Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brooklyn: Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse Speaking Out! (January 26, 2009)

The Awareness Center, In. sponsored the first Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse Speak Out in Borough Park, NY. In attendance was survivors of various Jewish backgrounds and also survivors of other faiths. It was an extremely powerful and powerful evening for all.

Part 1 - Vicki Polin who is the founder and director of The Awareness Center is featured.

Part 2

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jewish Coalition Want Abuse Victims to Speak out

By Carolyn Peirce
January 25, 2009

A Baltimore survivors coalition is starting a public awareness campaign this week to break the silence about the sexual abuse of children within Jewish communities.

The Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse, an international network based out of the Awareness Center in Baltimore, is organizing a series of "speak outs," that are aimed at allowing suppressed survivors of sexual abuse to educate others through their stories. The speak outs start Monday in Brooklyn, N.Y., and will begin in Baltimore Feb. 8.

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer
Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer speaks at the Glen Avenue Shul.

The coalition also wants local rabbis to implement "safety plans" to protect children from registered sex offenders who are attending services at their synagogues unbeknownst to parents. However, some community members said outing a convicted sex offender is unjust to the offender who already has been punished through the court system.

Cantor Stuart Friedman - Convicted Sex Offender
The coalition recently faced a backlash from Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, who refuses to notify members of his Glenn Avenue Shul that they attend services with Cantor Stuart Friedman, 54, a registered sex offender in Maryland. Friedman spent time in federal prison for participating in an international child porn ring.

The coalition asked Hopfer to notify parents within the Eruv of Baltimore that Friedman resides in the 6000 block of Clover Road. The coalition also asked to create a special service excluding children under the age of 21, so Friedman can pray "without being tempted," said Vicki Polin, the Awareness Center spokeswoman.

"We don't think our demands are outrageous, because this is someone who's aroused by children. He's dangerous," said Polin, who added that the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse has "a few thousand members."

Polin said she worries that Friedman could endanger children, possibly by photographing them, if he is not escorted in the synagogue.

The coalition contacted Hopfer with its demands, but "he just slammed down the phone," Polin said.

Hopfer encourages victims to report abuse to a rabbi instead of police, Polin said, and uses the Holocaust to illustrate that "reporting another Jew will bring on more hatred to the Jewish community."

"It's like the Catholic Church all over, but not as large," she said. "They encourage people to come to them rather than authorities, but they don't have education or training in how to handle these things."

Hopfer was reluctant to discuss Polin's allegations in a phone interview, saying he "refuses to cooperate" with the coalition because "they're irresponsible people."

"This is opening up something that I don't want to speak about," he said. When asked if he notified his synagogue of Friedman's criminal record, Hopfer said, "I can only say that we've done everything possible to be responsible, caring people."

Hopfer also denied ever referencing the Holocaust to encourage members of his synagogue to report abuse to a rabbi rather than authorities.

"I've been accused of many things and these allegations don't mean a thing," he said.

Hopfer said he wrote a letter to the community about a year ago "acknowledging that such things exist and people should speak with a professional or a rabbi and sometimes police," but he would not provide a copy of the letter.

Hopfer's message to "sometimes" notify police raised concerns for the Baltimore Jewish Council, which encourages victims to "always report" abuse, said Arthur Abramson, the council's executive director.

"We encourage people to go to the police, and also speak with a rabbi if they need to, because this is a person who has committed a crime and could be dangerous," he said.

Friedman's neighbor, who was too scared to give her name because she also attends the Glen Avenue Shul, said the coalition's demands would only tarnish Friedman's reputation.

"I think the Awareness Center should be going after people who are actually molesting children and not someone who just looked at things on the computer," she said.

Friedman told The Examiner he had no comment.

He has lived in the Orthodox Jewish Baltimore community since May 2007 when he finished a 15-month sentence in federal prison for sending pornography through the mail to an undercover FBI agent in California, according to a March 1999 Los Angeles Times story.

Before that conviction, Friedman was arrested in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he was a cantor at Beth Israel Synagogue leading prayers and teaching children Hebrew lessons.

Canadian authorities suspected Friedman had participated in an international child porn ring, and raided his residence in September 1996 where they found him seated at his computer downloading child pornography from the Internet, according to newspaper reports in the Daily News in Hailfax, Nova Scotia.

Police seized hundreds of images, and dozens of videos depicting children, some as young as 8 years old, performing sexual acts, according to the Daily News.

Canadian authorities said no evidence existed that indicated Friedman was physically involved with children in the synagogue or in the material seized.

He pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and received a $2,000 fine before he was deported to the United States and arrested on federal child porn charges.

Friedman stood trial in Los Angeles and could have faced up to 15 years, but his attorney, Marcia Brewer, successfully argued the punishment down to 15 months in prison and three years of probation, according to the Awareness Center.

Brewer also persuaded the judge to remove the requirement that Friedman disclose his child-pornography conviction to parents of anyone younger than 18 with whom he has contact because the pornography didn't include boys younger than 12, according to the Awareness Center.

Brewers argued that the pornography Friedman mailed to the FBI agent only depicted boys over the age of 12.

Friedman, who was listed as noncompliant for more than a year on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry, is now considered in compliance.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Come to: Brooklyn - Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse Speaking Out!

The Awareness Center's Jewish Survivors Speak Out is scheduled for Monday, January 26, 2009.

For more information about the Speak Out download the brochure at:

The Awareness Center, Inc., which is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg's Update - January 11, 2009

Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg's update on what's happening in Brooklyn, NY in the Orthodox communities regarding sexual abuse.

The stories Rabbi Rosenberg is sharing are very similar to the stories The Awareness Center has heard coming out of Baltimore, MD; Lakewood, NJ, Monsey, NY; Melbourne, Australia; and various locations in Israel.

