FULL TEXT of the Victim’s Statement at Sentencing of Yosef Kolko

GavelBelow is the victim statement read at the sentencing of Yosef Kolko on Thursday, October 17, 2013, 11:05-11:09 p.m. After the statement, Prosecutor Laura Pierro spoke about the victim’s bravery, suffering and integrity. At 11:17 Judge Francis Hodgson pronounced the sentence for the seven counts which included oral sex, attempted anal penetration and other offenses. The sentence of fifteen years was the maximum allowed under the mid-trial guilty plea. However, under New Jersey law he will get out of prison and go on probation somewhere in middle of his 13th year of imprisonment.


The first thing I would like to do is, to strongly encourage all victims out there currently suffering in silence, to stand up for themselves and others. I would like to let them know that they can and should, no matter what some people say or think; no matter the repercussions. It’s the right thing to do.

Know that an abuser never abuses just one, regardless of what anyone might have told you. If he did it to one, he did it to many; and he will continue doing it until he is stopped. It’s your right and obligation to stop him.

Abuse can be worse than murder; when an individual is killed they die once, but when an individual is abused they die again, and again, every single day.

If you are a victim, you are unfortunately very far from alone. Statistics prove that one out of seven males has been abused. This unfortunate reality is due to the fact that many molesters that could be stopped aren’t being stopped; and therefore continue murdering children every day. Therefore I strongly urge you to go to the authorities and report the abuse, share your story.

scales of justice and childNo, I can’t say it will be easy- it’s in-fact extremely draining. However, when it’s all done and you look back at what you accomplished, you will find that it was an integral part of the healing process. The more difficult it may be for you to do, the greater the feeling of accomplishment you will feel in the end. So, go on out and save people’s lives. Save others from going through the torture you are going through.

Secondly, my message to those monsters out there that are currently abusing, and to those considering it; just know that by abusing you will be end up behind bars! You will be exposed, and you will go through hell on earth. No, you won’t get away with it. Victims are gaining more and more strength every day and more and more of them are coming forward. Trying to bully people into silence is not being tolerated. It makes no difference how high of a position you or your family and friends hold. Nor does it matter how well respected you or your family and friends are. Having power over others won’t protect you anymore, and you will go down.

If you do feel the desire to molest, get help before it’s too late. Realize that by molesting you are killing innocent lives. These acts aren’t just simple acts that happen and then are forgotten. They truly mess with victim’s minds and emotions in a terrible way, for the rest of their lives. If you feel even the slightest feelings to molest, don’t just shrug away your feelings; get professional help immediately. Even if it may seem to you like a small thing; it’s really not. Molesting may seem harmless to you; but the reality is that it kills people with every touch; no matter how big or small. The molester may forget about it but the other person won’t, ever. So slightest feelings to molest, it is your responsibility to absolutely ensure that the action never actually happens. The way to do that is by getting professional help immediately.

Rabbi (sic) Yosef Kolko

Rabbi (sic) Yosef Kolko
Sentenced to 15 years

Finally, it is difficult for me to even begin to talk to you [Yosef Kolko]. You’re worse than the worse thing possibly created. How can you just ignore the tears and open wounds when you know so well how much you hurt me?

Not only didn’t you act regretful and try to help me after what you did; but you ganged up against me and hurt me again after hurting and abusing me for so long. How can you kill innocent lives in cold blood and roam the streets as if you did absolutely, ,nothing wrong?

People tried so hard to help you and all you did was spit in their faces and continued murdering others. How can you consider yourself a human being?! You are so disgusting and low and you have hurt so many people cold bloodedly that you already got used to it; your heart turned to stone.

Remorse is not a quality you have. It’s one thing to slip up, have a weak moment, and make a mistake; but you didn’t even try to help yourself. You just kept ruining lives for your disgusting pleasure.

Just a drop of remorse or a will to be helped would have saved you a day like today. You were busy being so stubborn hiding the truth. You caused this to yourself.

It’s your ego and stubbornness that got you here, not me. I did what I had to do; it was your lack of doing what you had to do that caused you this.


