Sunday, April 27, 2008

Case of Rabbi Avrohom Reichman

Case of Rabbi Avrohom Reichman
Principal - United Talmudic Academy, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Accused of child molestation.

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. Supreme Court of the State of New York County of King (08/27/2008)
  2. A Charge of Double Betrayal in Williamsburg (09/03/2008)
  3. Top Doc Scared Off Panel On Rabbinic Sex Molesters (09/10/2008)
  4. Five Towns lawyer for Williamsburg abuse victim (09/12/2008)
  5. Hikind Reports Second Reichman Allegation (09/17/2008)
  6. Rabbi ‘sex’ shock - Man claims principal molested him (09/25/2008)
  7. Haredim Begin Confronting Pedophilia (10/02/2008)

  1. Brooklyn Hasidic Community Grapples With Scandal (03/09/2009)
  2. Hikind Retreating On Tough Tactics Against Molesters (03/25/2009)
  3. Orthodox Jewish Community Struggles With Abuse Allegations (05/15/2009)


A Charge of Double Betrayal in Williamsburg
By Hella Winston
The Jewish Week -September 3, 2008

(NAME REMOVED) thought he had a deal. The Satmar rabbi who he says molested him would stay away from children. He now charges he was violated twice.

(NAME REMOVED) was 8 years old the first time he was summoned to the principal's office at his Satmar school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Not knowing what he might have done to provoke the call, (NAME REMOVED) was nervous, as his principal, Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, had a reputation for being strict.

Much to his surprise, however, when he arrived, the principal put him on his lap and began "to change character," talking to him like a "loving granddaddy," (NAME REMOVED) told The Jewish Week. But what the principal at the United Talmudical Academy did to the boy that day — and several times a week over the next two months — was far from grandfatherly, (NAME REMOVED) charges in a suit he filed last week.

It alleges that in 1993, Rabbi Reichman, now 57, regularly molested him, and that the Satmar school, United Talmudical Academy, later committed fraud by agreeing to dismiss Rabbi Reichman — and then reneging on this once the criminal statute of limitations had passed.(NAME REMOVED)'s sexual abuse allegations are the latest in a string of such charges made by former male yeshiva students in ultra-Orthodox schools in Brooklyn.

[(NAME REMOVED), yeshiva boy turned rock drummer, on the streets of Williamsburg. "When I think about how another kid might be suffering what I went through, I can't walk away." Michael Datikash]

(NAME REMOVED), yeshiva boy turned rock drummer, on the streets of Williamsburg. "When I think about how another kid might be suffering what I went through, I can't walk away." Michael Datikash

Last April, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, a first grade teacher at Yeshiva Torah Temima in Flatbush, pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child after being charged with several counts of sexual abuse. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes defended the last-minute downward plea bargain, citing the young age of the plaintiffs who would have had to testify at a trial.

Several civil suits pending against Rabbi Kolko and the school seek a total some $50 million in damages.

The suit filed by (NAME REMOVED), however, is the first to emerge that involves the Satmar community, one of the largest chasidic sects in the city. Repeated calls to Rabbi Reichman and to UTA for comment were not returned

"He would swivel the chair from right to left and ask me, `How are you? How was your day?' (NAME REMOVED) said, recalling his meetings with Rabbi Reichman as a child. "And then he would start touching me, starting at my shoulders and working his way down gradually, until his hands passed over my genitals."

According to (NAME REMOVED), now 23 and far removed from the insular Satmar community, the rabbi would rub and fondle him for about 15 minutes, all the while asking him how he was doing and what he was thinking. (NAME REMOVED) remembers trying to escape, to no avail. When the rabbi was finally finished he would utter the word — "Dismissed" — and then elicit a promise from (NAME REMOVED) not tell his parents what had happened.

And (NAME REMOVED) kept that promise — for about 10 years, after enduring bouts of anxiety, drug use and suicidal thoughts he says were brought on by the abuse. "I realized that this was controlling my everyday life," (NAME REMOVED) said. "I have a lot of trouble trusting people. I cannot trust anyone."

When he finally mustered the courage to confront Reichman, in April, the statute of limitations on a criminal prosecution was drawing near. A letter from (NAME REMOVED) and his family to Reichman stipulated that if Reichman were to resign from his position in the yeshiva and also in a Satmar-run summer camp, where he taught, (NAME REMOVED) would take no legal action.

He thought he had a deal that month, hammered out with Satmar officials acting on UTA's behalf. But in court papers filed last week, and first reported on The Jewish Week Web site last Wednesday, (NAME REMOVED) is alleging not only sexual assault and abuse but also "breach of promises and oral contract" in a $5 million civil suit against Rabbi Reichman, UTA and the Satmar Bungalow Colony — a Satmar children's summer camp in White Lake, N.Y. Rabbi Reichman was videotaped by (NAME REMOVED) in July teaching at the summer camp, though apparently he had not been teaching at the school since Passover. (NAME REMOVED) said he has since learned that Rabbi Reichman is the camp's principal.

"The defendants fraudulently induced (NAME REMOVED) to enter into this exchange of mutual promises, and oral contract," the suit alleges.

It also claims that various Satmar officials investigated (NAME REMOVED)'s allegations and found that "there were multiple, credible complaints of sexual abuse made against Reichman."

"I really didn't want to get this in the courts," (NAME REMOVED) told The Jewish Week. "Had [the school] done things differently [and fired Reichman], I probably wouldn't have sued. This is the last thing I wanted.

"They could have admitted the guy had a problem," (NAME REMOVED) continued. "They could have said, `We're very sorry this happened to you.' They could have dealt with this honorably, but they didn't."

Rabbi David Niederman, the only community official who would agree to speak with The Jewish Week, expressed skepticism that school officials had ever agreed to the deal (NAME REMOVED) proposed.

He viewed Rabbi Reichman's return to the summer camp after his initial suspension from the school as an indication that UTA officials did not ultimately find sufficient evidence to back up (NAME REMOVED)'s allegations.

"It's only normal when charges like this are brought to suspend the teacher in question and conduct your investigation," said Rabbi Niederman, a confidant of the Satmar sect's grand rebbe and head of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg, a community-wide advocacy organization. "That's a totally normal reaction. Then, when you have gathered your information, you act on what you have found."

Rabbi Niederman himself had initial contact with the case but says he quickly turned the matter over to "people who have the time and expertise to deal with this." At his request, Rabbis Meshulem Jakobowitz and Zalman Leitner — part of an informal committee that "deals with sensitive social and religious issues in the community" —got involved, mediating between the school and (NAME REMOVED). Reached by The Jewish Week, Rabbi Jakobowitz declined to comment. Neither Niederman, Jakobowitz or Leitner are defendants in the suit.

Rabbi Niederman disclaimed direct knowledge of what happened afterward. (NAME REMOVED) disputes this, claiming that one of the rabbis he worked with on the abuse issue told him of regular calls he received from Rabbi Niederman, a senior community leader, requesting updates.

Efforts to reach the rabbi in question, whom neither (NAME REMOVED) nor Rabbi Niederman would publicly name, were unsuccessful.

Today, (NAME REMOVED) is a thoughtful and intense 23-year-old who works as a graphic designer. He is tall and slim, with long hair and a narrow beard, and he favors jeans and heavy metal T-shirts (he plays drums in a heavy-metal band on the side). His life in Greenpoint — he no longer keeps kosher or the Sabbath — is about as far removed from the cloistered life of Satmar Williamsburg as is possible.

In nearly three hours of interviews over several days last week, (NAME REMOVED) spoke candidly about his life, weaving a tale of long-held secrets and sexual abuse not just at the hands of the rabbi but by older teenage boys and adults as well. It's a tale of shattered faith and, ultimately, flight from the Satmar womb in which he was raised.

"I felt that the world was upside down," (NAME REMOVED) says now, looking back over what he sees as the "hypocrisy" of Rabbi Reichman and other rabbis. "We had the holiest of guys telling us not to look at `non-kosher' things, but look what [Reichman] did in private."

What the rabbi allegedly did became a private hell for (NAME REMOVED). Within several months of the onset of the abuse, (NAME REMOVED) began to change. He started having panic and anxiety attacks, and nightmares. He would often roll around on the kitchen floor crying and became unable to sleep at night.

His schoolwork also began to suffer, as he could no longer concentrate in class. "I was spaced out," (NAME REMOVED) remembered. "I didn't concentrate and I didn't care to concentrate. I didn't want to think about [the abuse] but I was constantly thinking about it."
His parents took him to a doctor who prescribed medication for the anxiety, but never spoke to the boy, so the story of the abuse never came out.

But it turns out that the alleged abuse at Rabbi Reichman's hands was not the first time (NAME REMOVED) had been subject to such acts. A month or so earlier, he says he was repeatedly sexually abused by a 13-year-old boy, a neighbor who attended the same school. The teen, (NAME REMOVED) said, had threatened to kill him if he ever told his parents.

(NAME REMOVED)'s older sister, inquiring why he was always late getting home from school, figured out from his vague responses what was going on and told their parents. "Why didn't you tell us?" they asked me," (NAME REMOVED) said. Their concern came across to 8-year-old (NAME REMOVED) as blame, not an atypical interpretation for a young child, according to psychologists. And he was scared to reveal to them that this had happened again — with Rabbi Reichman, no less — fearing that they would see it as his fault.

