Meisels and the Seminaries Reached Tentative Agreement with Parents on Tuition Refunds

Elimelech Meisels

Elimelech Meisels

Lawyers for both sides in the refund lawsuit notified the court in writing on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 that they had reached an “oral agreement.” The Failed Messiah blog reported the filing of their Joint Initial Status Report.

This lawsuit was filed on 8/4/14 by parents who enrolled their daughters in Elimelech Meisels’ seminaries for this academic year (2014-2015). They did not send their daughters after the Chicago Beis Din (CBD) reported sex abuse by Meisels and advised against attending these four seminaries (Pninim, Chedvas, Keser Chaya, and Binas).

Within weeks, Touro College and Hebrew Theological College withdrew accreditation. This meant the students were no longer eligible for either US government aid or for college credit. . When these parents requested refunds of their tuition deposits (which could run up to $20,500) they were given the run-around.

According to the recent filing, “Defendants have reached an oral settlement agreement with the named plaintiffs as well as eight other individuals that anticipate becoming named plaintiffs in the event that settlement discussions break down.” In other words, the proposed settlement now covers around fifteen parents. It may end up covering more parents who join before a settlement is finalized.

This is the outcome I predicted because the defendants do not want court proceedings to move to the pre-trial discovery phase which can lead to orders to turn over documents and compel defendants and others to give depositions where they have to testify under oath or affirmation. Such proceedings would expose the sex abuse by Meisels as well as knowledge of the abuse and cover-ups by others.

The refund lawsuit also alleged a conspiracy to improperly hold onto the tuition deposits by Mr. Yaakov Yarmush, the new “owner,” Rabbi Tzvi Gartner, a member of the Israeli Beis Din (IBD), and Mrs. Rachel Slanger, Meisels’ sister who operates the seminaries’ office in Lakewood. The discovery process could have also exposed misconduct in blocking the refunds by these parties, and other members of the IBD.

The oral notice to the court does not specify the exact terms of the settlement. I suspect it is for the full amount of the deposit plus legal expenses. Otherwise I would have expected the parents to decline the offer because they stood to collect triple damages if it went to trial.

I am guessing the total settlement will run to about $200,000 or more based on up to $20,500 per student for approximately ten students, plus attorney fees.

(Note- In some cases, both parents of a student are listed as plaintiffs which makes it harder to get an exact count of claims. Moreover, some parents deposited less, or even a lot less, than the full tuition. This also makes it hard to determine the size of the settlement.)

This is not the end of legal problems for Meisels and the seminaries. There may well be lawsuits by victims of abuse by Meisels. Sex abuse lawsuits can be for much larger amounts. Those lawsuits will doubtlessly list the seminaries along with Meisels as defendants.

Meisels may also face criminal charges under Israeli law. Around 4 years ago, Israel made it illegal to exploit a professional relationship to get sexual favors. Under this law you cannot defend yourself by claiming the relationship was consensual. The law applies to teacher relationships with students and clergy relationships with those who come to them for counseling or religious purposes.

Meanwhile, the greater dispute about the seminaries continues. The CBD is not backing down from blocking accreditation for the seminaries. Without accreditation the seminaries will not be able to successfully recruit for the 2015-2016 academic year. The recruitment season starts in a few weeks and typically closes around the end of the calendar year.

The CBD is demanding authentic proof that Meisels has no organizational or financial connection to the seminaries. They are also demanding the dismissal of some staff involved in covering up abuse including some of the principals.

We have not heard a peep from the Israeli Beis Din or their PR vehicle, the Daas Torah blog of Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn, since the CBD issued its unusually detailed letter about the abuse and cover-ups at the seminaries. I think they have concluded that they cannot intimidate the CBD and they will just have to find a way to meet their terms.

I expect to see more stories about the seminaries scandal in the mainstream media, in addition to the coverage by the Chicago Tribune and the JTA wire service. I am aware of two stories in the pipeline, one of which will probably come out later this month.

Shneur Nathan (Lead Counsel) Andrew M. Hale Hale Law LLC 53 W. Jackson Blvd.  Suite 330 Chicago, Illinois 60604 312-870-6927

 

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58 thoughts on “Meisels and the Seminaries Reached Tentative Agreement with Parents on Tuition Refunds

  1. Thanks for the update. Just a note, usually one only has to deposit about a third of the full tuition upon acceptance . My guess would be about $8000.00 ,but could be rules have changed a lot since I sent my daughter to seminary about ten years ago. Anyways, this should have been an option on day one for parents who wanted a refund. I’m glad they got it.

