Belsky Harmed Kolko and His Victim’s Family

Rabbi (sic) Yosef Kolko

Rabbi (sic) Yosef Kolko

On Friday I reported on Rabbi Yisroel Belsky’s outsized role in advising Yosef Kolko. His advice got Kolko a prison sentence of 12 years and 9 months as I predicted. Belsky’s outrageous attacks on the family of Kolko’s victim forced them to move out of Lakewood.
One of my very astute regular commenters, Kevin in Chicago, eloquently captured some of the tragedy of this outcome in his response to my story on Friday.

Thank you, Yerachmiel Lopin, for your reporting, and may Hashem bless Judge Francis Hodgson for having his priorities straight — not letting the sentencing be again postponed out of consideration for the victim’s family, and sending a clear message that attempts to “game the system” will have negative consequences.

Rabbi Yisroel Belsky

Rabbi (sic) Yisroel Belsky

Nevertheless, I feel sorry for Yosef Kolko. By attempting to withdraw his guilty plea, he invited the damning testimony of his former attorney and ensured that he would receive the maximum sentence his plea agreement allowed. Of course he deserved punishment, but look at his face. A shlub, a shmendrik — pardon my ignorant Yiddish, but you get the idea. This is an adult who didn’t really grow up. Probably himself abused as a child, as YL once suggested, he appears to have been betrayed by his “father figure,” Rav Belsky, but in any case, “betrayed” by his own inability — usual among sexual abusers — to appreciate the gravity of his misconduct. That becomes understandable when the abuser has himself been abused — having been forced to think that what happened to him was “no big deal,” why is it surprising that he wants not only to believe it, but prove it by re-enacting his own loss of innocence by abusing a child like himself?

Rabbi (sic) Yehudah Kolko

Rabbi (sic) Yehudah Kolko

On one hand, one can rightly say that, having spurned the mercy shown him by the victim’s father by not remaining in therapy, and having attempted to reject the mercy offered by society in the form of a plea agreement that could have punished him with as little as 5 years in prison, he deserved what he got. On the other hand, 12-3/4 years is a very long time, too long if Kolko can be rehabilitated, too short if he cannot — but in that case the appropriate remedy should be civil commitment, not criminal imprisonment. But human justice is imperfect, and in human terms, justice was done. Rachmana litzlan — may the Merciful One have mercy on us — all of us. Shabbat shalom, all.

See also:

39 thoughts on “Belsky Harmed Kolko and His Victim’s Family

    • I do not know the technicalities. However there do not seem to have been any arguments from the new defense lawyer. So I assume it is OK. I am guessing that when a defendant accuses his previous attorney of incompetent counsel, he impliclty waives the privelege for those facts relevant to evaluating the claim. Otherwise there would be no boundaries on the ability of defendants to assert incompetent counsel without making it possible to reject the claim based on the facts. Kolko claimed his attorney’s private communications constituted undue pressure that led him to a bad, spur-of-the-moment decision. Ineffective counsel is established in law as grounds for withdrawing a plea bargain. So the court needs to be able to evaluate the quality of counsel.

      People routinely assume confidentiality is absoulte. however legal actions regularly override them. Patients in divorce proceedings have their therapist’s notes subjected to discovery.

  1. You gotta wonder what Yehuda Kolko has on Belsky. Otherwise, why else would Belsky go out of his way to such an extreme degree to protect Kolko? There might be some very bad stuff that Belsky is trying to hide that Yehuda Kolko is holding over Belsky’s head. I believe that it will come out one day, simply because some of the many houses of cards out there are beginning to fall apart now.

    At least Yossi Kolko, the pedophile, will be getting his share of justice. It is too bad that he still does not believe he did anything wrong. The guy is clearly messed up in the extreme. I wonder which Frum community will accept him and allow him to daven in their shuls after he gets out of jail (that is, IF he gets out of jail, with all those violent guys in state prison and their intolerance for pedophiles).

    It is refreshing that the judge made sure that justice prevailed in this case, and that the victim/survivor and his family were able to have closure Thursday night. I am sorry for the victim/survivor and his family for what they went through. But I am also so proud of them for sticking to their convictions and standing up for what was right. Not many could have withstood what they were up against. What they did was incredible. Yashar Koach.