(NAME REMOVED)'s parents would eventually complain to Rabbi Reichman, telling him about (NAME REMOVED)'s abuse at the hands of his 13-year-old schoolmate. (NAME REMOVED) was told that the boy was beaten up (he never knew by whom); the older boy never touched (NAME REMOVED) again. But soon after his parents reported the abuse to Reichman, the rabbi called (NAME REMOVED) into his office for what would become the first fondling session, he alleges, the strict principal becoming a sweet grandfather to an innocent 8-year-old. To this day, (NAME REMOVED) wonders whether Rabbi Reichman took his prior abuse as a cue that he was perhaps primed for more abuse, a vulnerable target.

By the time he was 13, (NAME REMOVED) says he couldn't trust anyone. But he was hoping to get a fresh start at yet another yeshiva. (His parents had removed him from UTA several months after Reichman's alleged abuse began for unrelated reasons). As it turned out, it was "hell on earth," the teen studying 15 to 16 hours a day. At this point, he wanted out, often wishing that someone would kidnap him. He was even resigned to having to live on the street if he had to. When he witnessed another boy, a friend of his, being "groomed" for abuse by an older man's obvious flirtations, his own past history of abuse came rushing back. "I saw abuse all around me," (NAME REMOVED) said of those days.

At 14, (NAME REMOVED) started to hang out with Puerto Ricans on the fringes of his neighborhood.

He snuck around, changed his clothes, hiding all of this from his family. He says he dropped acid. He felt trapped. He still kept kosher and Shabbos, but he wanted out.

Finally, at 18, (NAME REMOVED) was able to leave his old neighborhood, moving to Bensonhurst. He joined a heavy metal band, playing the drums (he was always interested in music; his parents bought him his first drum set). Yet he was still tethered to his old life, continuing to keep kosher and Shabbos, the sole Jewish guy in the band.
That year, living at a safe remove from Williamsburg, he finally broke the long secret and told his parents about the abuse he suffered at Rabbi Reichman's hands. "They were shocked," (NAME REMOVED) recalled. But they believed there was little recourse available, he said.

It turns out that a key to helping (NAME REMOVED) finally confront Rabbi Reichman was recently finding out that he may not have been the only victim. One former student of Reichman's came forward to (NAME REMOVED)'s brother, who told (NAME REMOVED). Eventually, through various community activists, (NAME REMOVED) began making presentations to school administrators and boards of directors about sexual abuse in the community — identifying himself as a victim and drawing on his own experiences.

At one of the presentations at a Satmar school, Rabbi Reichman's name was mentioned. A board member offhandedly said he recalled a complaint about the rabbi from five years ago but that nothing was done.

This second report of another victim was the spark to action (NAME REMOVED) needed, realizing that other kids were likely suffering what he had gone through.

(NAME REMOVED) consulted with his family about confronting Rabbi Reichman, and they decided to write a letter, which the elder (NAME REMOVED) would deliver to Rabbi Reichman. It was just before Passover of this year.

The letter, written in Yiddish (an English translation is part of the civil complaint), is plainspoken and laden with emotion. It begins: "We wish to let you know that since our son, Yoel Nechemia is a victim of you, you MOLESTED him as a child — you corrupted his soul, you were the cause of many years of anguish and suffering from him as a result — and because we know of other children who were victimized (molested) by you at least from 1993 until now — therefore you are a danger to children."

It goes on to say that the family will take no further legal action if Rabbi Reichman agrees to resign his position as teacher at UTA and the upstate summer camp. The letter, signed by the (NAME REMOVED) family, ends: "The One Above should give you the right thoughts to have mercy on your family and take correct action."

On the day his father delivered the letter, (NAME REMOVED) waited for two hours outside the rabbi's Williamsburg home. He wanted to confront him face to face. "He was scared [expletive]," (NAME REMOVED) remembered. "Here I was, this heavy metal guy, dressed up in leather. He tried to get on my good side, saying `Oh, you lived on U Street." I told him: `I will do everything and more than [what was written in] the letter if you come back to the school after Passover."

(NAME REMOVED) said the rabbi told him that this wasn't the right place to talk about this. He remembers the exchange vividly, the rabbi never denying what had allegedly happened. "You know exactly what you did."

"What did I do?"

"You put me on your lap."

"So what?"

"I am here to tell you that I am on top of this and it's up to you."

The next morning, (NAME REMOVED) recalled, a representative of UTA showed up at (NAME REMOVED)'s father's workplace, saying, "We have a zero tolerance policy for abuse and we are going to take care of this. If he is found guilty, which we will investigate, he will be out the same day."

Throughout a week of negotiations, (NAME REMOVED) said, the school made repeated promises to remove Rabbi Reichman from his teaching duties, and he was in fact removed from UTA after Passover. When (NAME REMOVED) got wind, however, that in July the rabbi was teaching at the Satmar Bungalow Colony, he put up fliers at the camp warning parents that the rabbi — "someone who is a great danger to your children, a danger to their body and soul — was in their midst. He then traveled to White Lake with a videographer and filmed the rabbi teaching a class.

(NAME REMOVED)'s case rests on what experts say is a risky legal strategy.

His attorney, Elliot Pasik, argues that United Talmudical Academy and the Satmar officials who helped negotiate the supposed deal with his client, perpetrated a fraud. He claims in court papers that the "defendants' motivation was the expiration of the criminal statue of limitations for sex crimes on the 23rd birthday of (NAME REMOVED) on June 24, 2008."

"Satmar officials admitted to my client that Avrohom Reichman had committed child sexual abuse," Pasik said. "They even administered a polygraph by a reputable company, and Reichman failed. The same Satmar officials admitted there were other credible complaints of child sexual abuse against Reichman."

Pasik continued: "[Satmar] took advantage of (NAME REMOVED). They promised him that [Reichman] would not be working with children. (NAME REMOVED) wasn't looking for money — just keep him away from kids and he would forgo criminal prosecution. Once the school year was over, they put him in the Bungalow Colony. They broke their promise. An oral promise is enforceable."

But Rabbi Niederman, noting that UTA had seen fit to ultimately return Rabbi Reichman to a job working with children, said he doubted some aspects of (NAME REMOVED)'s account. "If someone is addicted [to molesting children], why aren't there more kids who have come forward in all these years?" he asked. "To say they were afraid — the kids or the parents — in this day and age doesn't make sense. Parents are much more vigilant now about these kinds of issues."

He voiced confidence in UTA's integrity in investigating the matter. "If UTA wanted to cover up things, why would they take back this melamed [teacher] if they knew there was another case out there?" he asked.

Indeed, (NAME REMOVED)'s case may prove a hard one to make.

"The reliance argument [when a case is based on relying on a promise] makes perfect common sense but hasn't worked all the way up," said Marci Hamilton, a professor at Cardozo Law School. "States like Pennsylvania and New York have been resistant to it. The view is that if the statute of limitations [SOL] is being misapplied it is up to the state legislature to change it.

"This case just shows that the SOL is too short. When a 23-year-old can't get into court, the SOL is too short. The majority [of abuse victims] come forward in their 40s. This reinforces that another state legislature that needs to act. When children are young [and within the SOL] they are often not psychologically ready to come forward. It can be very frustrating."

The Satmar yeshiva boy turned drummer and graphic artist is sitting in a diner on East 57th Street, drinking a cup of coffee and reflecting on his long ordeal. In one sense, (NAME REMOVED)'s break with his native community is complete. And yet, he cannot walk away. "I often wonder why I am putting myself through this," he muses, acknowledging how difficult it has been to dredge up old memories and confront his abuser.

"I don't live that life anymore and it would be easy just to forget about all of it and move on. But then I think about how another kid might be suffering what I went through, and I realize I can't."

And so the lawsuit has brought all of the bad feelings back in a rush. He says he is coping, though. And he hopes coming forward with his story will result in changes in the way the Orthodox community deals with the kind of sexual abuse he says he faced. Mostly, he wants to prevent what happened to him from happening to another child.

"He's still out there," (NAME REMOVED) said of Rabbi Reichman. [Without legal action], what is going to stop [UTA] from taking him back, from another school taking him?"

Breaking the general silence in the ultra-Orthodox community on the issue of sexual abuse is seen by experts as a key step.

"Our community has to address some of the hypocrisy of strictly not tolerating even minor adult sexual activities that are outside the realm of halacha, while remaining silent when otherwise frum people are sexually abusing children," said Dr. Asher Lipner, a psychologist who treats victims of sexual abuse within the frum community. "Psychologically, it is devastatingly painful for its victims to come to terms with, and there is the need for society to teach out to its victims and to comfort them."

"In order to change [this situation]," Lipner continued, "concerned parents need to lobby their yeshivas to develop safety protocols, to teach the children about safety and to agree to oversight by some kind of outside watchdog. Otherwise, I'm afraid that this will not be the last that we hear of school cover-ups for child molesters."

Throughout her son's torturous ordeal, (Name Removed) told the Jewish Week the family was solidly behind him. "We cooperated with [(NAME REMOVED)] on this," she said. "His main objective was to get this man away from children. ... We tried to do this in a way that would be the least humiliating and shameful to [Reichman's] large, extended family, who are really innocent.

"Our community, the Satmar community, and the whole chasidishe community, owes (NAME REMOVED) a debt of gratitude. He's very young to do this; most victims are much, much older when they confront these issues. He is putting himself on the line to protect other children from this type of trauma."