  2. I was hoping the parents wouldn’t settle bc I honestly wanted this to go to court and force clear evidence of Meisles’ misconduct to be exposed (nonetheless, it seems other charges will make this happen pretty soon). But super happy the families apparently got their refunds back and more.

    I only wish others would have followed along with them.

    I have heard from a number of sources that there is expected to be more serious “action” within courtrooms against Meisles/teachers sometime after Sukkos.

    Thanks for keeping us posted.

    • Don’t expect anything from Eidensohn’s blog. I think he truly (and foolishly) believed in his “hug” theory. Now he’s prob too ashamed to take back everything he’s said and his outrageous position on the Meisles issue.

      (Lopin, can u combine this with my last comment abt the number ’15’?)

  3. I hope this isn’t too off topic here. I’ve seen some references on this blog to maybe the Catholic community handled things better. I don’t think so … I think they are suffering exactly the same agony (see the recent attempts to embarrass/shame/silence Manny Waks yet again). I’m going to post a couple of comments from RawStory from an article where one of the worst guys in the coverup flaps his yap once again. (The former archbishop of St Louis, whisked away to the Vatican to evade possible US prosecution.)

    • Comments from this article: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/vaticans-top-judge-keep-kids-away-from-wrong-evil-gays-for-their-own-protection/

      • Reply•Share ›
      Avatar
      Frank LaFerriere • 21 hours ago
      This is a letter to the editor I wrote and was published in the Berlin Daily Sun.

      To the editor:

      Not so long ago, Pope Francis asked priest abuse victims for forgiveness.

      Yet how do those of us, whom were raped and had our souls stolen from us, whom committed suicide because of it, can give him forgiveness, or any of us so harmed, when he refuses to clean house of all the Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops whom covered up these evil crimes and are still sitting in the positions that they are in?

      How can Paul Anthony Carson, whom upon seeing the priest whom raped him walking down the street and then going home and hanging himself, being found by his parents, forgive him?

      How can Emma Foster, whom was raped by Father Kevin O’Donnell, while at a primary school whom committed suicide because of it, forgive him?

      How can Daniel Neill, whom committed suicide because of his rapist priest, Joseph Gallagher, forgive him?

      How can the 30 boys raped at the St Alipius primary school, whom committed suicide forgive him for their rapes?

      None of them can. Matter of fact, they are supposedly in hell, burning for all eternity, because the pain and suffering brought on by their rapes by Roman Catholic priests, committed suicide, which the RC teaches that if you do commit suicide, then you will burn in hell for eternity.

      No Pope Francis, until you do what you have promised us you would do. Clean house, stop fighting us victims when we seek justice for the crimes committed against us, with the church lawyers getting our cases dismissed using the statues of limitations.

      When Parishioners start caring more about us, their very children of the church, whom were raped and brutalized, and many of you turned your backs on your own children, because you would rather support the leaders of your churches, over your very own children.

      When people stand up and demand that the disgusting attacks against us, like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, whom claims we seduced our priests, whom claims because we did not punch our rapist priests in the face when they were raping us, thereby, we not only wanted to be raped, we enjoyed our rapes and we are homosexuals because of it.

      Then maybe, we will find it to forgive you all. We cannot do so, until all of you, truly repent, and start standing up for us, instead of those whom so harmed us.

      • • Reply•Share ›
        Avatar
        ChaCubed medcannabis1 • 21 hours ago
        That is an additional level of horror upon horror.

        I have a friend who did not suffer that level of horror; his genitals were not fondled, he was not forced/coerced to allow or perform oral sex or masturbation, and he was not penetrated, but there were several “Brothers” in his Catholic High School who “got off” rubbing his hair and looking at his penis when he peed in the school lavatory.

        When he told his parents, they went ballistic … AT HIM … and accused him of lying! And when he finally refused to attend that school, his father beat him, trying to force him to return, but he wouldn’t do it. After a week of beatings, his parents finally gave up and let him go to public school, but they never believed him.

        UNTIL it came out in the news. And he was ELATED: says it was the best “I told you so!” ever.