  2. Yerachmiel – is there a fund of some sort that we can donate to in order to help the victim’s family? If they travelled in on busses, they could probably use some money to help them. After all, they were run out of town, had to start anew in a new community, there are tons of expenses involved in that, plus the therapy the survivor has needed and will continue to need. All these “Pidyon Shvuyim” funds are set up for criminals. Is there no “Survivors Fund” where people can give money to help the survivors in ways they need help? If one day down the line the survivor wins a civil court judgment against his abuser, he can repay the fund to help others. There are those of us who want to give direct monetary support to survivors of these extreme injustices of sexual abuse of children. Is there a way to do that?

  3. The irony of the matter is that it is only because the victim’s family was chased out of Lakewood and as a result had to travel 12 hours to get there, that the judge ruled that the matter will proceed regardless of Kolko’s attempt to have the the hearing deferred for 7 days to allow him time to brief his witnesses.

    • E, I don’t think this was just a matter of one occasion where the defense needed 7 days. This, I suspect was a judge who had been with this case for 4 years and many delays. This was a judge who understood the many different ways in which the victim’s family was punished for daring to bring the charges. He understood how the Lakewood community like many frum communities, deliberately stretches out these cases to give them more time to intimidate victims and get them to give up. I have seen other victims and their families who were brave for one or two years or even three or four and finally didn’t have the strength to go on fighting.

      As a judge, he couldn’t say, “I am refusing something to Yossi Kolko because of Belsky or Malkiel or Aaron Kotler.” But he also did not have to let the defense play games of delay with the court. Believe me, the lawyer was playing games when he said he was not ready. He was paid well. A lawyer who wants to preserve his reputation for being worth the money shows up in court ready to try a case. The best proof is that when he had no choice he went at it. if he knew he could not be ready he would have partnered with someone else or paid someone else.

      The best proof that he was ready was that he submitted the motion on schedule and had witnesses in court. In these situations lawyers pretty much can only use witnesses to support their claims in the the submitted motion. The lawyer already knew what each of them was going to say.

      Wearing down the victim’s family is part of the tactics typical of that rashah Belsky. He is notorious for making people in dinnei torah have cases go on forever until they give up to him.

      If this was the first time that Kolko asked for a delay or he believed it was just going to be seven days he might have agreed. But he knew he was dealing with fakers and delayers.

      If only rabbonim who are also disgusted with Belsky had the same courage, we would have justice more often and more quickly.

      The shonda is not that Belsky is a thug but that everyone else lets him get away with it because they have no spines. On Thursday, a lot of orthodox Jews got a lesson in real justice from a gentile, Judge Hodgson.

      Onto Belsky’s sins we need to add on desecrating g-d’s name by giving non-Jewish court officials and reporters an example of a disgusting lack of respect for courts and dishonest tactics in dealing with courts.

      • The lawyer was not ready. The witnesses were not ready. Whomever was running the case for Kolko messed up big time.

        The witness who actually put Kolko behind bars when his application to reverse his guilty plea failed was Kolko’s own father when he gave evidence that: “His son pleaded guilty after his attorney told him he no longer believed in his innocence.”
        See the twitter feed from the court:

        This showed that the real reason he pled guilty was because the trial was going badly and not because he was coerced by Belsky.

  4. Even in the most self contained parts of our community it hard to claim that ‘child abuse does not happen by us.’ There needs to be a communal discussion on how we are to handle people once they are released from prison. The ‘Shomer Shabbos’ model is unexceptionable in any shul where people under the age of 18 attend.
    We need to hold our institution responsible and get them to publicize policy regarding these matters. The olam has a right to know if convicted abusers are allowed in a shul and what the administration does to keep children safe. We are however a long way off from this.

    • In my article about Shomer Shabbos (aka Mechallelei Tznius) I wrote:

      If they want to stay open they should take responsibility for monitoring the premises. Installing video cameras with tape backups would discourage molesters and assist in their prosecution. Alternatively, the shul should just declare it is not a safe place for minors.

      Community residents should tell the administration that they will not support the shul unless it starts acting responsibly. I believe the shul will change course when attendance and contributions start dropping.