According to (NAME REMOVED), Rabbi Reichman reads from the Torah in the shul, which is considered to be a great honor. "People don't believe he could possibly be an abuser," (NAME REMOVED) said. "If that guy did that, then the world is over."

(NAME REMOVED) says Satmars are reluctant to try to change things within their community, for fear that change will undermine the whole communal structure. "No one voluntarily says, `We want a better system. Any change will bring down the whole system," (NAME REMOVED) said.

But he hopes that by standing up and telling his story publicly, change may eventually happen.

"Without shaming and lawsuits [nothing is going to change]," (NAME REMOVED) said. "That's what happened in the Catholic Church, in the Boy Scouts."


Supreme Court of the State of New York
August 27, 2008
(NAME REMOVED), Plaintiff,
Index No. 24507/08
Plaintiff, by and through the Law Office of Gerald P. Gross, as and for a Verified Complaint, respectfully pleads as follows:

1. Plaintiff, (NAME REMOVED), is a natural person, born on June 24, 1985, residing in Brooklyn, New York

2. Defendant, United Talmudical Academy (hereinafter, "UTA"), is a nonpublic, religious school, operated by the Satmar Chassidic movement, which owns operates, and manages certain school buildings in and about the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, and maintains an office at 82 Lee Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.

3. Defendant Satmar Bungalow Colony is located at or about the intersection of State Route 17B and State Highway 55, in White Lake, New York, where it operated a bungalow colony and camp.

4. That (NAME REMOVED), in or about October and November, 1993, was a student at UTA, when he was eight years-old.
5. That defendant Avrohom Reichman is a natural person, residing in Brooklyn, New York.

6. That Avrohom Reichman has, over the course of many decades, been employed by UTA and the Satmar Bungalow Colony, including but not limited to, as a principal "and "rebbe" (teacher of Jewish subjects).

7. That UTA and Reichman owed, and continue to owe, a fiduciary duty to (NAME REMOVED).

8. That UTA and Reichman owed, and continue to owe, a special and/or heightened duty of care to (NAME REMOVED).

9. That UTA and Reichman owed the duty of in loco parentis to (NAME REMOVED).

10. That in or about October and November, 1993, when Reichman was a principal employed at UTA, Reichman sexually assaulted and abused the eight year old

11. That UTA then lacked and continues to lack basic rules protecting children such as (NAME REMOVED) from sexual assault, including but not limited to, written rules and regulations prohibiting sexual contact between UTA principals, teachers and other employees with children; rules prohibiting corporal punishment; rules prohibiting UTA employees and children being alone together in the same room; rules requiring background checks on all employees; rules requiring mandatory reporting of any and all sexual abuse incidents to government law enforcement and child protection authorities; rules requiring discipline, including immediate termination, of employees who sexually abuse and/or inflict corporal punishment.

12. That UTA failed to adequately protect its student, (NAME REMOVED), from sexual assault and abuse.

13. That as a result of UTA and Reichman's wrongful conduct, (NAME REMOVED) suffered grievously.

14. That (NAME REMOVED) suffered psychological and physical injury, which required medical and psychological treatment; his grades, socialization, personal familial and other relationships suffered; his sleep patterns suffered; his religious growth and development in the Jewish religion suffered; he was required to attend multiple schools; he suffered from panic and anxiety; and he suffered other serious and grievous personal and other injuries.

15. That aware that the statute of limitations may be expiring for bringing a criminal prosecution against Reichman, (NAME REMOVED) contacted defendants in or about early April 2008.

16. That delivered to Reichman in early April 2008 was a letter, in the Yiddish language, Exhibit A herewith (together with an English translation), which demanded Reichman's immediate resignation from any type of employment where he comes into close proximity to children, including school and camp.

17. That various Satmar officials then contacted (NAME REMOVED) and his family on various dates in April 2008, purporting to investigate the claims.

18. That during this investigation, and prior thereto, it was learned by various Satmar officials, that there were multiple, credible complaints of sexual abuse made against Reichman.

19. That in April 2008, Satmar officials, acting on behalf=2 0of UTA and the Satmar Bungalow Colony, determined that Reichman was guilty of sexual abuse, against (NAME REMOVED) and others.

20. That in April 2008, it was agreed among all parties that Reichman would be immediately and permanently terminated from all school, bungalow, camp, and any other Satmar related employment where he might come into close proximity to children; and (NAME REMOVED) would not file any civil lawsuit, nor file any criminal complaint with law enforcement authorities.

21. That defendants fraudulently induced (NAME REMOVED) to enter into this exchange of mutual promises, and oral contract.

22. That defendants' motivation was the expiration of the criminal statute of limitations for sex crimes on the 23rd birthday of (NAME REMOVED) on June 24, 2008.

23. That in breach of the promises and oral contract, Reichman has most recently been working as a teacher and/or rebbe at the Satmar Bungalow Colony, during the Summer, 2008, in White Lake, New York.

24. That upon learning that Reichman is working at the Satmar Bungalow Colony, (NAME REMOVED) again attempted, in July 2008, to have Reichman removed from his position by distributing in the White Lake region a Yiddish-language flyer, Exhibit B herewith (with an English translation), warning people that Reichman has a history of child sexual molestation.

25. That notwithstanding the written warning, Reichman continued to teach at the Satmar Bungalow Colony and camp, and has been videotaped doing so.

26. That (NAME REMOVED) has now been denied access to the New York courts for the purpose of criminally prosecuting Avrohom Reichman.

27. Plaintiff repeats paras. 1-26 above.
28. That plaintiff has been fraudulently induced by defendants to enter into a promise, suffered damage, and has been injured.

29. Plaintiff repeats paras. 1-26 above.
30. Defendants conspired to defraud plaintiff, who has been damaged and injured.

31. Plaintiff repeats paras. 1-26 above.
32. Defendants breached their promises to, and their contract with, plaintiff, and as a result, plaintiff has been damaged and injured.

33. Plaintiff repeats paras. 1-26 above.
34. Defendants intentionally inflicted great emotional distress and trauma upon plaintiff, by denying him the opportunity to criminally prosecute Avrohom Reichman, in exchange for a fraudulent promise. This conduct is outrageous, and beyond the bounds of all decent and humane society.

35. Plaintiff repeats paras. 1-26 above.
36. Defendants intentionally made false misrepresentations of fact, and as a result, plaintiff has been damaged and injured.

37. Plaintiff repeats paras. 1-26 above.
38. That defendants intentionally inflicted harm upon plaintiff.
39. That there is no reasonable excuse nor justification for defendants' conduct, which would otherwise be lawful.
40. That plaintiff has been damaged, including special damages.

41. Plaintiff repeats paras. 1-26 above.

42. Defendants have breached their fiduciary duty to plaintiff, and as a result, plaintiff has been injured.

AD DAMNUM WHEREFORE, plaintiff demands judgment on all causes of action in the amount of $5 million, together with punitive damages in an amount to be determined by the jury, together with costs, disbursements, and applicable interest.

Dated: August 27, 2008
Cedarhurst, New York
Yours, etc.
Of counsel, Law Office of Gerald P. Gross
Attorney for plaintiff


Top Doc Scared Off Panel ON Rabbinic Sex Molesters
by Hella Winston
Jewish Week - September 10, 2008

"He was basically forced to resign," said Assemblyman Dov Hikind, above, of Dr. Benzion Twerski. "He was literally put against the wall, and he felt he had no choice...the point is, they got to him, they threatened him."

A prominent Orthodox rabbi and psychologist has been intimidated into quitting as head of a just-formed task force dealing with rabbinic sex abuse of minors, organized by Assemblyman Dov Hikind this week.

Dr. Benzion Twerski told The Jewish Week Wednesday that he was quitting the task force because "I was prosecuted in the street for daring to join such a venture."

"To protect myself, my family, and reputation, I decided to withdraw from this project," he wrote in an e-mail as the paper was going to press with a story announcing Hikind's formation of the task force. "From this point, I am avoiding participation in any forms of public service. Public life is not for me."

Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat who represents Borough Park and JTS Flatbush, deplored Twerski's abrupt departure from his new panel.

"He was basically forced to resign," said Hikind. "He was literally put against the wall, and he felt he had no choice. We'll get somebody else who's very respected. But that's not the point. The point is they got to him, they threatened him."

Twerski's dramatic departure came just as Hikind was rolling out the new panel, planned as the next step in a personal crusade against child sex abuse in the Orthodox community that he has come to view as an epidemic.

Hikind said he had amassed a dossier with the cases of "hundreds" of individuals who say they have been sexually molested by rabbis and other Orthodox community members during their childhood. And he threatened to broadcast the names of their abusers if community leaders do not respond to his call for action against them.

"Let me tell you," he said in an interview last week, "when there's a person who we have confirmed through a variety of people has been doing terrible things" and those who know refuse to go to the authorities, "I am prepared to name names. I am prepared to be sued by those pedophiles. If they're innocent, let them sue me."

Speaking after a rash of highly publicized sexual molestation cases in the Orthodox community, Hikind said, "I have been learning that a lot of people out there know who the bad guys are. Where have I been? How come no one talked to me, how come no one came to me?"

Now, Hikind says, he is more determined than ever to establish a community task force to address the issue. Though vague on the panel's broader makeup and specific plans, Hikind ultimately seeks to develop a list of sexual molesters in Orthodox schools to keep them away from children.