        • • Reply•Share ›
          Avatar
          medcannabis1 • a day ago
          To Archbishop Burke…. you sir are a POS… plain and simple.. I am a Catholic raised in the faith and suffered from sexual exploitation at the hands of a PRIEST… who was never called out for his CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN, because of people like you who hid them and protected the Mother Church from those horrible sinners like me. I am a proud LGBT activist and member of my church.. You sir are the reason the faithful laugh at the concept that YOU AND YOUR ILK have any authority over anyone is simply CRIMINAL.
          You should be called before the faithful and stripped from your collar and banished from any religious order. There is NO FORGIVENESS for any person in a position of authority that is a bigot and rascist who promotes old stereo-types regarding the LGBT community.
          How many priests did you hide… how many victims did you allow to be abused by the ” church investigators” who were only trying to get to the truth about the clergy that abused children under their supervision?
          How many times did you knowingly send a pedophile back to the unsuspecting people of faith.. who PAY YOUR SALARY and SUPPORT THE CHURCH . Sir your bigoted comments make me sick… and you are the reason the Holy Father should clean house and fire the lot of you….
          You will hide behind your vestments.. as a coward and let the priests fight your battles for you.
          SHAME UPON YOU FOR YOUR TOTAL LACK OF COMPASSION

          This is a big problem. It’s bigger than one religious community. Any time so much power is given to a clergy, especially in an embattled ethnic or ethno-religious community, you create the environment to enable child rape.

          Not only that, this is not just a physical rape, it is spiritual abuse. We all deserve better than this.

  4. By the way, Bill Donohue is if possible a bigger POS than Pnina Feldman. For one thing he runs around claiming to speak for all Catholics and screams “anti-Catholicism!!” whenever clergy face (belated) prosecution. For another thing, he never met a man with holy orders he wouldn’t defend. He actually went out there and stated on behalf of his organization that little boys, 6, 7, 8 years old, who were raped and sexually assaulted by priests, were sinners who had seduced the priests. (There were little girls, too, but as Father Geoghan stated, he started targeting boys because the girls’ mothers would get ‘hysterical’. There’s no death penalty in Mass but the jailers let Gen Pop have a go at him one day and he is no more.)

    Cranio-rectal insertion: complete.

    • Hi, Another Holocene, I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. I don’t know if you get this, but we were raised to believe our rabbis and leaders were the best. Our teachers would sneer at the abuses of the Catholic clergy, and go on to tell us how wonderful our rabbis were in contrast. I still believe religion is a wonderful thing, but it’s a tool. Like all tools, it can used for good or for evil….and the leaders, no matter how learned, are frail human beings. They are easily corrupted by power. I think it’s no coincidence that many abusers are from highly prominent, powerful families. They were raised to believe that the rules don’t apply to them. So maybe part of the answer is to stop giving so much honor to these “special” families and to start demanding that the rules of conduct apply to all, equally.

      • The Torah teaches that it applies to all, and certainly the RCC acknowledges that priests are judged according to their sins no less than laypeople. In the RCC, it is ordination to the priesthood (much rarer than semichah in OJ), not family yichus (pedigree), that gives priests special status in the eyes of laypeople. The RCC has known for a long time that priests sin — and that the priesthood bestows unique opportunities to sin, and to cause others to sin, particularly because of the ritual of confession, in which a faithful Catholic is required to confess all his/her sins to a priest in order to obtain God’s forgiveness.

        What the RCC and OJ have in common is parents’ emotional investment in rabbis/priests as bearers of their religious traditions and faithful exemplars and teachers of a morality superior to that of the “outside world.” Why else spend the money to send their children to religious schools? That “investment” can tragically lead them to refuse to listen to their children when they complain of abuse, more than doubling their children’s pain and soul-wounding. Both Catholic and OJ parents need to learn two things: (1) priests and rabbis are not, as such, holy men (some are, but very few); they are men with holy jobs, jobs they may do well, do badly, or even profane; and (2) that they, the parents, are primarily responsible before God for their children. They must listen to their children and take seriously what they say, perhaps not always believing them, but not humiliating them by assuming that an adult with credentials is more credible, damaging if not destroying the bond of trust between parent and child that may never be repaired.

        • Kevin, excellent comment. You have intense clear insight. Of course, there are many cases of abuse, that for a variety of reasons, do not fall within the parameters that you so very well articulate. Superb comment….extremely insightful.