  5. I am still wondering who paid for Kolko’s newest lawyer. There is no money to be given to the victim’s family. That’s why Kolko’s ‘friends’ felt that 100k would get him to give up the scam and plead guilty.

    • The checks to the previous lawyer who represented him during trial and plea bargain were written out by Mickey Rottenberg and by Gelley (he lives in lakewood and is related, I am told to R. Gelley, of KAJ,aka Breur’s, the Yekke kehila of Washington Heights). I assume they in turn were funnelling money from other donors. In the end, I am guessing, R. Malkiel and Aaron Kotler quietly signalled they wanted the money to be collected. But they were hypocrites who did not want to publicly admit they were perv defenders so they used the Yekke and a Satmar Hasid (Rottenberg) to do their dirty work.

      • They absolutely were funnelling money from other donors. Yosef’s mommy Miriam was calling NY rabbonim who have the ear of millionaires. Rabbonim who were suspicious checked with guess who in Lakewood and were told that although Uncle Yudi may be a molester, Yosef is being “falsely” accused by a “meshugenna”.

        That’s where most of the money came from.

        I wonder if that is the Gelley who had a reputation of being less than a gentleman to girls he picked up on shidduchim.

        Miriam Kolko by the way works for Mintz’s Oorah scam in “sales” and runs their shadchan division. Check out how many Attorneys General have come after Oorah for deceptive & fraudulent practices. And how many judgements reaching into millions of dollars against Oorah from courts and beis dins.

    • I was wondering that too. Actually I have already asked in a comment on a recent post why I should be convinced of Kolko’s guilt. It seems that Yerachmiel Lopin has sources of information which are reliable, but my only source of information which tells of these condemning facts is Yerachmiel Lopin. Although it seems true and sincere, am I supposed to blindly put my faith in his every word? Then what’s wrong with someone who blindly follows Belsky if he speaks in a convincing way? What is there for me to see for myself, for me to know the true story without basing it on believing this one or that?

      • I Cannot rewrite all my posts for your question. But if you search on Belsky in frum follies you will see many posts which in turn have supporting evidence and links. If you have a very specific question after that, I can answer it.

  6. One thing I don’t understand , how can they offer him $100,000 as a job if he pleads guilty, by doing so he goes to jail. Where and when would he get a job

  7. remeMber that when yudi kolko was in trouble, Schmelski sent a hazmana to ther only paent at yeshiva torah temimah who spoke out. after the parent called margulies, belsky issued a hazmana from RABBI YEHUDA KOLKO against that parent to come to bais din for the charge of being motzee shem ra against KOLKO. The parent answered that he would go the the RCA’S Baid Din of America…Needless to say, Kolko decided not to pursue. However, the main point is that Schmelski allowed his bais din to take Kolko’s phony case and was an accomplice to Kolko in trying to silence the well meaning parent who had simple asked Marglies if he was planning on protecting his talmidim and firing Kolko. OBVIOUSLY, kOLKO, mARGO AND Schmelski were in cahoots.

    • Yep, Belsky is big on doing favors for his buddies and exploiting beit din and secular courts for his purposes. He actually succeeded even here because he avoided having Kolko spill the beans on his earlier history in order to get a shorter sentence. Belsky is such a dishonest toen that not only does he lie on behalf of his clients; he even lies at the expense of his clients. It is sad that he finally met his match and it was from Prosecutor Laura Pierro and the Honorable Francis Hodgson. This was justice.

      It is chutzpah and sheker for Belsky to use the full phrase beit din tzedek.

  8. “It is chutzpah and sheker for Belsky to use the full phrase beit din tzedek.”

    Yerachmiel – It is also chutzpah and sheker for the Kotlers to use the phrase “Beis Medrash Gavoha” when it is a government scamming Pell Grant factory, churning out nothing but the worst learners, and society’s parasites who lie, cheat and steal from the government to live “Gadol”-sanctioned lives of sucking off of every government program they do not qualify for, as well as tzedakah funds from around the world that should instead be going towards the top 1% who are truly capable learners.

