleinu social worker and the adoption of the abuse guidelines at Toras Emes -- where much progress has been made in the last few years away from an old-school style of education -- are indicative of the community's newfound willingness to combine modern psychological sensibilities with a strictly observant mindset.

Goldenberg attributes the leap to the growing roster of problems today's families face and an awareness that professional help is neither treif (non-kosher) nor a shandah (humiliation).
"And there are many Orthodox people in the mental health professional world today, so there is more trust," Goldenberg added.

The advisory board rabbis, who themselves go through psychological training, are available around the clock to answer halachic questions and counsel clients. In one instance, a rabbi sat in on a counseling session to answer a 16-year-old girl's question about whether testifying against her father violated the mitzvah of honoring your parents. Another time, a rabbi and social worker together counseled an abused wife who wanted to know whether she was required to go to the mikvah to perform the ritual bathing that would make sex with her husband permissible.

When Schwartz was sentenced, both Goldenberg and Rabbi Gershon Bess, one of the most respected rabbis in the city, spoke in court to offer support to the victims. When Schwartz is released in February, he will be -- willingly or not -- in the jurisdiction of the RCC's beit din (rabbinical court), which might impose limits on where he may go to shul, which simcha (celebration) he may attend and whether he may enter public restrooms alone.

Like all of Aleinu's programs, even the beit din's monitoring will most likely have a restorative angle, guiding Schwartz through therapy, for example.

"The beauty is that the rabbis are so sensitive to mental health issues and to understanding what we do so clearly, that their response is very sensitive to the issues of the person," Fox said. "It's a beautiful thing."


Rabbis' Tact Puts Sex Victims First
By Julie Gruenbaum Fax
Jewish Journal - March 18, 2004

David Schwartz, who pleaded no contest last year to charges associated with child molestation at an Orthodox summer camp, has been released from a yearlong stay at a residential treatment facility and is now living in the Pico-Robertson area. Rabbinic and mental health professionals are taking steps to help the victims and their families, as well as the community at large, feel safe and protected from a man who allegedly sexually brutalized and psychologically tormented 4-year-old boys at a Culver City camp for the arts in summer 2002.

Despite his plea, outside of courtroom proceedings Schwartz has maintained his innocence. His wife (NAME REMOVED), a preschool teacher at Yeshivat Yavneh in Hancock Park (where Schwartz himself used to teach), has stood by him throughout, saying to rabbis and others that there is no way the father of her children could have committed the lewd acts attributed to him.

While some rabbis who know the family have quietly supported Schwartz and his family, many prominent rabbis and community leaders have been strident and outspoken in their support for the victims -- an indication that the Orthodox community has overcome its historic hush-hush approach to abuse. Taking its lead from Jewish Family Service's Aleinu Family Resource Center, a group of rabbis has attended hearings, counseled the victims and inserted itself into the case.

Several high-profile cases in recent years -- both locally and nationally -- have helped foster a newfound willingness among rabbis to work with mental health professionals not only to handle crises, but to take proactive measures as well.

"The families see us there and the community knows we're there, and I think that it's an important factor for them to know we are not just going to sweep this under the rug," said Rabbi Berish Goldenberg, chair of the Rabbinical Council of California's (RCC) Family Commission and a member of Aleinu's Halachic Advisory Board -- groups that often collaborate and have overlapping membership.

In a plea bargain reached in January 2003, Schwartz pleaded no contest to one count of committing lewd acts with a minor under 14. Eight other charges were dismissed, and Schwartz received a six-year suspended prison sentence and one year in a treatment facility, and is now on probation for an additional four years. He must undergo another year of therapy, cannot work as a teacher or with children and must register as a sex offender for life.

Upon Schwartz's release in late January this year, Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader at the Airport Courthouse ordered Schwartz to stay out of an area roughly encompassing the Pico-Robertson and south Westwood neighborhoods. Schwartz, his wife and their three young children reportedly live just east of Robertson Boulevard, one of the boundaries, but have been ordered by the court to move east of La Cienega Boulevard. In addition, Schwartz must stay 100 yards away from a list of synagogues and schools where some of his victims may attend.

In a letter filed with the court March 2, RCC's Goldenberg and Rabbi Avrohom Union recommended the judge also prohibit Schwartz from attending any synagogue where children are present and only allow him to attend synagogues populated mostly by senior citizens. They also asked that Schwartz be ordered stay away from all schools and be prohibited from using the mikvah (ritual bath). Mader rejected those recommendations.

"The court has commented that the victims need to step back and let the man lead his life," said Vicki Podberesky, Schwartz's attorney. "The court put on restrictions it feels are appropriate and the DA thought those restrictions were appropriate."

Podberesky said that while she can't comment on the Schwartz case, in general the criminal justice system is imperfect and innocent people do get convicted. "Sex offense can carry a life sentence and people make decisions many times about how to handle their case based on the fact that they want to ensure that they will see their family again," she said.

The rabbis say their job is not to retry the case, but to accept Schwartz's plea and treat him as a sex offender. The RCC, together with the Halachic Advisory Board, oversees a beit din (rabbinic court) to deal with such issues. Schwartz has been invited to sit down with the beit din.

Goldenberg, who is also principal of Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn Toras Emes, said that the beit din's aim is not to penalize Schwartz, but to protect the community and to work with Schwartz to help rehabilitate him -- perhaps help him find a job and a synagogue.

"In one sense we want to be harsh and tough and make him understand that he is going to be monitored," Goldenberg said. "On the other hand we are here to help and we are willing to come to an agreement. If we can tell the victims' families that he is going to follow what he is supposed to do and be where he is supposed to be, we can help make things better for him and his family."

The most likely scenario, many acknowledge, is that Schwartz will leave town, which he can do with proper permission from the court. Jewish sex offenders have been known to resettle in Israel or other Jewish communities.

Such was the case with Rabbi Mordechai Yomtov, who divorced his wife and left Los Angeles soon after he was released from prison about a year ago. In February 2002, Yomtov pleaded guilty to two counts of committing continuous sexual abuse on a minor and one count of lewd act on a minor at Chabad's Cheder Menachem. He was in prison for a year and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

While both Schwartz and his victims would likely be happier with him out of Los Angeles, the beit din acknowledges its responsibility to keep tabs on him. "There is no question that theoretically the ideal situation would be for him to leave town, assuming he could be monitored," said Rabbi Shalom Tendler, a member of the Halachic Advisory Board. "It would be entirely wrong and irresponsible for us to just push our problem on somebody else."

The Halachic Advisory Board has taken a strong stand on issues of abuse. Aside from working directly with Aleinu Director Debbie Fox to respond to crisis situations, the board helped draft and implement guidelines for schools and camps to prevent, recognize and deal with situations of abuse.

Those guidelines have set a national standard in the Orthodox community, and have since been modified and adopted by schools throughout the country.

"That is the beauty of our community -- the rabbonim and JFS and Aleinu work together on crises and we provide advocacy and support from a spiritual as well as a mental health model," Fox said.

The victims' families will need that support, now that Schwartz is back in the neighborhood. One mother of a victim said her son had been doing better but is now having nightmares and acting out again.

She plans to take him to the Culver City Police Department, where detectives have been helpful all along, so they can explain to him how Schwartz is free but the child will still be safe.

"He's always been so worried about other kids getting hurt, so the police made him a special junior detective," the mother said. "Now they'll give him one more badge and promote him."

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