This article by Mrs. Pearl Engelman was first posted on February 23, 2011 during one of Meir Dascalowitz’s court appearances. Now that Dascalowitz is due for sentencing on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, over two years later, it is worth thinking again about what a churban (devastation) this man has inflicted on others. As Pearl Engelman points out, the leadership of the community is culpable in this affair because they knew about his misconduct for years. I would add, the DA is culpable for not going after his many enablers. It is also worth asking whether the terms of the plea bargain were stiff enough.(Yerachmiel Lopin)
Guest Post by Mrs. Pearl Engelman
I, along with many others, was in the courtroom this morning in support of the mother of the victim of Meir Dascalowitz.
There is so much sadness to this case. On the one hand I saw the mother crying bitter tears, saying that every time she looks at her child’s molester she thinks of the hard, hard work she and her husband put into this (special needs) child and how it all went down the drain because of this molester. How much terrorization and pressure from the community they have to deal with on a daily basis as if they were the criminals and not the other way around. How much trouble they’ve been subjected to by the ACS! The terrible injustice of it all. We all stood around her listening, empathizing, and consoling as best as we could.
Then I looked across the room at the accused, Meir Dascalowitz – a young man with a young wife and a new baby. Then the tragedy of this case struck me!
Dascalowitz was well known for his alleged sex abuse compulsions going back to his teen years! There was a running joke in the community to stay away from him. How did it come to pass that the POWERS THAT BE, who now fully support him – and by this I mean pulling political strings for him behind the scenes – did not see or think or act for his benefit and try to help him get treatment for his compulsion? Was it because the prevailing attitude amongst men in our community was (and still is); it’s not such a big deal? Children forget; it won’t harm them. Every second person can tell you of a similar experience. When I asked why my son’s molester was re-hired as a rebbi of 9 year olds, one of the administrators of UTA told me, “Oh, on a scale of 1-10 it was only a 2 or a 3, so the dayanim decided it was OK to rehire him.” On a scale of 1-10 see how much harm was done to my son)
In our community, there is staggering willful ignorance of the damage done to sexually abused young children. This directly contributes and leads to the heartbreaking tragedy I witnessed today in the courtroom. I would put the POWERS THAT BE alongside the accused to stand trial for their misdeeds. I would do this because they turned a blind eye to someone like Dascalowitz and let him run rampant among children. They arrogantly pretend we don’t have a problem. They shift molesters from one yeshiva to another. When parents complain about a suspect rebbi they threaten to throw all their other children out of the yeshiva. And they deliberately stand in the way of educating parents about these issues. For all this they should also stand trial and sit in the defendant’s chair in the courts.