    And do you really think that in the year 2013 this just started happening now simply because now there are blogs to anonymously talk about the abuse of power and the corruption of Rabbanim? Are you that naïve? If during the time of Bayis Sheini the position of Kohen Gadol was being bought and sold, how do you think power and corruption escaped our romanticized idea of Jewish life in Europe? It didn’t. The thugs always ruled. The bullies always won. And the winners always wrote history to make themselves and their friends into tzaddikim in the history books.

    • And the winners always wrote history to make themselves and their friends into tzaddikim in the history books.

      Whom do you mean? The Chafetz Chaim, or The Chasam Soifer or the Tzanzer Rov or just exactly who? The Kohanim Gedoilim who went down in history as Tzaddikim like Shimon Hatzaddik were Tzaddikim. I don’t think any of these Roshei yeshiva who are involved in corruption will go down in history as tzaddikim. Some will be remembered as naive temimim, and others less than that.

    • You have no idea what you are saying. The top learners are in Lakewood and most of them qualify for programs because they have little income.

      But that makes it more of a disgrace what the CEO and his gullible little brother are doing to perpetrate injustice.

      • Everyone in Lakewood cannot be top learners, not all 6,500. Some are top learners. But many top learners are heading to Brisk (EY) S Fallsburg with R. Wachtfogel, Toronto w R. Shlomo Miller, Passaic w R. Meir Stern, and a few other select places. And while Lakewood may not admit it, YU also has some top learners. Besides, Lakewood lost its top bochen and chaburah person to Detroit.

        • Your information is part laughable & part greatly out of date. Do you have ANY idea how many years ago it was that Passaic had older guys? It’s been a bunch of kids for an eon & they are not even as yeshivish as the good old days. Fallsburg & Toronto is a tiny handful combined. Most of the Briskers come to Lakewood. And YU? How many guys are in kollel Elyon? 15? There is virtually no one else in YU that can hold a candle to much of BMG

          Yes not all 6500 are lamdonim but it is very close. You have no idea what goes into the selection & farher process. You have to have a lot of money to bypass the requirements as in Pappa giving $100k+ a year. Even big protekzia doesn’t work most of the time if you really bomb out on the farher.

          The majority of post-Israel bochurim don’t get in to BMG so they go to YTV, Stamford, Waterbury, etc. Some no longer learn at all because what the heck if you can’t have the Lakewood feather in your cap

        • You may have missed the point that I am just as furious at Aaron as you are. I just don’t understand what the point is of insisting the biggest lamdonim are not in Lakewood when such claims are not factual. There was one decade when Lakewood was full of
          mediocre or poor learners. That was the 1980s. Things were much different both before and afterwards.

          And while they are still guilty to at least a small degree, much of the population has been brainwashed by the conspiracy of lies to protect Kolko and dirty the victim. But in recent days the tide is changing and the conspirators are seen as misguided bumblers, if not entirely evil.

          • I think we can agree to disagree about the extent of lomdus in Lakewood. The obligation to deal properly with sex abuse applies equally to greater and lesser learners.

            I am glad to hear the tide is changing. But nothing short of preventing this from happening again is enough.

        • Shakespeare: You have sipped too much Kool Aid. It is a pipe-dream to believe that all 6,500 talmidum in Lakewood are “top learners”.

          Yes, they officially have a “selection and farher process”, but too, too many of the applicants go to the head of the line because of who they know, not what they know.

          And this is especially true of the Kollel avreichem.

          A recent bocher recently explained to me the “admittance policy” in Passaic:

          1/3 are truly worthy of top-level learning
          1/3 are brothers/sons of former Passaic talmidum
          1/3 can pay full tuition

          Don’t be naive. Rabbis Kotler, Stern, et al. have lots of salaries and bills to pay.

      • The Kotler brothers have compromised the honor and integrity of their family name. But the real disgrace is that so many others in Lakewood know the truth and yet kowtow. They all know about “lo segooroo mipnei ish” so why are they silent.

        Lomdus without challenging vile lies is a disgrace. They let a RY just able to give a nice drashah with gemara and rashi and read his grandfather’s notes drive out a true talmid chochom, ish emes, ish midos, who has courage. I know many have privately apologized. Meanwhile they are letting scoundrels run the town. Meanwhile they are leaving many of their children vulnerable to atrocities.

        Lakewood has 6500 talmidim and many more cowards.

