Make it your business to read “Abuse Whistleblower Battling Both Haredi Community and DA” by veteran reporter Hella Winston in the New York Jewish Week. This is the most important story of the year about the relationship between the fixers in Satmar (including Moshe ‘Gabbai’ Friedman) who protected convicted molester Baruch Mordechai Lebovits for years and the Brooklyn DA, Charles J Hynes.
Following Lebovits’ conviction Samuel (Shlomo Aharon שלמה אהרן
Shmuel) Kellner was arrested on the charge of trying to extort money from Lebovits’s son in return for preventing testimony by another alleged victim of Lebovits. This arrest was factored into Lebovits’ appeal by Alan Dershowitz which overturned the conviction and secured him a new trial (not as yet scheduled).
As this story shows, it seems the DA was exceptionally sloppy in uncritically accepting evidence from a source with an interest in the case. This is consistent with the DA’s selective pattern of wrongful prosecutions (see Village Voice for other cases).
This is not a simple story. Take your time reading it. Hella Winston demonstrates that while some in the Hasidic world wanted to get Lebovits convicted because he had long been known as a prolific molester, others successfully corrupted justice, exerted undue influence on the Office of the District Attorney and got an innocent anti-abuse crusader arrested. The incompetence and negligence in the Office of the DA is so extreme that it makes many suspect corruption.
It may seem strange for me to say this, when I complimented the prosecution performance in convicting Nechemya Weberman and Lebovits. I believe that most of the staff of the District Attorney are diligent honest public servants. However, I believe a few others constitute a sub-network which is way too inclined to bend to outside influence or to engage in other unethical conduct. Chief among these is the head of the rackets unit, Michael Vecchione, head of the sex crimes unit, Rhonnie Jaus, and Henna White, head of Kol Tzedek (jokingly called Kol Sheker by anti-abuse activists).
Make it your business to read, “Abuse Whistleblower Battling Both Haredi Community and DA!”
Disclosure: Hella Winston interviewed me for this story and quoted me