(in chronological order)

20 thoughts on “FULL TEXT of the Victim’s Statement at Sentencing of Yosef Kolko

  1. One big lesson from the major child sex abuse scandals from recent years is that WE NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR OUR SONS AS CLOSELY AS WE WATCH OUR DAUGHTERS. This has been a huge eye opener for me. Also, as one who is not in the frum community, I have concluded that neither Judaism nor any other religion reduces human propensity for criminal behavior, especially when the community (whatever that is…. catholic church, orthodox community, etc…..all of them as far as I am concerned) bands together to protect the criminals. A certain percentage of people in any community (religious, boy scouts, etc.) will commit criminal acts and they should be treated like the criminals they are. As long as the community lets it be known tht laws can be flouted and that theose enforcing the laws are the bad guys, this behavior will continue.

    • “Horrified”

      Thank you for highlighting that important point, that unfortunately our boys are also considered prey to predators. We must protect them like we protect our daughters.

      To your other point, lumping together the Lakewood community with the catholic church, boy scouts etc., there is a distinction…

      While the powers-that-be in Lakewood most definitely made wrongheaded and cruel decisions, it never was to protect they’re own power or status. It wasn’t even to protect a powerful superior or colleague.

      Yosef was an unmarried camp counselor and afternoon instructor, in short not very high on the totem pole. Any orthadox Jew cought in a Scandal is referred to in the news as rabbi, for Yosef is was probably the first time. His family too are not very influential or well connected.

      Ironically, the father of the victim was very well connected, and most rabbinical “players” were colleagues of his. If there ever was a rabbi with many hats, it was him. He was a community Rabbi, a rabbinic judge, the coveted admissions tester for the largest Yeshiva in America, a Rosh kollel, and accomplished author.

      The whole campaign was out of demonstrably misguided sympathy for Kolko and his family. The family already had to deal with the shame from Uncle Yiddy. The community is also petrified of secular courts. This fear was sowed into the collective psych of the community over 2 thousand years of antisemitism and judicial abuses.

      Bottom line, while the actions if the community were wrong, dangerous, and woefully uninformed, it wasn’t motivated by selfishness, greed, or lust for power.

      Surely we know, the path to hell is paved with good intentions, but it’s better then having bad intentions.

      I think it’s an important distinction.

      • I agree about your description of the relative status of the victim’s father and Yosef Kolko.

        However, I think you are misunderstanding the Catholic Church cover-ups. They too think they are taking pity on some loser of a priest. Catholics speak of avoiding scandal to the holy church. Jews speak of avoiding desecration of G-ds name. But in both cases there is an aversion to letting internal matters be exposed and managed by the secular courts. Both the RCC and ultra orthodox Jews claim it is about pity on the offender. But the underlying issue is valuing the images and well being of their adults over the anguish inflicted on children. Both the Catholic Church and ultra orthodox Jews are offended by the violations of sanctity and chastity involved in child sexual abuse. Yet they wish it away, minimize it, and brush it under the carpet (According to R. Matisyahu Solomon). The biggest difference is that the Catholic church only does it for its own employees while the ultra orthodox community see holiness as an equal goal for all and protects all its members, not just its clergy.

        You are right about the extraordinary status of the father of the victim. Yet he was driven out of town for insisting on protecting children over protecting Kolko. His high status proves that this was not about status or else the father of the victim would have prevailed in town. Pity or mercy, you claim is what drove the protectiveness. Where is the pity for the children he molested. Where is the pity for all the victims of molesters.

        My colleague, David Cheifetz, keeps on saying: have rachmunis (mercy) on the victims, not on the perpetrators.

        Finally, of course it was the leadership that controlled this. Lakewood is a company town and R Malkiel and Aaron Kotler run the company. Even the Novominkser Rebbe and R. Shmuel Kaminetsky begged Malkiel to support the prosecution in this case. But R. Malkiel told them to butt out (in loshon noki) because I am the baal habos of Lakewood. Do you really think 9 rabbonim would have signed against the father if Malkiel and Aaron said, “don’t!” No way! However, es past nisht (not proper) from them to dirty their hands in something this sordid. They also want people like you to continue to respect them. so they got 9 rabbonim to sign. They let a Mickey Rottenberg do the dirty work. And what was too dirty for even them they didn’t object when Belsky accused the father of being a molester and a liar.

        I am sorry to disillusion you. But Lakewood will never stop its abuse until it faces up to these unpleasant facts.