        • You think it’s so easy to stand in the middle of Forest Ave & start bashing Aaron? It’s suicide. Easy for you to say from your far off perch. There are quiet ways of overthrowing the dictatorship and a lot of people are working on it. No need to be attacked by gangsters & get driven out of town in the meantime.

          • Good to hear there is action. Lakewood won’t be saved by having 50 or eve 50,000 talmidei chachamim. It needs 50 or at least 10 tzadikim (in original sense of tzedek). You drove one out. Only one other came forward. If you are not ready to fight them, at least leak more information to the word about the gangsters. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Well fire and brimstone is also also excellent disinfectant, but we don’t want it to end that way. People should stop invoking R. Aaron Kotler, zatzal if they won’t live up to his standards of integrity.

            Talk about tznius, and stocking denier while children are subjected to znus and even aroiyos d’oiraysah, is hypocrisy of the worst sort.

            It is hard to be sure about how to be as good a parent as possible. But it is simply true that the minimum requirement, for Jews and bnai noach is to protect our children. This is more important than many other things parents make sure to do.

            So if you cannot rise to level of being tzadikim, just do the right thing and be as good a mensch as you expect from a bnai noach that you respect.

            If you can’t do anything, move out of sodom. Aiyn somchim al haness. Judge Hodgson was your warning in place of malochim.

      • Shakespeare: You have sipped too much Kool Aid. It is a pipe-dream to believe that all 6,500 talmidum in Lakewood are “top learners”.

        Yes, they officially have a “selection and farher process”, but too, too many of the applicants go to the head of the line because of who they know, not what they know.

        And this is especially true of the Kollel avreichem.

        A recent bocher recently explained to me the “admittance policy” in Passaic:

        1/3 are truly worthy of top-level learning
        1/3 are brothers/sons of former Passaic talmidum
        1/3 can pay full tuition

        Don’t be naive. Rabbis Kotler, Stern, et al. have lots of salaries and bills to pay.

    • Lakewood is a concept, expectation, refuge and a way of life. Bochurim are expected to learn there in order to get a good shidduch. Girls are told to marry a bochur from Lakewood. Newlyweds are expected to move to Lakewood. The whole frum part of the city runs on the Lakewood learning schedule. Residents live a life according to the Torah taught to them since child. Little room and tolerance exists for individuality and independent thinking. It shelters them from the goyishe influence of the outside world. Rabbis reign supreme and tell them how and what to think.Since their early education, they were taught not to think for themselves. The Rabbis know better

      In order to perpetuate the myths, the Lakewood leaders deny the existence of abuse and other wrongdoing. Only the goyim do bad things, not talmidei chochamim. The guilt of disagreeing with the rabbis causes them to remain faithful. To them Rabbi Belsky gave good advice. The goyishe courts showed once again that a frum Jew cannot get a fair trial in the USA. Lakewooders think that living in the US is the same as living in Eastern Europe.

      They have created an Eastern Europe cult and will suffer like their ancestors.

  9. It’s time to get rid of Rabbi Belsky once and for all.

    I suggest rotating public protests at the homes, synagogues and businesses of the OU Board of Directors, Board of Governors, National Officers as well as that of the leadership of the Lakewood that publicly and privately harassed the family of Rabbi S. would be effective if hundreds showed up consistently and attracted media coverage.

    I suggest protests at the home, synagogue and business of the current OU President Martin Nachimson. His synagogue is Shaarey Zedek in Valley Village and his place of business is Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc.

    OU Board
    February 11, 2013
    Board Slate 2013

    Martin Nachimson

    Chairman, Board of Directors
    Stephen J. Savitsky

    Chairman, Board of Governors
    Mark (Moishe) Bane

    Senior Vice Presidents
    Fred Ehrman
    Yitzchak Fund
    Dr. David Luchins
    Gerald Schreck
    Joseph Stechler
    Stanley Weinstein
    Michael C. Wimpfheimer

    National Vice Presidents
    Max Berlin
    Allen I. Fagin
    Eli Genauer
    Stanley Hillelsohn
    Mordecai D. Katz
    Aaron C. Kinderlehrer
    Jonathan Mell
    Yehuda Neuberger
    Henry Rothman
    Dr. Steven Tennenbaum
    Heshy Wengrow