        • Very true although I will add to one point–actually family pedigree matters a lot or at least it did in the past in terms of who became a bishop. Supposedly purchasing a clerical office (simony) was a mortal sin but it was also standard operating procedure for becoming a church leader. Historically and, well, sadly to this day in some cases, parish priests were poorly educated, including in religious education. (Many people don’t realize they don’t take vows of poverty, either, and can live in considerable comfort especially if their family has money and/or they are assigned to a wealthy parish. Orders like Franciscans which sometimes run urban outreach services DO take vows.) Groups like Jesuits who believe in a good education have had a rocky relationship with the hierarchy. (The Jesuits were suppressed and restored twice already.) The pope emeritus seemed to take no notice of really culty groups like Opus Dei and pretty much let them run rampant.

          Lay Catholics used to put a lot of trust in Bishops and Archbishops and I think that is gone in the US and many other countries when they have found out how deeply they were betrayed.

      • Baum,

        Thank you for your kind words. The testimonies were those of others–I never suffered physical or sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy but I did suffer what one might term “spiritual abuse”. I had to walk away and not look back.

        • Guess I’m also suffering from “spiritual abuse” , otherwise why on earth would I be commenting at 3AM after obsessively reading every post on this blog starting from 2009, all day today. (Thank you, Mr. Lopin, not sarcastically.) I have put thought into walking away, but I cannot and I will not. I feel betrayed, yes, and I mourn the loss of the fantasy religion I thought I was part of. But, I won’t give up on it, and not just because I’m so heavily invested in the form of my family. It’s because I still believe it can be done better. Probably it will never become as good as the fantasy, just better. I also haven’t noticed that the outside world is much of an improvement over the admittedly corrupt world that I live in. Now goodnight, there’ll be hell to pay tomorrow, and I think it would probably be healthier for me to stay away from this blog for awhile, but I probably won’t.

          • Sorry to have depressed you with five years of reporting. I hope the humor and good writing occasionally offset the blues. I do appreciate knowing my old work gets read by a few. I try and write my posts with an eye to archiving information for the future.

  5. How do I join the list of plaintiffs seeking a return of their tuition money from Meisels’
    seminaries? Do you have a phone number I can call? My daughter refused to go to Binas
    and stayed in the U.S. and is going to Seminary here. She said: “I have no respect for the principal and all those staff members who knew about the abuse and kept quiet. They cannot be my “role models” and I can’t learn from them nor accept any of their teachings.” Additionally, she cited that the colleges removed their accreditation from the schools.

      • Hi, Mr. Lopin, now I get it, Ploni. Yes, it’s all depressing and amusing at the same time. And, Sara Drillick, give your daughter a hug and a kiss and compliment her on her extraordinary good sense. Believe me when I say, her common sense is not so common.

        • Mrs. Drillick- Binas probably wouldn’t want a girl that reads slander sites on the internet and make serious life decisions based on them rather than gedolei torah who see the picture differently. Binas benefited. Thanks Lopin for keeping bad girls out of good schools.

        • Baumayimadnafesh,
          Per your previous comment, re getting off of this site, off of the obsession, I can so identify, but my reasons for being here, and getting off are different. I have been here, for about 1.75 years. Yes, and, since, I read everything, basically, realtime, i did not need to read from 2009 until today. in one day. What a feat!! And, in fact, only the satires, that YL, occasionally reposts from earlier days, have i read. I started my education in around Feb. 2013. on this site. re these subjects.
          So, before you disappear, or I, a really good idea for sanity, (from time to time). I have been wondering for long time re your nom de plume. mayim, that’s clear “ad” that’s clear nafesh, i guess is nefesh but, before i leave, is there some further deeper meaning to the entire name that you would be willing to share??? Hate to go without knowing, it’s been “knawing” at me. Baum is tree in German, and also, as it were, a part of my previous married family name. Before I go, hey, efshar you will stay, one day, does not an obsession make, almost 2 years, is an obsession. particularly for one who is not involved in the usual fashion. Can I pry it out of you? Your entire nom de plume, vos is dos???? tree water soul.
          I have enjoyed and profited from your comments, albeit I was not brought up frum, nor was i ever, only in my reincarnation dreams,….. seriously? but, i identify, for years, as a mostly non-practicing ortho, as my ex-spouse enjoyed naming our joint status.

          chag sameach.