Neither man would specify the nature of the threats made against Twerski to force his departure. But Hikind called them "pathetic and sad."

"My heart goes out to him," he said. "I don't know if I should laugh or cry. Things are opening up, people are coming forward, but we are still so far away."

Hikind's new crusade follows several cases in which individuals — often adults now — have gone public with accounts of sexual abuse they experienced at the hands of respected yeshiva teachers when they were children. The alleged victims have spoken, too, of the rejection or even intimidation they experienced from their yeshivas and rabbinic leaders when they tried to report what had happened to them.

In one of the few cases in which victims went to the secular court system, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko of Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Flatbush was convicted on two counts of child endangerment last April. Another alleged abuser, Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, now awaits extradition from Israel to Brooklyn, where he has been charged with sexual abuse of children.

More recently (NAME REMOVED), a former student at the Satmar chasidic sect's United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg, has alleged he was abused when he eight years old by Rabbi Avrohom Reichman. (NAME REMOVED), now 23, has filed suit against Rabbi Reichman and UTA, which, he says, violated its promise to him to dismiss Rabbi Reichman in exchange for his not going public. UTA has yet to respond to the suit.

Hikind, who began broadcasting radio shows addressing the issue bluntly about a month ago said, "For a couple of weeks now, so many people have been coming forward. It's made me absolutely sick, to have to listen to this, to be so shocked, to see so much pain, so much suffering. ... I actually feel that [this] may be the most important thing I've done in 26 years. Because you're talking about saving lives."

At times during his interview, Hikind sounded vague when pressed on just what his task force would do and how it proposed to go about doing it. The panel will present its findings to "leading rabbis" in various Orthodox communities, he said. And the rabbis, he predicted, "will be absolutely flabbergasted" by what they hear.

His ultimate goal, said Hikind, is to establish a communal registry that would list the names of teachers removed from schools due to abusive behavior.

"We need to develop a system, a roster, a protocol needs to be developed," he said. "If you have a pedophile who is teaching in a yeshiva, that person needs to be on a list, and before any other yeshiva hires a person, you need to be able to go to a roster and see if that rebbe was teaching somewhere else and got thrown out."

But at another point, apparently recognizing that many schools are often reluctant to dismiss such teachers in the first place, Hikind appeared to envision a more ambitious, quasi-judicial function for his panel.

"It's sort of hard to investigate yourself," Hikind admitted. "There's got to be a system where trusted people, respected leaders, who are not directly a part of that particular organization examine everything. Look, I wasn't there when these boys were abused, nor was anyone else. So we have to make judgments. We do that all the time."

Some advocates for the abused children, while praising Hikind for highlighting an issue about which they claim Orthodox Jews are in denial, voiced reservations about his plan.
The father of one child allegedly abused by Rabbi Kolko, who spoke on condition of anonymity, derided the notion of the community policing itself, citing his own unsuccessful efforts to marshal rabbinic action in his son's case.

"I commend Dov for what he is doing," said the father of the 10-year-old boy, who was allegedly molested in first grade, "but all these rabbis will make a farce of it. It touches their business. All these schools are somehow connected together."

Another long-time community activist, who spoke to The Jewish Week on condition of anonymity due to the controversial nature of the issue, said, "Dov's actions of these past few months are moving to anyone who cares about this issue. Yet we are very concerned that he has set back the cause by offering community members an alternative to the secular authorities.

Reporting the abusers to the rabbis is "akin to asking the fox to watch the henhouse," this source said. "We spent close to three decades reporting abusers to their yeshiva employers, local rabbis and `gedolim' only to watch time and time again as the information we provided was used to protect the abusers and vilify the victims.

"There is a functioning system in place that we will never have the resources or expertise to replicate, " he continued, referring to the secular authorities. "Indeed, to suggest that we are doing so is to do a grave injustice. If people believe we have an alternative to the police, which we do not and never will have, they will rely upon this belief and nothing will change. We tried this and came to the painful conclusion that it can not work."

Hikind himself took a nuanced position on the issue of going to outside authorities.

"Look, I would like to see people report to the police," he said. "But there are some realities in our communities. ... People in our community, as you know, don't want to go public. They want to keep it quiet, which is terrible. It's sinful. I use the word sinful because for someone not to come forward in a situation of abuse of their child is not only to be guilty for not pressing issues for their own child, but they are guilty for every other child that is abused after their child. And they have to live with that. I keep on repeating that to everyone."

But given the reality, "At least let's get these people off the street," he said. "With regard to institutions, where we find teachers, one of the things we are going to work on, if we establish that a teacher is a pedophile, that name needs to go on a list. Before anyone hires anyone, they must look at that list."

Others active on this issue believe that legislative reforms are also crucial. As an assemblyman, Hikind said he is supportive on this front. He voiced strong backing, for example, for an extension of the statute of limitations for prosecuting child sexual molestation, and for the alleged victims of such abuse to file civil suits.

Under current law, the state cannot pursue criminal prosecutions of an alleged molester once the alleged victim turns 23. A victim himself must bring a civil suit against his molester or against the school he alleges failed to protect him by between one and six years after his 18th birthday, depending on the nature of the allegation.

But child victims of sexual abuse often do not understand or come to terms with their experiences — or sometimes, even recall them — until years, or even decades after they take place. Members of the Orthodox community have the additional burden of overcoming their peer group's hostility to turning to secular authorities on such a sensitive matter. By then, the statute of limitations often bars their entry to the courtroom.

There are currently several bills in the state Legislature to address this problem, though none have passed in the Senate yet. A bill to extend the statute of limitations and open a one-year window for victims to seek damages regardless of their age recently passed in the Assembly but has repeatedly stalled in the Senate.

"The statute of limitations needs to be extended," said Hikind. "I'm totally for that . . . I will do everything in the world to make that happen because now I realize how critical that is."

Elliot Pasik, an attorney in private practice and a co-founder of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, a newly organized grassroots group, has also been pressing for legislation that would require mandatory background checks and fingerprinting of teachers in non-public schools. In addition, his group is working for the passage of a law that would require teachers in non-public schools to report cases of abuse when they see evidence of it or it is reported to them. Public school officials are already required to do so.

New York — unlike 25 other states — does not now classify clergy as mandated reporters, which means that they are not required to report evidence of sex abuse or violence to state child welfare authorities.

Legislation requiring fingerprinting and background checks for prospective non-public school faculty was defeated in the Assembly last year but reintroduced this year by Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. The legislation does not, however, have the support of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Lower East Side).

Agudath Israel, an umbrella group of ultra-traditional Orthodox organizations, has taken no position on state legislation that would require non-public schools to finger print their employees, or on legislation that would require non-public school staff to relay reports of child sex abuse to government authorities.

Pasik, who currently represents (NAME REMOVED) in his lawsuit against Rabbi Reichman and United Talmudical Academy, said, "New York State has the weakest laws in the country.

[Parochial schools] are near-totally unsupervised by the state, which is a throwback to pre-16th century English common law when the church could give sanctuary [to fugitives]. This has to change."

Hikind would not commit yet on such specifics. "I am sitting with my legislative person right now. We are just going to start our conversation. It's sort of a new look for me at everything," he said."

But he added: "Anything that contributes to apprehending the bad guy and helping the victims, we need to do — period, end of the story. That's my position. I have a new perspective because I've taken a close look, because I've spent almost four weeks now listening non-stop to horror stories, and then I'm told by people today who met with me, `Dov, it's worse than even you think right now.' I said, `what?'"


Five Towns lawyer for Williamsburg abuse victim
Sues principal; is working to eradicate child molestation from yeshivas and other non-public schools
By Michael Orbach
Jewish Star - September 12, 2008

A Cedarhurst attorney, Elliot Pasik, who has made it his mission to combat child sexual abuse in the Jewish community, is representing a 23- year-old whose accusations have rocked the Satmar community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

As reported in The Jewish Week last week, (NAME REMOVED) was 8 years old when, he said, the principal of the United Talmudic Academy in Williamsburg first summoned him to his office, seated him on his lap and began touching him.

This was the start of systematic abuse that allegedly continued several times a week for two months, ultimately destroying (NAME REMOVED)'s faith.

(NAME REMOVED)'s story, detailed in a lawsuit filed on Aug. 27, is one that is far too common in the Orthodox Jewish community, Pasik said.

Pasik and the Cedarhurst law firm of Gerald Ross filed suit on behalf of (NAME REMOVED), listing the United Talmudic Academy (UTA), The Satmar Bungalow Colony and Avrohom Reichman, the former principal of UTA, as defendants. The suit alleges that between October and November of 1993, Reichman molested (NAME REMOVED) repeatedly.

(NAME REMOVED) confronted Reichman in April 2008, according to the suit, after hearing of similar abuse complaints made against him, and made one demand: that he leave his job in the UTA and never teach again. In exchange (NAME REMOVED) and his family would take no further action.

Satmar community officials became involved and after a negotiation, which included a polygraph test that Reichman failed, he left the school. But less than five months later, in August, Reichman was videotaped teaching in the Satmar Bungalow Colony, a children's camp.

The lawsuit seeks damages based on the abuse that (NAME REMOVED) allegedly suffered at Reichman's hands, the failure of the UTA to prevent said abuse, and finally, breach of oral contract by Reichman's return to a teaching position. The suit also alleges that the Satmar officials were aware that the statue of limitations on the criminal prosecution of Reichman's actions would expire when (NAME REMOVED) turned 23 in June and waited until then before returning Reichman to a teaching position. (NAME REMOVED) is suing the three defendants for $5 million.