        • Upon re-reading my original comment I noticed an important omission, as I forgot to mention how much respect and admiration I have for the remarkable family of the victim. The importance of their brave act will only increase over time, as they have paved the way for others to go down the difficult path of fighting the community infrastructure that is more interested in protecting the molesters than in helping victims. Also, since child molestation often has a cyclical element to it, where those who themselves were molested go on to molest others, the effect of their action will no doubt be massively bigger than we can imagine.

          As to Concerned’s comments about the community being petrified of outside courts (and by extension other outside or governmental entities), they seem to have no problem dealing with these very entities when it benefits themselves (financially and otherwise), and seem to have effective access to legal representation (for courts) and any goodies that these outside entities have to offer (grants, welfare programs, etc.). You can’t play it both ways….i.e. claim to be fearful of government entities while using them to your advantage.

        • Huh?! What was that?!

          I’m not at all disillusioned, and I’m incapable of “continuing to respect them” (sic), because Malkiel never had my respect!!

          I’m also shocked you bought his nonsense that the town belongs to him. Turns out three people in the world think Lakewood is a company town; Malkiel & Aron Kotler, and Yerachmiel Lopin!!!

          They are however, powerful power brokers, and Malkiel spent considerable time and energy in meetings and scheming against a standup, honest, and special Talmud Chachom.

          As for Mikey Rottenberg, he doesn’t take Malkiel’s queue. He can’t just get “Mickey Rottenberg do the dirty work”, as you suggested. They just happened to partner together on this “project”.

          As for the quote from David Cheifetz “have rachmunis (mercy) on the victims, not on the perpetrators”, you could have just as well quoted my comment “The whole campaign was out of demonstrably misguided sympathy for Kolko and his family”.

          Bottom line…
          I would never defend what was done in this case, and I am shocked, horrified, and embarrassed that they have not made amends.
          I was only responding to “horrified”, by pointing out that the motive in this case was not self interest.

          And YL, the issue was not Chillul Hashem (disgrace of Gods name). The issue was messirah (handing a Jew over to lawless gentiles).

          They were terribly wrong but I believe there is still a distinction.

      • Why would you make apologetics for the community? Would you have us believe that they are like Dovid Hamelech who didn’t sin?

        Your words of defense turn the knife inside the hearts of survivors of sexual abuse such as myself.

        “Misplaced” compassion, Chazal say, leads to acts of terrible cruelty on innocents. Please see the kuntres published on the Daas Torah blog that compares the Lakewood community to Sdom. Not a single person stood up for the family of the raped little boy!

        If any of your so called “good intentions” were there, there would be an outpouring of regret, and begging forgiveness .

        Everybody in that city lacks basic human compassion. Where was everyone when the Finkelstien’s house was burned down?

        Mattisyahu Salomon is a hypocrite and coward who won’t risk his meager paycheck by standing up for victims and truth. Shame on him and on all the Rabbanim who knew Kiljo was guilty and neglected to follow the established Halacha and report the Rodef to the police.

        Reb Shmuel Kamenetsky and the Novominsker are even worse. They are twice the age of Malkiel but take orders from him. Perlow used the same pathetic excuse with the nephew as with the uncle, namely: ” I’m a Rebbe in Boro Park, not in Flatbush/Lakewood.”

        What would it cost these “leaders” to speak out then or now for us survivors just once?

        Malkiel and Sron wouldn’t like it and might call them goyim, a pgam in their labor . Some Baal Habatim might think that Lakewood is the biggest baddest “Makom Toyra” and choose sides against critics. This could actually cost these. “Leaders” money in the donations.

        This is not speculation. The Moetzes Gedoleim of Aguda issued a formal statement that even though there is a substantial risk in yeshivas of covering up child predators, they are opposed to the passing of the Child Victims Act (Markey bill) because it would hold misdiagnosed accountable for atrocities thereby harming the “financial integrity of the Mosdos”, which are the true “lifeblood of the community.”

        As for power, how’s this to show motive? Aguda in a front page article in the NY Tines, admits that we can’t protect children by ourselves and need help from authorities. But then the spokesmen of the Gedolim has the gall and stupidity to warn the DA not to even “APPEAR to be making a power grab from the rabbis.”

