Why Satmar UTA Finally Fired Rabbi Avrohom Reichman

Two different sources tell me that an alleged molester, Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, was fired about a month ago by the Williamsburg  Satmar Yeshiva System, United Talmudical Accdaemy (UTA). Joel Engelman  filed a lawsuit in 2008, claiming that Reichman, then a prinicipal in UTA, molested him in 1993 when he was 8 years old.

Rabbi Avrohom Reichman

Rabbi Avrohom Reichman

In 2008 Joel reported the abuse to the school system which promised to investigate and remove him if the charges were proven true. At first they seemed to be taking the charges seriously and  suspended his employment. But eventually they reinstated him and claimed that nothing of importance had been done by Reichman. It seems like they gave into pressure from Reichman’s family. The family in turn was protecting its reputation for the sake of shiduchim (marriage matches) and social status. So much for UTA caring about the  kids in the yeshiva. But the issue won’t go away. Since Joel first publicly accused Reichman, many other  victims of Reichman have shared their sad plight with him.

I don’t know if they will rehire Reichman. They  may be doing this to placate another victim who threatened to report him to the police before the Statue of Limitations (SOL) expired. If so, they will probably rehire him after the SOL expires unless they are convinced that they cannot get off the hook.

It is possible that they feel  threatened by the bad publicity about Reichman that was part of the demonstration I organized in October  in front of a  Satmar fundraiser in Flatbush. The theme was “Satmar Rebbe, Stop Protecting Molesters.” The literature and signs identified Reichman and Weberman as molesters who are protected by Satmar. To avoid the demonstrators the Rebbe was deprived of his majestic front door entrance. I hear he was furious about our afront to his dignity.

I don’t think they are all that worried about bad publicity or they would have conducted themselves more decently during the Weberman trial. I don’t know how they reckon the potential costs of lawsuits. It is possible that the school is finally waking up to the fact that it could be slammed with lawsuits just like their fellow predator protectors in the Catholic Church. On the other hand, they may feel that they can still stymie most lawsuits by intimidation and fraud and treat the occasional out of court settlement as a cost of doing business.

Of this I am sure,  Satmar has still not shown that it cares very much about protecting its children from being molested. Still, whatever their motives it is good news that they are feeling some pressure and recognizing that the pressure can’t just be dismissed and wished away.

I say, let’s keep up the pressure until they finally start doing the right thing on their own.

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4 thoughts on “Why Satmar UTA Finally Fired Rabbi Avrohom Reichman

  1. Hear Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection about the indictment of Rabbi Weberman and charges of sexual abuse in the orthodox community at his blog, shalomdammit.com, or in this youtube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxQnpP0RbMI
    Here’s an excerpt:
    “… these tight cults want to do everything in-house. No need for police intervention, no need to wash dirty tallises in public; they can monitor everything and keep the outside world out. But do they self-govern? Yes, exactly the way the Catholic church handles the scandals. Got a pedophile priest? Push him from parish to parish. Exactly the way an American president reacts to a sexual boo-boo or a military blunder – deny, discredit, dismiss. That’s way too much alliteration for one paragraph, and way, way too much lying and ducking responsibility…”
    Rabbi Sol’s Rabbinical Reflections are heard weekly on the Dave’s Gone By radio program and then archived as text and audio at ShalomDammit.com

  2. YL-

    You have a lot of guts and courage of conviction; I really admire your work. May you always remain strong.

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