(NAME REMOVED)'s case is the most recent child abuse scandal that has rocked the Jewish community.

"It says lo sa'amod al dam ray'echa. Do not stand upon the blood of your brother. It's a chiyuv [obligation]; It's what G-d wants us to do. It's as much of a mitzvah as putting on tefillin, observing Shabbos, davening, or anything else," Pasik said.

His goal is "eradicating the horror of child sexual abuse in our yeshivas and all religious and non-public schools in the state."

And beyond the abuse itself is the outrage Pasik feels over the culture of silence around it that he has found in yeshivas:

"One would think that when it comes to protecting our children in the holiest places we would come together, but we've proven unable to do this... What would Rav Aron Kotler say to this? What would Rav Yoel Teitelbaum say?"

(NAME REMOVED)'s case provides another example of schools that Pasik feels have failed to take appropriate steps to protect their students.

"We're seeing many laws limiting the places where convicted sex offenders can live. Here in the Jewish community, rabbis are still making the mistake of restoring sex offenders to classrooms," he said. "There's no cure for pedophilia. You don't put a recovering alcoholic in a bar and you don't put a sex offender in the vicinity of children."
The reason why so many cases are cropping up in the Jewish community, Pasik maintains, is because of ignorance and obstinacy, and a leadership that is unaware of the true nature of child abuse. He also blames lax regulations in non-public schools. Fingerprinting and background checks are required for all employees in public schools and each teacher is a mandated reporter for abuse and neglect. The same is not true for New York State's non-public schools, which together educate over half a million children.

The reason for the discrepancy, Pasik says, is that until recently private schools were thought to be capable of self-governing, a belief that in light of recent events, is no longer tenable.

"Unfortunately over the past four years we've seen proof that this attitude is badly misguided," he continued. "We've seen a terrible clergy abuse problem afflicting both Catholic and Jewish institutions."

Pasik says he approached both Agudath Israel and Torah U'Mesorah to take up self-governing laws like fingerprinting but was rejected. It was a disillusioning response and made Pasik consider a different road: government.

New York State Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) twice supported legislation Pasik proposed to require private schools to fingerprint and perform criminal background checks. It passed 60-1 in the senate but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Lower Manhattan) twice refused to bring the bill to a vote, calling fingerprinting an unfunded mandates on private schools.

The problem of serial child abusers in the Jewish community, in Pasik's mind, stems from amisinterpretation of the idea of teshuva, the Jewish concept of repentance.

"Many rabbis rely on teshuva when dealing with child molesters. What they fail to understand is that the concept should not be applied with a child molester returning to a classroom. The teshuva for a child molester is removing him from any close proximity to children. You don't allow a child molester to do teshuva at the expense of young children. You don't restore a Lanner; you don't restore a Reichman; you don't restore a Kolko to a classroom."

Rabbi Benzion Twerski is a Borough Park-based psychologist and the head of a task force on child abuse recently formed by Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind. While not commenting on the (NAME REMOVED) case, citing unfamiliarity, Rabbi Twerski supported Pasik's position on fingerprinting and background checks.

"The resistance to that actually bothers me because it's an indication that there is what to hide," Twerski said.

The Hikind taskforce is developing a protocol to deal with future abuse cases in the Jewish community.

"Developing policy is complicated," Twerski explained. "It has to be sensitive to secular law, to Shulchan Aruch, and we're not going to be doing anything irresponsible on either end. I'm not willing to do anything that the community won't follow because then we'll be where we are now. "

Pasik seemed to differ. "War has to be declared on child sex abuse," he asserted. "You don't win wars by treading water. You win wars by strong tough laws."

However, both Twerski and Pasik agree on one thing.

"We have a system here that has not serviced us," Twerski said. "Our mistakes were very costly ones."

Pasik has been combating child abuse in the frum community for the last six years; he has encountered ignorance, naiveté, and in some cases, outright evil, he said, of which (NAME REMOVED)'s case may be the latest installment. Asked if he was frustrated by the response of a community that is only now coming around, he almost laughed, before responding gruffly:

"Tzedek tzedek tirdof. Pursue justice and live." He then added: "It will make you live."


Hikind Reports Second Reichman Allegation
Assemblyman Dov Hikind is aggressively pursuing his crusade against child molestation in Brooklyn, despite community protests
By Hella Winston
The New York Jewish Week - September 17, 2008

A second former student of Rabbi Avrohom Reichman alleged Tuesday that the Satmar yeshiva teacher sexually molested him as a child, State Assemblyman Dov Hikind reported this week.

But, reflecting an endemic problem known well by law enforcement authorities, Hikind said that despite his entreaties, the alleged victim and his family refuse to report the case to the police.

"Just an hour ago, I had a man here I know, who shocked me and told me that this same person molested his son," Hikind said, referring to Rabbi Reichman. "I told him, come on, let's go [to the authorities]." But, Hikind added, "He absolutely will not do anything."
The father, "a chasidish guy from Williamsburg," told Hikind that his son, is now "looking to get engaged" — a goal certain to be imperiled due to the stigma of being a victim and the communal antipathy toward "informing" to the secular authorities, were he to go public with his charges.

Hikind reported that the former student is now "18 or 19," which means Rabbi Reichman's alleged acts remain within the statue of limitations for criminal prosecution. The father told Hikind that when his son was in elementary school, Rabbi Reichman had regularly touched him in "inappropriate places."

"The guy was giving me all the encouragement in the world," Hikind reported, referring to the politician's recent push against what he believes is a serious pedophilia problem in Orthodox Brooklyn. "He was cursing [Rabbi Reichman] furiously. He's telling me, you gotta do, you've gotta do. But I couldn't get him to move to first base. This is an example of why we're having such difficulties."

The development was but the latest in a recent rash of rabbinic sexual molestation allegations in Brooklyn's Orthodox neighborhoods. Last month, (NAME REMOVED), now 23, filed suit against Rabbi Reichman, the Satmar bungalow colony where he worked and the school that employs him, United Talmudical Academy, in connection with sexual molestation he says he suffered at Rabbi Reichman's hands at age 8. But because (NAME REMOVED)'s age puts the alleged acts beyond the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution or civil suit, (NAME REMOVED)'s lawyer is seeking entrée to the court with a novel legal theory , the success of which is uncertain.

A secretary for an administrator at United Talmudical Academy said Wednesday the school's "administration has said we will not give any information on this case."

Last April, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko of Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Flatbush was convicted on two counts of child endangerment. Several of his former students have filed suit against him, the school and its administrator, Rabbi Lipa Margulies, who, they alleged, continued to employ Rabbi Kolko despite numerous warnings about his conduct.

Another alleged abuser, Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, now awaits extradition from Israel to Brooklyn, where he has been charged with sexual abuse of children while working as a child counselor out of his home.

Many say that the few cases in which people have come forward — often as adults — constitute just the tip of an iceberg, and that the communal leadership in Brooklyn Orthodox communities are in denial about their situation.

Hikind, who has made the issue a personal crusade over the last couple of months, says he has assembled a dossier of "hundreds" of cases. With the help of a community task force he is now seeking to form, he plans to assemble a registry of alleged abusers based on alleged victims whose charges the panel finds credible. He has threatened to broadcast the alleged abusers' names if rabbinic leaders do not then act to keep them out of community schools.

Michael Dowd, an attorney prominent in this area of law, said Hiknd's plan would increase the legal liability of school administrators and community rabbinic leaders by robbing them of the excuse of ignorance if the alleged abusers molest again.
But Hikind's own legal position once he has assembled his information could be problematic, he said.

"As an assemblyman, if [Hikind] learns of crimes that are presently prosecutable, what would compel him not to disclose this to the DA?," he asked.

Dowd, who is representing the plaintiffs suing Torah Temimah and Rabbi Margulies, said Orthodox communities may believe they have the right to resolve such issues internally. But "in a pluralistic state — and by that I mean both New York and the United States — we don't get to excuse illegal conduct because of our religion."

Hikind affirmed the legitimacy of this question. He said he has scheduled a meeting for next week to determine just how his task force will deal with this issue.

"It's an unbelievable responsibility that rests on us," Hikind said, referring to the information he has now amassed.

Meanwhile, Dr. Benzion Twerski, who had been tapped to head Hikind's Task Force but abruptly resigned from it last week, now denies he left due to threats to his safety.

"The intimidation is primarily based on the shame that my family would endure," he told The Jewish Week.

In a letter posted last week on the Orthodox news blog Voz Is Neias, Twerski elaborated,

"For several days, I was approached by individuals, some stating that they would cross the street if they were to meet me while walking with their children. Others told me they would not accept my child into their class if assigned. Others used euphemisms that I refuse to repeat. Family members were likewise confronted by all sorts of comments and phone calls. My married children had been told to fear ever getting shidduchim [marriage partners] for their children."

Last week, Rabbi Twerski told The Jewish Week he was being "prosecuted in the street for daring to join such a venture" and had resolved to quit "to protect myself, my family and reputation."

"He was basically forced to resign," Hikind said then. "He was literally put up against the wall. ... The point is they got to him, they threatened him."

But Twerski stressed this week that he was not in any physical danger. "The implication is that I need bodyguards to move around the community. That is simply not true. I walk the streets in Borough Park with as much safety as anyone else."