      • Yes, TS, indeed, a rarity. Someone with integrity. So lacking in all spheres, the parents did a great job??? or. it is in the DNA. In any case, Sara has what to qvell about. Think that is the appropriate frum word. Honoring ones mother and father is just verbiage, . as are various other “laws”” but, derech eretz, distinguishing btw right and wrong, ethical behavior and rote “religious” knee jerk stuff, well, Sara is blessed, really blessed to have a daughter who can distinguish, and who went for the IKAR. KOL HAKAVOD.
        i guess i haven’t left yet….. had to voice my support. Kids like Sara’s daughter are rare, as are parents with similar ethics. ethics (Jewish) before rote religious stuff. Our children are the reflection of our own morality.

    • Do you mind sharing if your daughter had any friends who shared her point of view and actions in refusing to go?

      • Reactionary? OMG. At this point, even my staunchest charedi apologist friends have conceded by now that Meisels is a Rasha and his seminary staff enablers can’t be trusted. If you read through even Agudah sanctioned literature at this point, it becomes overwhelmingly clear that many gedolei torah have traded the sanctity of our tayara kinder for institutional protection and the maintenance of their personal power. Why don’t you at least do a thorough investigation before you definitively decide that this is slander? Or, if you are being sarcastic and I missed it, I apologize for being chosheid you.

        • Hi, Chashdan, thanks for your acknowledgement. But your reading too much into the name. It’s just from something I learned in school, bau mayim ad nafesh ( or should it be nefesh),meaning “the water has risen up enough to almost kill me”, I guess referring to a drowning situation. Maybe I really got it wrong, but that was my understanding of the phrase. I just got tired of sitting quietly and enjoying my own personal life, which is really pretty good, while all of these horrible things are going on almost literally in my backyard. Of course my parents who are BTs still believe all is well with the system, it’sjust a few bad apples, etc….it’s made for some very loud arguements over yom tov, I can tell you that. I had to agree with my son that I will not mention the word “pedophile” more than once every two months from now on.

  6. what a shame Binas is the most wonderful sem with outstanding refined girls attending she really missed a once in a life time opportunity. Non the less I wish her only happiness I am sure that she too is an outstanding girl . We were going to pull out however we are so pleased we did not. The sem is everything she dreamed of and more and the safest sem this year, the classes are outstanding and the school is very academic, they also have a wonderful time with many trips .

    • Kalman, nice, so glad you stayed. pray alot and pray that the trips are not run by, M, and not overnight trips. You think you are so smart, well, I certainly hope your are, since for many years, supposedly smart savvy gals have been wowed and misled by this scumball. if he steps foot into Binas, i suggest you call the shotrim, because, he has no position there, and has, kivyachol sold the sems. So if he even steps in the door, he is in violation of various laws, does your daughter know to inform you. if that occurs. not the principal or any of the teachers, their parnassah comes still from M. Will she call you? or will she think, it was all a pile of motsi shem rah? I hope that she believes that M violated dozens, if not hundreds of frum girls. Have any of them started a website, “survivors of meisels” well, one should, truthseeker seems to be the most likely to be proactive but, who knows? She was not a victim physically, although the psychological damage is horrific also, but perhaps, one of the rape victims would be more appropriate to initiate the blog. Caution you daughter to read it daily. Sooner safe then sorry. Do you buy lottery tickets and bet on horses also?

    • May I ask what your daughter thinks of those teachers who knew of the abuse and did nothing about it? How does your daughter handle knowing that abt her mechanchim

    • Kalman, just so you know, the teachers in that school would tell your daughter to be quiet and that it was her fault if chas v’ shalom M pursued her. Outstanding classes and academia can never make up for enabling abuse and shaming victims.

  7. He was not involved much with this seminary he only taught one class a week at Binas. His main focus to my understanding was on the Pninim seminary that focused more with troubled and less yeshivish teenagers ( I am sure he had some excellent girls in seminary as well I am sure some of the more modern girls were outstanding). Binas was his most academic program. I am really not worried. Additionally they have a special woman overseeing all of the seminaries. Please note that all jewish girls are equal and it makes no difference if they are modern or not, it is just that every one chooses what place best fits their requirements.

    • The Chicago Special Beis Din concluded the abuse by Meisels happened with students from all of the seminaries. It seems Meisels was able to manage to abuse students in all of the seminaries. Sorry, the problem wasn’t less chareidi girls; it was a religious faker who had access to them and had his staff in all four seminaries rolling over to their boss rather than defending their students.