        Yerachmiel, please back me up. It is this kind of muddled koolaid induced groupthink that the community always means well and is never collectively guilty of bad motives, that prevents the honest soul searching we need to change our ways.

        • Of course there can be no excusing of wrongdoing, especially such dangerous wrongdoing, but when a brother is doing the wrong thing, we don’t want to publicly condemn him(even when this is precisely what he is guilty of doing to others, and even worse because they publicly condemned someone who was not guilty of any wrongdoing) because he is ours and we care about his honor, so the Tochacha is done in a caring and loving way and we do not try to label the person as inherently wicked and evil, but when it becomes an opportunity for those who aren’t of the yeshiva world to say AHA! then it becomes a war against sects, with this issue at hand being merely the pawn or the false excuse for the public condemnation, where the real reason is that they have just been waiting for the chance, for something juicy, to actually be right about in a big way, for the big Gotcha and Aha moment to enjoy to it’t fullest.

  2. Wow!!

    Thank you for writing and delivering such a powerful statement. It’s clear to all that reads it, how intelligent and responsible you are. While apparently, you we’re only born 16 years ago, this was not written by a mere sixteen-year-old!!! We can be sure that your future is bright, and you are destined for great things!!

    And, Thank you Yerachmiel for posting it.

  3. Looking at the various cases Rabbi Belsky has been involved in supporting pedophiles, the difference in sentencing between Yosef Kolko (15 years and on public sex offender registry) and his uncle Rabbi Kolko (0 time and not on the public sex offender registry) and Rabbi Lewis/Lipa Brenner (0 time and not on the public sex offender registry) seems to come down to one factor:

    Yosef Kolko was not prosecuted by Hynes’ office. Uncle Rabbi Kolko and Rabbi Lewis/Lipa Brenner got the Hynes special deal just like the one Hynes’ friend/mentor/former boss/advisor/ convicted/confessed child rapist Eugene Gold got.

      • Completely agree. A word to the brave 16 yr. victim, I speak as a fellow peer, A lesson I learned, I release all my anger & hatred, for it was not mine to bear, and likewise your anger & hatred towards Mr. Kolko is his burden to bear not yours, free yourself. A victim true, but more important a survivor who has learned not to allow my past to victimized me for life, which would be deprying myself of embrace all the wondrous things GOD has planned for me. Thank you for your courage. Blessings

