Did Bobov Cover Up Molesting at Shalvah, Its Boys Camp?

From my archives of 8/27/12, two years ago

Reporter Mary Murphy

Reporter Mary Murphy

I say there was a cover up based on earlier reports which were confirmed by Mary Murphy’s report on WPIX 11.

Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn used his blog Daas Torah to disparage her report as,

A fluff piece on alleged abuse at Camp Shalva. . .   An embarrassingly poor job of reporting which serves primarily to convey rumors and hearsay.

WPIX 11 reporter Mary Murphy said she interviewed the father of one camper, who spoke to his son who was in the camp. The father shared this communication from a camper.

Boys are saying they were tickled on their legs and you know what that means. . . . . . The kids were warned that morning that they should not be talking to each other about the incident.

Police Investigating Oberlander @ Bobov Camp Shalva

Police Investigating Oberlander @ Bobov Camp Shalva

This is shocking. If true, there was a cover up. If true, the reason the police had no allegations of molesting is because the boys were intimidated into lying to the police. If true, the police may have been quite competent but they were stymied by the same forces that routinely protect ultra orthodox molesters. If true, Jewish children are being endangered because a molester is not being prosecuted.  If true, this news report is not a fluff piece. If true, the only fluff is the Shalvah party line that tranquility reigns and the kids were safe that night.

I keep saying, “If true,” because Rabbi Eidensohn bases his dismissal of the story on the premise that Mary Murphy is a dumb, sloppy or dishonest reporter. He doesn’t explicitly say it but why else would he dismiss a report that documents molesting and a cover-up.

I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. She is a professional with 30 years experience in NYC who has won 18 Emmy awards for reporting. Someone in her position does not take the risk of fabricating a story. In fact we can safely assume she followed the professional protocol of confirming that the interviewee was indeed a father of a camper. This was a minor story for a major media figure. Why would she run such a story unless she did her homework and was convinced it was true and was convinced that she could not be sued for recklessly besmirching Camp Shalva?

So I think the story is true, kids were sexually molested, someone in Camp Shalva obstructed reporting, and Yoel Oberlander will get another chance. The slap on the wrist for a minor trespass will not do much to protect children. The kids will also be harmed by the knowledge that grown ups belittle and lie about their experiences. They will learn to “Not to make trouble.”

Rabbi Daniel Edensohn Daas Torah blog

Rabbi Daniel Edensohn
Daas Torah blog

Rabbi Eidensohn, you have no grounds for questioning Mary Murphy’s integrity as a reporter. On these matters, I would say she has a chezkas kashrus (a presumption of trustworthiness). Regrettably, the administrators of most frum camps and yeshivas cannot be trusted to report molesting to the police. I see no proof that they reported this intrusion by a registered sex offender.

Rabbi Eidensohn, I hope you will reconsider your posting and correct it to reflect the significance of the father’s allegation and Mary Murphy’s professional credibility.

Postscript: As he promised me, Rabbi Eidensohn posted my position on his Daas Torah blog the next day  with the title, Fluff allegation about Mary Murphy’s reporting on Bobov – Rejoinder. He preceded it with his rejoinder to my rejoinder which ran for three paragraphs and for which I had no advance notice. This may have created the misperception that my words were a response to his.

See also: An Open Letter to Camp Shalvah Parents Whose Children May Have Been Molested


8 thoughts on “Did Bobov Cover Up Molesting at Shalvah, Its Boys Camp?

  1. please note this camp is located in fallsburg on Hedin rd. and is under the faction of bobov run by ben zion halberstam

  2. Personally, from my vantage point, Bobov is more interested in what type of eyeglass frames the kids wear. For sure they have stock in some eyeglass company NLOL, not at all. too woody allen, like, too not woody allen like, the various chassidic sects spend hours outsmarting each other. A chumra a day, keeps Satan at bay. or gives super powers to these SMALL rabbis. if you get my drift, and i am not Reb Pinky. just riding on the tails of his brilliance. . .

  3. If this is not referring to something that happened this summer, why are you re-posting it? Was there another occurrence of this type now?

    • I regularly search my archives and re-post articles so my newer readers can read some of my better posts that are still timely. The episode at Shalva was never resolved, the principal who covered up still works there. There are still parents coping with their anger about this episode because it leads them to believe their children are not safe.

      Typically, I re-post on the anniversary month. Occasionally I re-post when an old incident is somehow currently relevant. Come Adar, I scour my lists of old funny satire in anticipation of Purim.

  4. Whether or not anything here is true or not, I don’t begin to know. I do not know anything about it and never heard anything about this. I’m inclined not to believe it. However, since the poster is making a lot of noise, I just want to remind him of one thing: There was once a guy looking for his friend who was named Trouble. He was looking and looking but couldn’t find him. Someone asked him, ‘who are you looking for?’ He answered, ‘ I’m looking for trouble’. In other words, if you look for trouble you’ll find it, but if you look for goodness, you’ll find mountains. Even if everything on this blog were true (and it is certainly not!), still the enormous amount of goodness among the religious, by far overshadows any of this. So what are you nervous about. If your site would be a fair glance at the entirety of the community, then we could begin to hear your questioning of other matters. However, as you say it is all about looking at ‘foolishness’;. In other words, you yourself admit that you will only be looking for problems, as for the good things; let someone else look at them. I hope you (and others) will take a lesson from this. Thank you

    • I am looking for safety from predators. A community with less sex abuse is a way better community for everyone involved, except the predators.

      A pathologist who reads biopsy slides diagnoses and reports cancer. S/He is not trying to denigrate anyone. But when there is cancer, knowing it is the first step in managing it medically.

      How can you possibly believe it is better not to know that abuse is happening. Only predators and their enablers benefit from such silence

    • Yerachmiel Lopin is not “looking for trouble” any more than a person on the beach is looking for sand. Unfortunately, heaps of “trouble” already exist in our very own communities. He is doing a huge public service by creating awareness about these issues in order to protect people. Naive people in denial, such as yourself, are doing a huge service to abusers by creating an environment where they can easily commit their crimes.

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