    • As a girl who went to the seminaries, I’ll tell u that u are highly mistaken in your perception.

      I spoke to a girl who went to Nachlas where he taught only once a week and she described the girls “all over him” from just one class a week. He had power over ppl no matter the length of time he spent in the classroom.

      And he has admitted to committing abuse towards girls from EVERY SEMINARY, INCLUDING BINAS.

    • I’m also a little surprised when ppl describe pninim as a place for “troubled girls”. Perhaps it is true, but not my experience. Sure, there were interesting students my year, but that means nothing.

      There are girls in MMY suffering from anorexia, girls from Tomer Devorah who have low self-esteem. It is apart of life. Not matter the seminary. That is all. Girls there are just like all other girls, but the pninim was not afraid to openly handle teenage issues which girls from every school have.

      • If that’s the case, then it would really be a crying shame for Peninim to be shut down. Maybe they could still salvage the place by firing the enabling staff and providing some serious education about SA to the remaining staff and new staff?

        • Yes. I’ve actually said that in a number of posts. Pninims a great place. But there’s no room for enabling teachers in the faculty there.

          And if they refuse to apologize or adress the abuse (which they have been doing), then I personally feel the entire school should be shut down.

  8. My question is, after this is all over. How do we get predators like Meisels off the streets and away from others? Will he go to jail? Sex offenders are not the kind that one can rehabilitate easily.

    • I believe continued legal actions are on the horizon. That will be the answer to those imperative questions.

      • Truthseeker,
        I have been following this case and I am interested to know..what is happening?
        Besides for the RICO suit, are there other lawsuits against him? Will he go to jail?

        • for him to go to jail there needs to be a criminal charge. I am not aware of any victim who has pressed charges yet, though I know some are contemplating the possibility. It is possible some such accusation/investigation is in process which i do not know about, of course.

          Most likely the charges would have to be lodged in Israel, probably by an ex-student who now lives in the US and is able and willing to withstand the stigma that will be applied to her for her part, rightly or wrongly, in the story. Anyone functioning inside the haredi world knows that such revelations will force her to pay a terrible price in social standing and might cost her any shidduch prospects. Yet, because there are believe to be many victims and there are always some willing or able to withstand the pressure, a criminal charge is still possible. Meisels’ chutzpah might finally provoke someone to step forward.

    • Whether he goes to jail depends on one of his victims pressing charges in Israel. Unfortunately, such action will likely hurt anyone on the shidduch market in the haredi world. Shidduchim are the moloch to which we sacrifice. So he should go to jail but it is not clear if anyone will rise to the challenge and the usual slandering that follows such action.

      • YL. I have a question for you. Being a blogger and advocate for CSA victims. I am reasonably certain that you have had cyberspace contact with a variety of individuals. many who follow your blog, many who were abused. many who never told a soul. I would stake a grand bet on the latter.
        From your experience, and perhaps, yours is greater than any other professiona etc, et al. i am reasonably certain that you have had individuals correspond with you, people who had never revealed their abuse, ever. but, in cyberspace… and with an advocate, it is easier.

        So therefore, i am asking you, if you could make a guestimate of percentage of victims of CSA who have never told a soul, not one living soul, and you may, in fact, have been the first. Do you have any gut feel re these numbers?

        • It is irresponsible for me or anyone else to make guesstimates about a subject which most in the community refuse to talk about even to those close to them. For the foreseeable future, the community will not support research to allow us to come up with accurate numbers.

          In one form or another I have probably had contact with hundreds of abuse survivors. By the time they are receptive and talk to me they have usually shared it with others but very selectively. However, my readership and those that contact me are a small sample of the total community and not necessarily typical. Some of them were in contact with me about the issue for quite a while, sometimes over a year or two before disclosing their own abuse to me.

          Absent any systematic research I will assume abuse at the same rate as the general population, with approximately 20% of all children being sexually abused in some form by the time they reach 18. However, I also suspect that the proportion discussing it with others is lower than in secular society. This helps some in the community maintain the illusion that sexual abuse is rare in the orthodox world. Some 20 years ago, the public propagandists of the orthodox community actually claimed there was not sexual abuse. That was an absurd statement but a meaningful reflection of the community’s success in suppressing discussion of the topic.

