The Story behind the Arrest of Rabbi David Greenfeld for Molesting

The Daily News reported the arrest on December 23 of Rabbi David Y Greenfeld  of 47th St. in Boro Park. He was booked in Kings County Criminal Court on charges of sexual abuse, forcible touching and harassment (charge sheet #2009KN101458). David Y Greenfeld (also known by his Jewish names as Dovid Leib or Dovid Yidie) is the son of Rabbi Baruch Chuna Greenfeld, Dayan (religious judge) and Gabay (personal secretary) of the 45th Street Bobov Rabbi, Mordechai Dovid Unger.

According to the Daily News, the victim is a 15-year-old Chassidic boy and “the pair met at their place of worship.” According to Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg  the episode actually took place in May in the Tosher mikvah (ritual bath) in Boro Park. What follows is an account about the alleged assault and its aftermath as reported to me by Rabbi Rosenberg, a hasid from Williamsburg who is active in the fight against child molesting in the orthodox Jewish world.

The boy escaped his assailant in the mikvah, dressed hastily and decided to ensure his escape by taking the man’s clothing. Later on the wallet inside the pants gave them the name of the man in the mikvah. The boy shared his plight with his parents who were sympathetic but reluctant to report the episode because a trial would publicize the boy’s assault and hurt their standing in the community. Nevertheless they consulted with Rabbi Rosenberg privately shortly after the mikvah episode.

Rabbi Rosenberg and the victim visited the Mosholu Yeshiva in Boro Park where Greenfeld worked as a teacher. The victim identified Rabbi Greenfeld. A discussion ensued with the administration and Greenfeld was confronted. As reported in a previous post, Greenfeld then signed a letter agreeing not to work with children .

By November the boy’s family who are Belzer Chassidim were consulting with key figures in Belz. They were advised to initiate a formal complaint with the police.

The boy and Rabbi Rosenberg’s went to the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) for sex crimes in the middle of December. They brought along the seized clothing and the signed letter. A detective followed-up diligently and Greenfeld was arrested in less than 2 weeks. Rabbi Rosenberg was impressed with their sensitivity and professionalism.

Many sex abuse victim advocates report less satisfactory follow-up on complaints when they go to the local police precinct houses in the ultra orthodox neighborhoods or contact Kol Tzedek, a unit supposedly established to assist orthodox complainants. They claim that it works together with community influentials (askanim) and certain rabbis to discourage victim families from pressing charges.

In recent years several prominent rabbinic authorities have publicly stated that molestation is a life threatening act, and molesters are unlikely to stop with one act. Under the Jewish law (halachach) governing a rodef (a homicidal pursuer) one has an obligation to report the offender to the authorities.  Nevertheless there are rabbis who discourage reporting. Rabbi Rosenberg alleges that some of these rabbis offer that advice in deference to wealthy individuals connected to the molesters who are major contributors.

David Greenfeld was released on bail of $500 the next evening and is now awaiting trial.

IF YOUR OR ANYONE YOU KNOW WAS A VICTIM OF DAVID GREENFELD CONTACT the NYPD Brooklyn Sex Crimes Unit (718-330-5600). Even if the episode happened long ago, or in another state or country, the information can assist the prosecution in this case. Reporting can also qualify victims for professional help in lessening the emotional harm of sex abuse. Please come forward, help yourself and help make the community safer for all children.

ADVISORY – When reporting to authorities take along an advocate such as Rabbi Rosenberg, or members of other advocacy groups or just a lawyer. This serves notice to the police and the DA that you expect serious follow-up on the charges and reduces the chances for political operatives to interfere with the case.


3 thoughts on “The Story behind the Arrest of Rabbi David Greenfeld for Molesting

  1. Pingback: The Shul for Scandal: Where the Molesters Prey « FRUM FOLLIES by Yerachmiel Lopin

  2. To Rabbi Nuchum Rosenberg: If you never do any more mikvahs in your life, you have done enough of them to go to heaven. You are a real man, a hero, someone who the world should congratulate and emulate.

    I am not Jewish, but I am a victim of Law of the Moser. The Jews who used Law of the Moser against me engaged in identity theft for their client. When I reported it to the authorities, I was subjected to all manners to torture by Jews who are still determined to stop me from reporting the original wrongdoers to prison.

    I honor you and your commitment to obey the Jehovah-inspired Torah (Leviticus 5:1-5) instead of the man-inspired Babylonian Talmud, Abodah Zarah, 26B. It says: And if any one sin, in that he heareth the voice of adjuration, he being a witness, whether he hath seen or known, if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity; or if any one touch any unclean thing, whether it be the carcass of an unclean beast, or the carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean swarming things, and be guilty, it being hidden from him that he is unclean; or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever his uncleanness be wherewith he is unclean, and it be hid from him; and, when he knoweth of it, be guilty; or if any one swear clearly with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall utter clearly with an oath, and it be hid from him; and, when he knoweth of it, be guilty in one of these things; and it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that wherein he hath sinned.

    א  וְנֶפֶשׁ כִּי-תֶחֱטָא, וְשָׁמְעָה קוֹל אָלָה, וְהוּא עֵד, אוֹ רָאָה אוֹ יָדָע; אִם-לוֹא יַגִּיד, וְנָשָׂא עֲו‍ֹנוֹ.
    ב  אוֹ נֶפֶשׁ, אֲשֶׁר תִּגַּע בְּכָל-דָּבָר טָמֵא, אוֹ בְנִבְלַת חַיָּה טְמֵאָה אוֹ בְּנִבְלַת בְּהֵמָה טְמֵאָה, אוֹ בְּנִבְלַת שֶׁרֶץ טָמֵא; וְנֶעְלַם מִמֶּנּוּ, וְהוּא טָמֵא וְאָשֵׁם.
    ג  אוֹ כִי יִגַּע, בְּטֻמְאַת אָדָם, לְכֹל טֻמְאָתוֹ, אֲשֶׁר יִטְמָא בָּהּ; וְנֶעְלַם מִמֶּנּוּ, וְהוּא יָדַע וְאָשֵׁם.
    ד  אוֹ נֶפֶשׁ כִּי תִשָּׁבַע לְבַטֵּא בִשְׂפָתַיִם לְהָרַע אוֹ לְהֵיטִיב, לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יְבַטֵּא הָאָדָם בִּשְׁבֻעָה–וְנֶעְלַם מִמֶּנּוּ; וְהוּא-יָדַע וְאָשֵׁם, לְאַחַת מֵאֵלֶּה.
    ה  וְהָיָה כִי-יֶאְשַׁם, לְאַחַת מֵאֵלֶּה:  וְהִתְוַדָּה–אֲשֶׁר חָטָא, עָלֶיהָ.

    When a Jew sees a Jew do something illegal to a Jew or a Gentile, the Torah requires you to tell. It is illegal to have two different laws just as it is illegal to sew linen together with wool, or to yoke a bull with the donkey, or to have two different pairs of scales. You must have one law, and the main part of that law is “Hear O Israel, Jehovah Our God is One Jehovah.” Your relationship with the Jewish community is less important than you relationship with Jehovah. Jehovah comes first.

    Thanks for putting Jehovah God first and for saving helpless victims in Jehovah’s name. Every precious soul you save ensures that this soul grows up to love Jehovah, but most important, every precious soul you save brings glory, honor and praise to Jehovah’s names, and helps those souls to trust Jehovah.

    Sorry for saying so much. It’s just that I was raised believing in Jehovah, and when I see a person risk their life to obey Jehovah, it brings tears to my eyes. I love Jehovah, and I can tell how you save children that you love Jehovah also.

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