Pressed on whether he seriously feared for the marriage prospects of his young grandchildren, Twerski said, "It's not that I'm fearing that my grandchildren won't have who to marry. That would be silly. The idea over here is — and this is the way my children said it to me — we don't to have to live in shame. The reality is that shame about all of this is not going to change quickly. And basically I would have chosen to force my children to live with that. The cause is a noble one. The question is, the process. ... This is really, really delicate."

Indeed, despite declarations by both men of a shared vision for the community task force, Twerski appeared to significantly differ from Hikind in some respects on this point.
Hikind, for example, appears determined to broadcast the names of alleged child molesters if communal leaders do not act. And he consistently urges individuals who have been molested to go immediately to secular law enforcement authorities with their accounts.

Twerski told The Jewish Week, "There's got to be something that takes the appropriate level of caution. The ones that should get reported should, and very few people say differently. But the question is how to go about doing that so you don't put the wrong guy there."

He believes allegations need to first be verified within the community, though by who is unclear. He conceded that the police have the best expertise to investigate such allegations but seemed to favor a system in which "an independent panel, with poskim [experts on religious law] and professionals on it, completely external to the school" would look into matters first.

Twerski said it might also be possible for the school in question to carry out the investigation but noted, "You can't leave it completely internal because that creates an easy opportunity to cover it all up."

Whatever the ultimate makeup of the initial inquiry panel, it appeared implicit in Twerski's vision that the decision on how to handle such an allegation would be communal — and lay specifically with communal leaders— rather than with the individual alleged victim.

"We do have to have a system that allows the right thing to be done," he said. "The people who have to get reported will. There's going to be people that the community accepts widely as the ones that say, we authorize going to court."

The system has "been misused in the past," Twerski acknowledged. "[But] I believe it's been misused because of a tremendous lack of knowledge. I think people simply don't know, there are rabbis who don't know. There's a lot of education that needs to go on."
"The lack of knowledge is staggering and very bothersome," he said. "It's evolution not a revolution. It's not going to happen that fast. The tendency is that the community responds with fear to drastic moves."

Rabbi ‘sex’ shock - Man claims principal molested him 
By Greg Hanlon
Brooklyn Daily - September 25, 2008
A Greenpoint man is suing his former Williamsburg Satmar Talmudic school, alleging that the school’s principal repeatedly molested him when he was an eight-year-old student in 1993.
Joel Engelman, 23, now a graphic designer and drummer who has long been estranged from the Satmar community, alleges that Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, now 57, molested him while he was the principal of the United Talmudical Academy.
Filed on August 27, the $5 million civil lawsuit – which names Reichman, UTA, and the Satmar Bungalow Colony, an upstate summer camp where Reichman taught, as defendants – claims school leadership reneged on a promise to fire Reichman by reinstating him once the criminal statute of limitations on the alleged abuse had passed.
Engelman decided to come forward in April “out of conscience” after hearing stories of other Satmar boys allegedly being molested by Reichman, according to his lawyer, Elliot Pasik.
“He would swivel the chair from right to left and ask me, ‘How are you? How was your day?’ And then he would start touching me, starting at my shoulders and working his way down gradually, until his hands passed over my genitals,” Engelman told reporters for the Jewish Week, an independent Jewish weekly newspaper.
Engelman alleged that Reichman would conclude each approximately 15-minute session – which went on several times a week for around two months, he alleges – by saying, “Dismissed,” and making him promise he would keep the encounters a secret.
According to Pasik, Engelman and his parents demanded in April that Reichman leave UTA and never teach school or supervise children ever again. In return, the Engelmans would not press charges.

“The grounds of the civil suit is that my client was fraudulently induced into forgoing criminal prosecution against Reichman,” said Pasik.Pasik said that school officials agreed to remove Reichman after a period of negotiations that allegedly included the Rabbi’s failing a polygraph test. But once Engelman turned 23 years old in June, thereby surpassing the date at which the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse passed, Reichman was reinstated, Pasik said.

Messages left on Reichman’s voicemail at UTA were not returned. An employee answering the phone at the switchboard said, “The administrator doesn’t answer questions. We keep that between ourselves.”
Rabbi David Niederman, head of the United Jewish Organizations, told the Jewish Week that Reichman had only been suspended pending an investigation he said did not find sufficient evidence to support Engelman’s claims.
“It’s only normal when charges like this are brought to suspend the teacher in question and conduct your investigation,” Niederman told the paper.
“That’s a totally normal reaction. Then, when you have gathered enough information, you act on what you’ve heard.”
The UTA case is the latest sex abuse case to rock Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox community in recent months.
In April, Rabbi Yehuda Koldo, a first-grade teacher at Yeshiva Torah Temima in Flatbush, pleaded guilty to charges of child endangerment that stemmed from sex abuse charges. Civil suits currently pending against Koldo and the yeshiva seek more than $50 million in damages.
Assemblymember Dov Hikind, who represents Borough Park but is considered a leader of the Orthodox community in all of Brooklyn, said his office has been “listening to stories over the past seven weeks. People are coming forward to tell stories of abuse.”
Hikind recently formed a task force aimed at addressing a problem he says “is so dramatic because not enough has been done to address the issue.”
He pointed to his desire to change the statute of limitations, as well as mandating finger printing and background checks for private school teachers similar to those mandated in public schools.
He also wants to work to change a culture of denial and shame he says precludes people “from coming forward because they’re worried about the reaction of their neighbors and what they will say about them. If you’re a molester, you’re probably safest in our Jewish communities, unfortunately.”

Haredim Begin Confronting Pedophilia
By Lana Gersten
Forward - October 2, 2008

ABUSE ALLEGATIONS: Extradition proceedings against Avrohom Mondrowitz, right, have renewed interest in combatting child abuse in the ultra-Orthodox community. Assemblyman Dov Hikind, below, has created a new task force to address the problem.
After years in which the issue of pedophilia has been quietly dealt with among ultra-Orthodox Jews, a number of leaders in the community are speaking out publicly on the topic, spurring anger and debate over this sensitive issue.

Sexual abuse of children has periodically arisen in the ultra-Orthodox community through high-profile cases like that of Yehuda Kolko and Avrohom Mondrowitz, a teacher and a youth counselor, respectively, who were accused of abusing their students. Leaders in the community told the Forward that they generally treated those cases as isolated incidents. But both the Kolko and Mondrowitz cases have bubbled back up, and in the past few months a number of community leaders have forcefully taken the issue to a new plane.

Perhaps the most influential voice has been of Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who over the past year — and, particularly, over the past two months — has started a somewhat personal campaign and argued that the ultra-Orthodox community has become a haven for child molesters. Agudath Israel of America, a national ultra-Orthodox umbrella organization, has entered the fray by publicly debating legislation on the topic.

"Until not terribly long ago, the issue was very much in the shadows," said David Zwiebel, director of government affairs and general counsel of Agudath Israel of America. "The fact that there were isolated reports here and there of cases arising in yeshiva settings, it was known, but they were very isolated."

"Sometimes they were dealt with correctly and sometimes incorrectly," Zwiebel added, "but the severity of the problem and the possible magnitude were really things that most people, including myself, just didn't understand."

The largely Brooklyn-based ultra-Orthodox community, which spans many different sects, has seen a handful of explosive cases, beginning with that of Mondrowitz, who was indicted in Brooklyn on five counts of sodomy and six counts of sexual abuse in 1985, but fled to Israel during the scrutiny.

In 2006 and 2007, Kolko was charged with several counts of sexual abuse. In this case, which went to court, prosecutors allegedly talked the families of the victims into not pursuing further action after a plea bargain was negotiated, The Jewish Week reported. While Kolko first faced felony child sex abuse charges, he eventually pleaded guilty only to child endangerment and received no jail time.

Religious communities of all sorts often attempt to deal with sex abuse behind closeed doors. In the ultra-Orthodox community there is also a scripturally motivated desire to deal with legal problems through religious courts rather than secular ones.

But in 2006, New York magazine published an in-depth look at the Kolko case and the larger issue of sexual abuse. In October 2007, Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes signed papers requesting the extradition of Mondrowitz to the United States.

Following suit, Hikind, an Orthodox man himself and one of the most vocal members of the community, has brought unusual publicity to the issue. He said he only recently came to the realization that sexual abuse in his community is not, in fact, restricted to isolated cases. He said that lately, an "avalanche of people" has come to his office to talk about cases of sexual abuse.

"I'm shocked, and I've been around a long time, and I'm pretty with it," Hikind told the Forward. "I've been absolutely shocked and flabbergasted by what I've witnessed in the last eight weeks."

In response, Hikind has taken up the fight this summer by creating a new task force in his office that he says will develop a protocol to address the problem of sexual abuse in a broad way. The task force's mission is to collect a list of suspected child molesters and make that list available to the public. In an interview with the independent community newspaper The Jewish Star, Hikind boldly described what he views as the extent of the problem.

"If you're a child molester, the best community to come to is Borough Park, Flatbush, Lakewood or Monroe," Hikind said, referring to areas that have large ultra-Orthodox populations. "Your chances of being arrested are much smaller because people don't press charges."

Amy Neustein, one of the most outspoken activists on child abuse, has noted the change.

Now, Neustein believes that the "groundswell of activism and discontent with the community has finally reached critical mass."