  9. I dont agree. Im part of the charedi world, your making too much of the shiduch thing. They would step forward. The fact that none have stepped forward, likely means there are a lot less than you think, if any.

    • I doubt you are really part of the haredi world. Alternatively, you are not spilling the beans. A young woman who reported sexual interactions with Meisels to the authorities could anticipate having a much harder time getting a suitable shidduch.

      • YL, yes, that is the common wisdom, and I have no reason to doubt it. I may have once made this comment in the past, so, excuse me if I am repeating myself. This is my theory/suggestion. Since, approximately, 1/3 of all charedi kids have been abused, n (at least in Brooklyn), some enterprising (altruistic, hopefully) shadchan, could set up a service, for those approx. 1 in 3 to meet each other, all equally stigmatized. Actually, the number is far far greater than 1 in 3, because all of the other 11 siblings are equally stigmatized, as are the 12 kids of each of the aunts and uncles. So, to be sure, the brave young lady who would bring charges against Meisels, or any of the other lowlife minuvalim, will be leaving at the maximum 2/3 on the table (to borrow from stock market terminology), but probably far far less, due to the exponential stigma spread. I envision that one strong willed, fearless young lady, will be willing to give up the spread, and bring charges, hopefully both criminal and civil. Civil charges also could yield a pretty penny, the better to support her vauxrien, do nothing kollel husband. .
        “Fantastical” speculation,,,, projection, … yes, to be sure,…….LOL, I, of course, do not see any holes in my logic. So, tell me where the logic of my fantasy fails…..go ahead, shoot it down. .

        • Chashdan, I’m so sorry to admit this, but if my daughter had been, G-d forbid, sexually abused, I doubt if I would encourage her to go public with it. I would hope that some other girl would bebrave enough to come forward. It’s not only because of shidduchim, it’s because I wouldn’t want her to be retraumatized on the stand and in the community. BTW, I read an article in artsandlettersdaily about SA on college campuses,and as an aside he says that the figure of 20 per cent of kids being sexually abused is bloated. He was talking about college age kids, not kids under 18. But I’d like to get more information about that percentage rate, and where the statistics come from, if anybody could fill me in.

        • In response to Baumayimadnafesh @8:22AM:
          I certainly understand your desire to protect your daughter, re “not being retraumatized on the stand”. Just to throw out a few thoughts, briefly (lol I am never brief). Only you can know your own daughter, and of course the “situation” is hypothetical. But there is always the possibility that bringing charges against one’s abuser would be an empowering event for her, and depending on whether she got justice, or not, the resultant feeling of justice being meted out appropriately might actually ameliorate her trauma, (which hopefully would be being dealt with through psychotherapy). All of this is predicated on you knowing your own daughter. She also might have increased self confidence and pride in her own courage and in removing a minuval from society and thereby saving many others from abuse by him. But I do understand your stance, as a mother. I do. Mothers always want to protect their children. It is instinctive nurturing, but, often the mother may turn out to misjudge what is best for her daughter (or son).
          We both have ignored the possibility of you letting your daughter decide independently what to do. I know we are still in the speculative phase here re your individual daughter….

          Not bringing charges due to fear of community stigma, is harder for me to accept. That is what keeps these minuvalim in business for decades. Is this the kind of community where you wish to remain and have your daughter spend her adult years?

    • Zak, “there are a lot less than you think, IF ANY”. Really, be’emet??? So you are suggesting that either a few dozen young ladies lied to the special Chicago B”D (what would be there motivation??) or that alternatively, the B”D is either corrupt or senile???? “IF ANY” on what planet are you living. AND, there is a MASSIVE difference between “a lot less” and “if any”. You can’t have it both ways. You’d make a really confused Kategor. I have this feeling that you would be more at home on this other DT blog. They would embrace your ideas, distorted as they are.

      • Chashdan, thank you for understanding. You make very good points. As this is, thank G-d, a hypothetical discussion, it is difficult for me to make a coherent response, but I’ll try. Per the last part of your comment, I’m ambivalent about whether I would want my daughter to spend her adult years in a society that stigmatizes those who bring charges against sex abusers.( Come to think of it, this is not so hypothetical, as that is exactly the sort of society I and my family are a part of.) The answer is- there are many wonderful things about being frum. Not trying to be mekarev you, that’s totally not my thing. But I have enjoyed the benefits of close friends, close family, a faithful, kind and generous husband, a brood of great, if at times frustrating kids. Do you really think I’d have all this if my parents had not become BTs?(assuming I would have been born at all). So, I think it is woth staying in the fold and doing whatever I can to make changes from within, if ther’s anything at all I can do. That said, if I were chassidish, I’d probably be hightailing it out of the fold.

