Yesterday I posted the breaking news story, Satmar Anti-Abuse Activists Leak Video of a Principal Molesting a Boy to Force His Dismissal. I wrote:
A very disturbing video** was leaked onto WhatsApp of a school principal abusing a pre-pubescent boy who appears to be about eight years old. The viral video was taken from a hidden camera planted in the ceiling of the office of the principal of the Satmar (Aron faction) lower school (cheder) in Kiryas Joel, NY (KJ). Rabbi Moshe Hirsch Klein, the principal, is seen seated with the boy forced between his legs and with body and pelvic motions suggestive of masturbation. He uses his hands to alternately caress the boy’s body and face, and to pull him back as he repeatedly tries to get away. At times he also seems to be kissing the boy on his lips. The boy is obviously upset. Thankfully, the boy’s face is not visible and his identity is not disclosed through this video.
At that time, anti-abuse activist, Boorey Deutsch, reported that the video of Rabbi Klein was leaked after they had presented it to the Orange County DA, who declined to prosecute. LOHUD now reports:
[Maj. Joseph Tripodo, commander of state police Troop F in Middletown] said police had the video before it began circulating on the Internet Monday but he would not say how long ago they began their investigation. He declined to discuss details of the tape or whether the principal has been questioned. He said “it hasn’t been determined” what exactly is happening in the video but that police are trying to have it enhanced as part of the investigation.
I find it interesting that only now are they bothering to enhance this poor quality video to help resolve some ambiguities. I suspect they threw in the towel on the first round because Hasidic abuse cases are tough to prosecute because most witnesses can be intimidated out of testifying. They may have also taken a pass because they know the Orange County DA is not too keen on Hasidic cases because they are a powerful block vote.
All I can say is three cheers for the Internet’s WhatsApp where the video was spread and Facebook, where Boorey Deutsch aired the video accusing the DA of not acting and Satmar of not firing Klein.
No wonder the Hasidic establishment hates the Internet and bans it. But that does not prevent Satmar trolls from using Twitter to defend Klein and attack the reporter who broke the story, Blaise Gomez.
I am not surprised that witnesses in KJ are afraid to testify against other Hasidim. That is the normal consequence of the mesirah (anti-snitching) code of the Haredi world. Instead, some concerned staff at the school tried to convince the higher-ups to remove Klein from working with kids. Sometimes that is done.
However, Klein has protektsia. His brother-in-law, Elimelech Glick, is part of the KJ Modesty Committee (Vaad Hatznius). In theory, they are the morals police who detect improper sexual behavior, warn, punish and even evict violators. They may even be serious about that mission most of the time. But in KJ, as in most Haredi communities, blood is thicker than conscience. This isn’t just a sentimental calculation. Family fates are intertwined when it comes to getting jobs, marriage matches, business deals and other goodies. Besides, most of the Haredi leadership still doesn’t take molesting very seriously. It is more a PR problem and considered a minor lapse. The vaad is usually more concerned about excessive interactions between young males and females, or about extramarital affairs.
See also this article about rapist Nechemya Weberman who was a protected vaad activist, Who Will Watch the Watchers?
**I have decided to delete my link to video. I feel I made a mistake in posting it. It is child porn. Perhaps not legally, but putting it out there means the child will at some point have to live the rest of his life knowing that untold numbers of strangers will see him that way. I feel that is wrong.