  4. Pingback: Text of the Victim Statement at Sentencing of Yosef Kolko - Tzedek

  5. Even though the kid may be a genius like his father, this speech was prepared by his therapist IMHO. You may want to look at Michelle knight’s speech in court to Ariel Castro, it has similarities in the language, which leads me to believe, it was prepared by the therapist.
    I believe much time was spent to include all aspects of the crime, to provide the best closure possible to the victim. Albeit Michelle Knight went through the unbearable in her life, even before Monster Castro picked her up. Nevertheless on one hand she got closure, that this victim hasn’t been given, because his defendant will be returned to society at some point, and there are still many Rodfim mingling between us. On the other hand Ariel Castro, who should have been fifty years chained to a wall in solitary confinement, manage to take his life in less than a month after sentencing, & his attorney avoiding a death sentence for him. He did get a chance to speak, and claimed that he was a vey sick man, and regretted his actions, yet he looked for others to blame, including the FBI for not picking up on tips.
    This convict must have an exaggeration of imagination in some fantasy land, to still hope to live & reenter society as a normal citizen. Let us hope that that very imagination keeps him from following in the footsteps of Ariel Castro, because after all at this point what does he have to live for?
    Let us step back a moment, he hasn’t gotten the best deal out of life to start with. It is alleged or better said, rumor has it that he too was abused as a kid. No one has been punished for that, he was ruined by it, and went on to ruin others. Who knows how many of them have already become disciples?
    Out of mercy on this Nebach the victim’s father tried to keep it in Beis Din. He again had a choice to listen, maybe the shidduch & the hope of becoming a father dream was shattered at that point.( Believe that is very painful) Although he may have still had a slight chance, it was rather late already and baggage wouldn’t help, and he would need assessing to see how safe he would be with his own offspring. Yet he was ill advised.
    Thousands of dollars later, he found himself in court, again the victims father asked the judge that if he pleads guilty & shows remorse, please avoid any jail time, Rumor has it that the judge agreed to only a suspended sentence, probation & registering. Again the Tzadikim were all of a sudden worried about his shidduch prospects. Where were they 10 or 15 years earlier when he was at the blooming part of shidduch age? I guess it was no challenge then, so there was lack of interest. Again he didn’t take the offer.
    Tens of thousands of dollars later, just before the trial he was offered, another sweet deal in exchange of a guilty plea, one year in county jail, probation & on the register, again his Tzadikim gave him advice.
    More than a hundred thousand dollars later (guess), after the victim’s damning testimony, and after the plaintiff’s lawyer lost faith in his client’s innocence rendering the case a slam dunk to the prosecution, 2 more victims show up. This time his handlers were stuck, and advised him to plead guilty, but they very likely had the plan to withdraw it, only the attorney was no longer on their side, he also has a conscious I guess. Now the offer wasn’t so sweet anymore 5-15 years. Here again his handlers decided to spend tens of thousands more only to get him the 15 years, he may go free after 85%, unless his handlers decide to appeal the decision of the plea withdrawal, if at all possible.
    To sum it up, a lesson has been learned spawning the victim & family and being rodef the nirdofim, helped the roidef get a much harsher sentence than ever dreamed of. All the so called pidyon shevuyim money was probably gezel, because it all went to get the guy a longer sentence. Unless we say putting him away is pidyon shevuyim for his passed victims & his victims to be. If so those who donated with good intentions, may have actually tipped the scales.
    Yes a lesson was learned bullies who bully victims & protect perpetrators may win the battle and get the victim to move, but ultimately they lose the war. Unfortunately the Nebach over here was the sacrificial lamb. If he doesn’t make it out alive or even if he does, they know that they have blood on their hands, of both the victim, & the victim turned perpetrator.

    • I agree with most of what you write. I would say, that if the therapist indeed helped guide the writing of the speech, if she or he was doing things correctly, they made sure the words were in the end the words of the victim.

      You wrote, “Yes a lesson was learned, bullies who bully victims & protect perpetrators may win the battle and get the victim to move, but ultimately they lose the war.”

      You are right if the bullies are just interested in protecting the molester from the criminal justice system. But perhaps they are above all concerned with preventing people from ever going outside the system. While it leaves more molesters around, this approach also increases the control of those who are at the top of the system. From that point of view, the extraordinary stature of the father of the victim was a plus. This case showed, that even if the family of the victim has high status, even if they are courageous, they can still be forced out of the community. All people of lesser stature now know they shouldn’t even dream of daring to defy the system to bring a molester to the civil system. For years to come, the lesson of the Kolko case will be, you can count on the prosecutor and the judge to handle a case well, but they cannot protect you from expulsion.

      There has been a cost to the Lakewood leadership. They have lost a lot of credibility. More people realize that their power if based on brute power, not on either halachah or decency. So more people will comply out of fear rather than trust. That also means, that when they are not afraid, and with those who they trust to share their views, they will be more critical. In other words it will be a system based on fear and hypocrisy rather than faith and trust. Eventually such systems break down. But when and how is never clear until the process of disintegration is fairly advanced.

      • One of the victim’s most important points was that “an abuser never abuses just one …. If he did it to one, he did it to many, and he will continue doing it until he is stopped. It’s your right and obligation to stop him.” The same can be said of corruption and abuse of political power as well.

        • As Chaza”l tell us כיון שעבר ושנה נעשה לו כהיתר.

          It comes to warn us not to transgress the first time when still haven’t completely lost our sensitivity, because to do תשובה is very very hard and unlikely because one is no longer sensitive to the badness of what he has done.

  6. Fellow Jews ,Please come support your brothers in the YU/MTA ABUSE case. YU continues to Rape the many victims by Admitting to the Abuse and Cover-up and yet Fighting it in court simply because the victims ran out of time!!!! The case will be heard on Oct. 29,2013 ,3:00 P.M.by Judge Koeltl, Court room 12 B, at 500 Pearl St.,NY

  7. Just curios going on 2 weeks & Nuchem Rosenberg hasn’t picked it up on his blog. What is he all about?
    Was he paid off? Bought?
    Or is there no ego for him here?

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