        • Baumayimadnafesh,
          You have many blessings in your life, and it certainly does sound like most of them are due to your being frum. (Brought up in a frum close community).. I am serious, chas v’sh sarcastic (in case any readers misinterpret). . most of what you have is not common in the non-Frum world. The closeness, the large family (as long as most of them talk to each other), and as long as none of them were abused. So you personally were zochah to the good part of being frum, and luckily avoided the abuse. Not that abuse does not occur in all communities, but somehow one rarely hears of Reform or Conservative Rabbis abusing. maybe that is because they are mostly female gays……

          I envy you. I am from small family, , you know the old joke, that if your grandparents had no children, and your parents had no children, it is highly unlikely that will will have kids..
          I am envious, in fact. And as I’ve mentioned, i have one progeny who is approx. 5 years BT. .
          Some female student MUST press charges against Meisels, and I imagine that every parent hopes that someone else’s daughter will do it.
          The emes is, that by the time someone gets the koach nafshi to do it, the SOL may have passed. (at least in US). Have no idea re in E”Y, but most of the girls were evidently Americans in search of the “degree” to entitle them to be zochah to support a Kollel guy for life. What a screwed up, upside down world.
          I do not know if a class action suit is a possibility. legally or practically. We have excellent lawyers on this site who can answer to that.
          And at this point in time, it is not clear to me, whether the victims have communicated and “confessed” one to the other, (a “support group”? somehow I doubt it). Probably, only Truthseeker and perhaps the Rabbis of the Chicago B”D” know the answer to that.
          I truly fear that, without criminal or even civil charges, that Meisels will re-emerge somewhere in US, in some community, and then, YL, will be able to whip out his unfortunately incorrect post of this morning. and it will be, l’daavoni harav, spot on.

        • Baum,
          Just, btw, the person that I consider my Rav, who will do the final stuff for me, is chassidic. A truthful and straight arrow Rav. No pretenses and no BS. None.
          not your typical chassid, well, it depends on what chassidic, we are talking.
          Skver and Satmar are IMHO hideous. so, rule them out. Over my dead body. LOL., that is what i have been thinking about, long term planning. I have with open eyes, chosen a chassidishe Rabbi, who I totally totally trust, granted, never lived in that society. But at this point in my life, that is lo chashuv, whether i would have stayed, or left, if i had been born one of them, I have no idea at all.. I have no qualms about this Rabbi, none. absolutely none, and, there are those that if i expressed my thoughts on various subjects, ebola, ISIS, might think I am an extremist, if not paranoid. given that, trust me, my choice of Rabbi is shakul l’gamrei.

    • Zak, just to let you know. I taught in a Cheredi school…parents will not even get academic help for those in need of remediation for fear of not finding a right shiduch…
      Some cannot do math or read at grade level, and the parents refuse extra help from Title One…

  10. 1) The percentage of those sexually abused is well over 10% in the general population in the US, and 20-30% is not an unrealistic estimate.
    2) One of the reasons menuvalim stay is business is that their colleagues refuse to act. It was only when there was proof positive, including recordings, of Dovid Weinberger’s actions that the Vaad acted–and even then he was offered a way to leave quietly.
    For things to change, we need more cases like the Kneseth Israel in Washington DC, where the board of directors acted decisively (possibly due to the fact that the president was a woman–and for all we know one of the victims of the menuval voyeur).

    • The question that remains unanswered is why is a rabbi believed when there are multiple individuals (children, teens, or adults) who accuse that person of sexual abuse?

      Why is ‘proof positive’ always insisted upon when the emphasis could be / should be safety for our children / teens / women ? In the case of a professional psychologist, doctor, dentist, etc, professional regulatory bodies and the police would investigate even one claim of abuse by a patient or a patient’s parent.

      Rav Elyashiv ztl was clear: if there exists “raglayim ‘l’davar” (some basis, not just wild speculation), the situation must be reported to the authorities. Why is his directive ignored?

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