Zwiebel also believes that this issue is more on the radar now, but he traces the beginning of the interest to a time before Hikind's campaign. He believes that it goes back to the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. It was then, Zwiebel said, that his members started to hear their own stories of abuse.

In 2006, Agudath Israel supported a bill introduced in New York State to allow private schools to opt into a program that required fingerprinting for all new hires. That same year, Agudath Israel had "no opposition" to a bill that would have obligated these schools to report any cases of sexual abuse and child abuse in their school setting.

More recently, Agudath Israel has declined to take a position on a new fingerprinting bill that would mandate all private schools to opt into the system, though Zwiebel said that this was only because the rules and regulations of the system have not yet been published.

The movement in the community, though, has not gone unopposed. In August, Rabbi Benzion Twerski, a psychologist and respected member of the community, was tapped to head Hikind's task force. He resigned just days after his appointment, reportedly because of the overwhelming pressure and intimidation he received.

"That just goes to show you that we've got a long way to go," Hikind said.

Marvin Schick, who has written extensively about Jewish affairs in his position as president of four Orthodox Jewish day schools, one of which is ultra-Orthodox, believes that Orthodox Jews at large are following the trends of larger society. Because there is greater attention being paid to this problem in the secular world, the Orthodox community is just following suit, he said.

Asked whether more people are now realizing that sexual abuse is a real problem, Schick said: "I don't think [that's] fair. I've been president of four schools for 36 years, and there hasn't been a single situation."

He also warned against the possibility of false accusations, which could ruin the lives of those unjustly punished.

Despite the concern, cases of alleged sexual abuse keep coming up — most recently in August, when a former student sued Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, a teacher at a prominent Satmar school in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, accusing him of sexual assault and abuse. The suit from the student alleges that the school failed to protect students against sexual assault. Reichman has not yet responded to the suit.

According to Elliot Pasik, the attorney for the alleged victim in the Reichman case, Hikind has taken up the issue at the right time and is on the right track. He believes that the public recognition of the problem will lead to increased legislation with a greater sense of urgency.

"There's growing consensus, both in establishment quarters and in the synagogue pews, that some helpful governmental involvement in the life of our yeshivas is necessary," Pasik said.


Brooklyn Hasidic Community Grapples With Scandal
By Barbara Bradley Hagerty
NPR - March 9, 2009

A month after allegations of child sexual abuse surfaced in the mainstream press, the Hasidic community in Brooklyn, N.Y., is taking cautious steps to confront the scandal. Meanwhile, outsiders are tackling the issue head on.
On Sunday, state Assemblyman Dov Hikind plans to host a community-wide "morning of chizuk" (support) for the alleged victims of abuse. Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who is largely responsible for bringing public attention to the scandal, has recruited rabbis and community leaders to speak at the event, which takes place in Boro Park, the center of the Hasidic district he represents. Some community members believe the gesture is merely symbolic, but Hikind calls the event "unprecedented."
"No one has touched this subject before," he says. "We're telling the victims we're sorry we didn't see your pain before, and we're turning the corner."
Another development is potentially much more powerful. The New York State Assembly recently introduced a bill to increase the age by which a person must bring a criminal or civil complaint to 28 from 23. In addition, the House is proposing that for one year, anyone can bring a complaint, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. The House has passed this legislation several years in a row, but it always died in the state Senate. This year, however, several new state senators have pledged to support the bill, and victims groups are optimistic that the law will be changed.
Inside the community, the talk has taken more muted tones. Pearl Engelman, mother of one of the alleged victims, Joel Engelman, says "everyone" in her community heard the NPR story because it was posted on the community's most popular blog. The story drew a huge nu0mber of online responses, she said, "more than anything else I can remember."
"Many people said they knew people personally who had been abuse," she said, "and some said they were themselves victims."
This story has received attention by the local Jewish press, notably The Jewish Week. But even with the publicity generated by NPR's coverage, Engelman says, there's been a "deafening silence." Her neighbors have avoided the subject with her, she says, largely because people in this Hasidic community do not confront Jewish leaders, because they depend on them to educate and later arrange marriages for their children.
"It's unusual to come forward," she says. "It's unusual to be outspoken about issues, especially a subject that's been swept under the rug like this. And [it] hasn't only been swept under the rug, but there are many people standing on the rug."
Engelman notes that this silence is a recipe for enabling the abuse to continue, but she believes her son's case may have created a small fissure in the dam.
Since the NPR story aired, a new victims' group, Survivors for Justice, met and welcomed several new people. According to people at the meeting, one young man said he had witnessed a child being molested in a mikvah, a bathhouse, a few years ago. A detective from the Brooklyn sex crimes unit was in attendance, and, one source says, she is investigating that case and several others that have come through the group's tip line.
A couple of other people have come forward anonymously to say they had problems with Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, the school teacher accused of abusing Joel Engelman. Reichman is still teaching, and school officials refuse to discuss the case because of an ongoing lawsuit.
Asked what it will take to change the school system, Pearl Engelman responds, "Exactly what we're doing now — bringing awareness and attention to the situation, and making schools uncomfortable with covering up with these criminals. Uncomfortable because they now have a fear there will be others like Joel."

Hikind Retreating On Tough Tactics Against Molesters 
By Rebecca Dube
Forward - March 25, 2009

Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn, a leading voice in the fight to end child sexual abuse in Orthodox communities, is backing down from some of his previous claims and backing away from one of his most confrontational stands against an alleged pedophile.

In an interview with the Forward, Hikind dramatically scaled down a previously reported estimate of the number of abuse cases he knew about. He also said he could not keep a pledge to force a prominent yeshiva to remove an alleged pedophile from its staff.

Assemblyman Hikind: Changing tactics.

Hikind said that he adjusted his tactics in order to be most effective. “Some people want me to yell and scream; they want me to burn the town down. I know how to do that, but I would lose the war immediately,” Hikind said in his office in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Boro Park.

After Hikind first publicized the problem of child sexual abuse in religious communities on his weekly radio show, it was widely reported that he heard from 1,000 victims of past and current abuse. That figure was attributed to Hikind by The New York Times, the New York Post, the Forward and other Jewish media.

But the real figure is about 100, Hikind told the Forward. He said the often repeated 1,000 number may have come from his speculation about the possible number of cases, given what he has heard from therapists who treat sexual abuse victims.

“I think what we were saying to everybody was, my God, the numbers must be astronomical,” Hikind said. “We never said a thousand. It keeps on getting repeated; anybody who talks to me, I actually tell them what the facts are.”

In the same interview, Hikind retreated from his previous position with regard to one of the Orthodox community’s most prominent alleged abusers — Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, formerly principal of, and currently a teacher at, the United Talmudical Academy, located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Reichman, the UTA and the Satmar Bungalow Colony summer camp are all named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by Joel Engelman, 23, who says that he was sexually abused by Reichman when he was 8 years old and that the school covered up the abuse.

Since Engelman went public with his allegations, both his family and Hikind have heard from others who say they were also victimized by Reichman. Last summer, following those revelations, Hikind vowed publicly that Reichman would not return to his teaching job in the fall of 2008.

But the accused rabbi is still teaching, and Hikind has not publicly pressed the issue further. The assemblyman told the Forward that his confrontation with Satmar leaders has been “a rather huge learning experience for me.”

Hikind stated that he has “been extremely clear publicly that I believe Rabbi Reichman has done some terrible things, and he should be out. We tried a lot of things behind the scenes to get [Satmar leaders and school officials] to remove this guy, but at the end of the day, for whatever reason — and I think it has something to do with his family being very prominent and having a lot of money — they were not going to remove this guy willingly. Period. End of story.”

The UTA did not return a phone message seeking a response to the allegations.

Hikind said that he could have raised more of a ruckus — for example, by protesting in front of the school — but he believed that such tactics would ultimately hurt the cause by turning other Orthodox leaders against him, which in turn would discourage other victims from speaking out.

“I made a decision that for me to go to war with Satmar, war meaning going into the streets and fighting them publicly and protesting outside the school… it would just destroy everything I’m trying to do,” Hikind said. “I felt without doubt that I would jeopardize everything else that I’m doing. I’ve had to walk on eggs.”

Pearl Engelman, Joel’s mother, has lashed out at Hikind in the past. But at a recent public forum on child sexual abuse, she seemed more sad than angry with Hikind — though still furious at her son’s alleged molester. “The school is stronger than Dov Hikind,” she said quietly. She said people often ask her why Reichman is still teaching children.

“Honestly, I have no answer, and it needs to be asked of the community and the school that is harboring him,” she said, adding that many UTA parents don’t even know about the abuse allegations, despite widespread publicity. “Our community is so secluded that people actually don’t know the news.”

While he has been trying to work cooperatively with religious leaders, Hikind said he is supplying the district attorney’s office with the names of accused molesters. He steadfastly refuses to disclose the names of victims or to publicly name accused pedophiles, but he said giving information about suspected molesters to the authorities is something different altogether.

“We have always worked with the DA,” Hikind said. “We don’t go out and publicize it, because that would destroy everything that I’m doing. But when we have situations where there’s a danger, we constantly give that information to the proper authorities.”

He would not disclose the number of names he has passed along to the district attorney, saying only that it was “many, many, many.” The Brooklyn district attorney’s office confirmed that Hikind has been sharing information, but the office declined to specify how many names the assemblyman has passed along. Overall, the D.A. now has 19 open cases involving allegations of sexual abuse in Orthodox communities in Brooklyn, said Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

Advocates for abuse survivors say they understand that Hikind has to tread cautiously, and they appreciate his efforts.

