Michal Ben Baruch (aka TruthSeeker) informs me that the petition was closed and over 162 names were sent off with the petition to the office of the seminaries. I do not know how they will respond, but a message was broadcast that others expect an apology. The signers came from around the globe with addresses in Israel, France, the UK, Canada, the US and Australia, among others. The American signers came from Brooklyn, Lakewood, Monsey, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Miami among the many places with larger orthodox communities.
I hope they apologize, though I fear most of those staff still lie and deny their culpability. They seem to still claim there was no way they could have known anything was going on though a number of victims and other students have testified that they informed staff of suspicious patterns and behavior by Meisels clearly out of line with both professional relationships with students and orthodox standards of modesty. Mrs. Soloff saw girls coming and going with him for long van rides long after curfew. Rabbis Kahane, Simon and Mrs. Soloff, and others were told about these things.
Even if we believe no one said anything or they did not believe it, how could they deny what they could see with their own eyes?
He was regularly and openly talking to girls with his body and face just six inches away. That is obviously immodest behavior by orthodox standards for public male-female interactions. It would also be suspect in a secular professional setting for a student-teacher relationship. I have no doubt that each of these staff would have chastised a family member for behaving that way. I have no doubt that this staff which zealously policed hem and sleeve length made a conscious decision to look the other way. So much for their blather about being protective of their students.
Plainly and simply they gave Meisels a free run because he was the boss. All these staff should be fired and I hope they will be. I believe some or all of them will be forced out of their jobs. Otherwise the seminaries will not get back accreditation and will go bankrupt.
As I said, I consider an apology unlikely, because in this, as in many other areas, the orthodox world is more concerned with looking good than being righteous. The Jewish tradition is full of praise and examples of admissions and apologies. Even if we don’t get apologies, we who signed this petition have set down a marker. We have sent a message that there is a public which expects staff to prevent abuse by bosses, and expects apologies when they look the other way.