Part 7 -11 will be posted soon

Recorded on January 11, 2009

Part 1 - Children Being Sexually Abused in Jewish Schools

Part 2 - Problems in Advocating For Sexually Abused Children in Brooklyn

Part 3 - Fighting Against Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox World of Brooklyn

Part 4 - Witness Tampering of Survivors of Sexual Abuse and those Who Advocate For Them

Part 5 - Sex Offenders and Prison

Part 6 - Talks About 14-Year-Old Girl Who Was Sexually Assaulted

Part 7 - Educating Children About Sexual Abuse

Part 8 - Changes Needed to End Sexual Abuse in Borough Park and Williamsburg

Part 9 - Coming Soon

Part 10 - Coming Soon
Part 11 - Coming Soon

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Protecting those who advocate for Jewish Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

The Awareness Center, Inc. and Child Victims Voice of Maryland co-sponsored an event on November 26, 2008 in which Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg talked about his experiences of advocating for survivors of child sexual abuse in the ultra orthodox communities of Borough Park/Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY)

Part 1 - Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg talks about the attempt on his life

Part 2 - Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg talks about the attempt on his life

Part 3 - Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg talks about the attempt on his life

Part 4 - Rabbi Nochum Rosenberg Named the 2008 Award Recipient -The Awareness Center, Inc.

Part 5 - Senator Jim Brochin receives award

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse Speaking Out!

When:     Sunday, February 8, 2009  1:30 PM - 3:30 PM 

Where:  Pikesville Public Library, 1301 Reisterstown Rd., Pikesville, MD

Reservations Required - Seating is Limited 

RSVP:  The Awareness Center, Inc. 
Jewish Survivors of sexual violence rarely are provided an opportunity to speak out against the heinous crimes committed against them as children or as adults.  This educational event is designed to give those who have been victimized the opportunity to educate our community on the issues, ramiļ¬cations and offer support to others who have been touched by sexual violence. 

This event is FREE and open to the public, yet reservations are required due to space limitations. 
The Awareness Center is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/ Assault. 

Speakers include: 
  • Leslie B. - Survivor - Survivor of sibling incest. 
  • Murray Levin, JD - Advocate, Survivor of clergy sexual abuse by a rabbi. 
  • Vicki Polin, LCPC - Founder/Director of The Awareness Center 
  • Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg - Advocate for sexually abuse orthodox children 
  • Bob Russell, Founder - Child Victims Voice Maryland, Survivor of clergy sexual abuse by a priest.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Case of Arthur Samet - Borough Park YM-YWHA (Borough Park, NY)

Arrested in October, 2008 and charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child beginning in December 2001 at the 14th Ave.

Samet was arrested in 2007 on a charge of sexual misconduct, but the victim later refused to prosecute because of intense pressure from the Jewish community, police sources said. The case was later sealed.

New York Daily News - Sunday, January 4th 2009

An accused Brooklyn child molester charged with fondling a boy inside a Boro Park six years ago still frequents the kiddie-packed center, the Daily News has learned.

Arthur Samet, 48, was arrested in October and charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child beginning in December 2001 at the 14th Ave. YM-YWHA's Jacuzzi, according to court records.

The victim, now 19, came forward last fall to report the alleged crime.

Officials at the Y were stunned to learn of the alleged incident.

"This is the first time I am hearing about this," said Boro Park YM-YWHA directorEllie Kastel, who was shown court documents detailing the encounters by a News reporter.

"I am very disturbed that we weren't informed. It is very important to us to protect our children," Kastel said.

Asked if Samet will lose his membership, Kastel replied: "I will do what my lawyers tell me to do."
Samet was arrested in 2007 on a charge of sexual misconduct, but the victim later refused to prosecute because of intense pressure from the Jewish community, police sources said. The case was later sealed.
In the current case, investigators wanted to protect the victim from outside influence and did not officially notify the YMHA, sources said.

Prosecutors took up the case even though it was six years before the teen came forward, because state law gives child victims of sex abuse up to five years past their 18th birthday to tell authorities, said a spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

The teen told investigators in October that Samet molested him inside the Y three times, between December 2001 and March 2002. At least one instance occurred while they both sat inside the Y's Jacuzzi, sources said. Samet refused to comment at a December court appearance. His lawyer, Richard Finkel, said Samet is a "family man."

The issue of molestation has become more visible in the insular Borough Park community in recent months because of several arrests. Samet is the third man charged with sexually or physically abusing a child.

With Alison Gendar

Case of the Unnamed Sex Offender at the Empire Shtibel Mikvah (Crown Heights, NY)

 Case of the Unnamed Sex Offender at the Empire Shtibel Mikvah 
Crown Heights, NY

The Shomrim hotline was called by a child asking for help asking for help.  The child stated that he was just molested at the Empire Shtibel Mikvah and the perpetrator was still in the Mikvah.

If anyone has anymore information on this case please forward it to The Awareness Center.

Table of Contents

  1. Child Molested in Crown Heights Mikvah (01/04/2009)

Child Molested in Crown Heights Mikvah
Crown Heights Info - January 04 2009

CROWN HEIGHTS [CHI] — At 4:12pm, Friday, Erev Shabbos, a child called the Shomrim hotline asking for help. The child stated that he was just molested at the Empire Shtibel Mikvah and the perpetrator was still in the Mikvah.

Numerous Shomrim members arrived on the scene within seconds. After speaking to the child, they requested for Police to further investigate. The members had the suspect, a 23 year old Israeli, wait for Police.

The child told the Police what happened and the officers, then walked suspect to precinct, for further questioning by detectives.

After being interrogated at the precinct the suspect was formally arrested on charges pertaining to his crimes.

In case of an emergency never hesitate to call 911 and Shomrim at (718) 774-3333 24/7


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