“The fact that 100 victims came forward is significant. Think about how hard it is for a survivor to come forward in the face of the stigma in their communities. These people are really courageous,” said Lonnie Soury, who is a spokesman for Survivors for Justice, a group of Jewish sexual abuse survivors.

Elliot Pasik, the attorney handling Engelman’s lawsuit, confirmed that Hikind has been communicating with law enforcement.

“People need to recognize that the sex abuse problem has been brewing in the Orthodox community for 30 years, and an overnight solution is simply not feasible,” said Pasik, president of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, a group he founded last year. “I understand there are advocates clamoring for Mr. Hikind to publicly release the names of the alleged molesters, but we shouldn’t pursue vigilantism…. There is a validity to the path Mr. Hikind has pursued.”

In addition to civil lawsuits and criminal investigations, the third front in the fight against sex abuse is unfolding in Albany, where lawmakers are considering two bills that could permanently change the way religious communities deal with sexual abuse.

One would require background checks and fingerprinting for all private school employees — something that is already mandated for public schools. Sponsored by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and co-sponsored by Hikind, among others, the fingerprinting bill is awaiting a hearing in the Assembly education committee.

The second bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey and also co-sponsored by Hikind, would extend the statute of limitations by five years for criminal and civil cases of child sex abuse and would create a one-year window during which people could sue over old cases of sexual abuse. That bill, which would expose churches, religious schools and synagogues to possible litigation from abuses stretching back many years, may get a vote in the Assembly in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, survivors of sexual abuse say they will continue to speak out, and Hikind says he will continue advocating on their behalf — in his own way.


Orthodox Jewish Community Struggles With Abuse Allegations
ABC News - May 5, 2009
By Scott Michaels

When Joel Engelman was 8 years old, he says, he was called from his Hebrew class to the principal's office at his Brooklyn yeshiva, a Jewish religious school. His parents had recently told Rabbi Avrohom Reichman that their son had been abused by an older boy at the school, he says.
But he says the rabbi was not offering to help that day.
When Engelman arrived at the principal's office, he says, Reichman told him to close the door. He told the boy to sit on his lap and began swiveling his chair back and forth, Engelman says. Reichman then touched him, moving from his shoulders down, Engelman claims.
The same kind of abuse went on twice a week for several months before he left the school, Engelman claims in a civil lawsuit filed against the yeshiva, the United Talmudical Academy.
For more than 10 years, Engelman, now 23, kept what he says happened to himself. He left the orthodox community and found new friends. It wasn't until about two years ago, when he says he heard that other boys allegedly had been abused by Reichman, that he tried to do something about it.
But Engelman says the response from religious leaders has been just as disturbing as the alleged abuse. He claims the school's religious leaders told him not to go to the police, and promised to remove Reichman from the school, which they did for a few months.
"They kept telling me, 'Don't go to the police, don't do anything. We've dealt with this before,'" with other teachers, he said. "It really shocked me."
A few days after the statute of limitations for Engelman to file a civil or criminal case against Reichman for abuse passed, the school reinstated the rabbi, the lawsuit claims.
Engelman's is among a handful of publicized cases of alleged abuse within the insular Orthodox Jewish community. But alleged victims and their advocates say it is far from an isolated instance.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office, which last month announced a hotline for alleged Orthodox sex abuse victims, says it has 19 active cases of alleged sex abuse in the borough's Orthodox Jewish community. And advocates say the problem extends beyond Brooklyn.
"If you're a pedophile, just go to one of the orthodox communities. You're probably safest there," said New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, himself an Orthodox Jew. "It's sad for me to say that, but it's true."
When Hikind broached the subject of sexual abuse on his weekly radio show last year, he said he was "inundated" with calls from alleged victims from the United States, Israel and parts of Europe.
ABC News has spoken to Orthodox Jews who claim they were victims of abusers in New York, Baltimore and Illinois, who shared stories of alleged molestation followed by what they described as hostility from community leaders when they sought help.
Hikind says another of Reichman's students, who has not come forward publicly, claims he was abused by the rabbi as a child.
"A lot was attempted, a lot was tried" to remove Reichman from the school, he said. "He is unfortunately still in the classroom."
A lawyer for Reichman, Jacob Laufer, said the rabbi "vehemently denies" that he abused any students. He said the school conducted an investigation into Engelman's claims and found that they were "without merit."
A lawyer for the yeshiva said the school would not comment on pending litigation.
Reichman "has been a teacher and principal at that school for decades," Laufer said. "The parent body highly values his services as an educator and they compete among themselves for the opportunity to have their children be in Rabbi Reichmans's class."
Rabbi David Niederman, the head of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg, said claims of widespread abuse in the Orthodox community are "nonsense."
"Are there cases where people dont abide by the law? Yes, no question. We are all human. As humans, we have temptations of various sorts. No community is immune to that," he said.
"But we would not and don't tolerate any type of criminality. If a person abuses your child today, he will abuse my child tomorrow or my grandchild. We take that very seriously," he said. "We put our children first. Nobody in his right mind will try to protect somebody who committed a crime. It will turn against you."
Though Hikind and some rabbis have recently been willing to take on the issue, alleged victims say there is still tremendous pressure to keep quiet. Several said community leaders were skeptical of their claims, and said they were told that they and their relatives would never be able to find someone to marry them and that they would become outcasts in their tight-knit communities.
One prominent rabbi, speaking on the condition of anomynity, questioned whether abuse allegations were true.
"If there's a family fight, a dispute in the family, it could start with verbal abuse. What happens next? You know and I know, it becomes 'he raped me,' or whatever," the rabbi said. "If you're telling me there are allegations of abuse, I don't know what 'allegations' really means."
Engelman, now a graphic designer, says he has lost jobs because he spoke publicly about Reichman.
Hikind says nearly all the alleged victims who have contacted him said they were afraid to speak publicly or to prosecutors. He will not publicly release names of alleged perpetrators, though he says he turns over information to prosecutors.
"They are willing to protect the community at the expense of the children," said a woman who claims she was abused by her father, a rabbi, and who asked to be identified only by her first name, Nanette. The woman's father did not return repeated messages seeking comment.
She said that when she began discussing the accusations against her father, her rabbi said if she continued to speak about it publicly, no other Orthodox Jews would be willing to marry any of her siblings. She says her family refused to speak with her.
"My sister told me until I stop the slander, she can't be my sister," she said.
"One of the things they say is when people speak out like this it causes desecration of God's name," she said. "But the real desecration to God is that they are willing to protect the community at the expense of the children."
Tamir Weissberg says he was abused by three Orthodox men over the course of several years.
The first time was at summer camp when he was in the fifth grade, when he said the adult son of the camp director invited him and several other boys into his tent one night and fondled them. He says he never told anyone until years later.
The person he accuses of molesting him was convicted in 2006 of unrelated charges of trying to contact a child over the Internet for sex. He was sentenced to 262 months in prison.
When he was a student in the Midwest, Weissberg says a school administrator allowed him to make phone calls from the administrator's room. One day, Weissberg says, the administrator showed him a pornographic magazine and asked Weissberg to masturbate in front of him.
Similar instances continued for several months, Weissberg says, until he tape recorded the man offering him money to masturbate in front of him.
When he took the tape to the head of the yeshiva, "He said 'If I hear a word of this from anyone I will make your life miserable.' And he took the tape away," Weissberg claims.
The administrator and the school's head rabbi did not return repeated calls for comment.
Weissberg, now 27, says he left school at 15 and returned to Baltimore feeling isolated and depressed. He says his parents were heartened when a family friend began spending time with him.
Weissberg says the friend, a lawyer, invited Weissberg to his apartment to watch a movie. After watching "Fargo," the lawyer suggested watching another movie, and put on a porn film, Weissberg says. "I started screaming, I freaked out," he said.
Weissberg says when he told his rabbi what had happened, the rabbi said he would look into it, but later responded that the lawyer had denied the allegations.
"He was someone I respect and a man of God. For me to have to sit there and tell him that, to no avail, it was a big slap in the face," he said. "I was ignored completely."
He says eventually the lawyer was asked to take a lie detector test and, when he admitted what had happened, he was asked to leave the Baltimore Orthodox community. No criminal charges were ever filed.
The rabbi, Moshe Heinemann, said he did not recall the lawyer admitting what had happened or asking him to leave the community. He declined to discuss the allegations further. Several other Baltimore rabbis declined to discuss the issue of sexual abuse.
"It was really shoved under the rug and ignored. I'm resentful for all that," Weissberg said. "It's something that people always think it's not going to happen to my kid. We don't want to hear about it.
"Unfortunately, we live in a society where there are a lot of sick people," Weissberg said. "Just because you're Jewish doesn't mean you're excluded from that. It's a fact of life of the world we're living in."
Engelman says that after Reichman was reinstated, the school's religious leaders then tried to minimize what had happened. He claims the school told his mother that since the touching was on the outside of Engelman's clothes, it was not a big deal.
Niederman said the school had investigated the allegations and was satisfied that they were not true.
"One would have to be sick in his mind to willingly keep somebody in the school that they know or believe that he committed a crime against children," the rabbi said.
For Engelman, that's not enough.
"Here's a guy who epitomized piety and respect," Engelman said. "It really shocked me. It turned my way of looking at people upside down."



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