    Roy Spiewak

    Emanuel J. Adler

    Associate Vice Presidents
    Ari Kahn
    Rabbi Moshe D. Krupka
    Paul Pinkus
    Dr. Howard Rosenthal
    Ari Shabat
    Steven Sholk

    Honorary Chairmen, Board of Directors
    Samuel L. Brennglass*

    Marcel Weber

    Honorary Vice Chairman, Board of Directors
    Seymour J. Abrams
    Morry Weiss

    Vice Chairman, Board of Governors
    Jay L. Schottenstein

    Honorary Vice Chairman, Board of Governors
    Dr. Mark Hasten
    William Tenenblatt

    Honorary Presidents
    Julius Berman
    Harvey Blitz
    Moses I. Feuerstein*
    Mandell I. Ganchrow, MD
    Harold M. Jacobs*
    Rabbi Joseph Karasick
    Dr. Simcha Katz
    Professor Sidney Kwestel
    Sheldon Rudoff*
    Honorary Vice Presidents
    Joseph Bensmihen
    Dr. Michael Elman
    Howard Tzvi Friedman
    David Fund
    Gustave Jacobs
    Dr. Bernard Lander*
    Joseph Macy
    Donald Press
    Harvey Wolinetz

    Board of Directors
    Mitchell R. Aeder
    Susan Alter
    Rabbi Hyman Arbesfeld
    Martin Bienstock (Upstate New York)***
    Jonathan Blank
    Hon. Daniel Butler (Central East)***
    Daniel Chill
    Cynthia R. Darrison
    Dr. Stanley Frohlinger (South Florida)***
    Ari Fuchs (New Jersey)***
    Ariella Friedman (NCSY National President)
    John Gellis
    Akiva Greenfield
    Shukie Grossman
    Charles Harary
    Lorraine Hoffmann
    Dr. David Hurwitz
    Melanie Kaminetsky
    Avi Katz
    Dr. Benzion Krupka
    Jonah Kupietzky
    Rina Kwestel
    Debbie Schick Laufer
    Murray Leben
    Jeff Lefkowitz
    Dr. Ernie Levi
    Morey Levovitz
    Vivian Luchins
    Irwin Nachimson (West Coast)***
    Andrew Neff
    Avery Neumark
    Isabelle Novak
    Henry Orlinsky
    Steven Orlow
    Stuart Panish
    Adam Parkoff
    Dr. Harry Peled
    Dr. Joshua Penn
    Allen Pfeiffer
    Barry Ray
    Stanley Rosenberg
    Naomi Dworken Rotblat
    Lee Samson
    Zvi Sand (Israel)***
    Bennet Schachter
    Toby Macy Schaffer
    Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld
    Miriam Shapiro
    Barbara Lehmann Siegel (Atlantic Seaboard)***
    Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike
    Steve Uretsky
    Jacob Weichholz
    Gary Weiss
    Esther Williams (Long Island)***
    Howard Wolf
    David Zeffren
    Larry Zeifman (Canada)***

    Board of Governors
    Karen Paikin Barall
    Daisy Berman
    Marvin Bienenfeld
    Larry Brown
    Donald B. Butler
    Adam M. Charney
    Dr. Ben Chouake
    Pace Cooper
    Elizabeth Diamond
    Leon Eisenberg
    Shirley Feuerstein
    Eugen Gluck
    Rabbi Joseph Grunblatt
    Rabbi Marvin Hier
    Malcolm Hoenlein
    Rabbi Emanuel Holzer
    Richard Joel
    Dr. Alan Kadish
    Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm
    Rabbi Zev Leff
    Gerald F. Lerman
    Nathan Lewin
    Rabbi Haskel Lookstein
    Moses Marx
    Mrs. Joseph K. Miller
    Rabbi Michael Miller
    Jack M. Nagel
    Rabbi Sheftel M. Neuberger
    David Novak
    Terry Novetsky
    Julius Rosenzweig
    Kurt Rothschild
    Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter
    Rabbi Max N. Schreier
    Rabbi Allen Schwartz
    Dr. Israel Singer
    Franklyn Snitow
    Dr. Edward L. Steinberg
    Rabbi Berel Wein

    * Deceased
    *** Regional Representatives

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