This morning’s (7/4/16) Times of Israel has a post, “A plea from the brother and victim of a predator” by Yehuda Pogrow. Born approximately nine years after Meir, Yehuda reports:
I identify with my brother’s victims, because I was – perhaps – his first. He first abused me approximately 30 years ago… Over a period of roughly 10 years, he subjected me to severe physical, verbal and emotional abuse. He is short, but he was strong. He would lift me above his head, my whole body parallel to the floor, just let go, and walk away as I crashed to the floor.
I was 17 the last time my brother physically abused me. I had finally grown strong enough to defend myself. He chased me and tried to hit me, but I deflected him. When I thought he had quit trying to hurt me, I dropped my guard. He then stared me in the eyes with a gruesome expression. My arms were at my sides when he punched me, breaking my nose and giving me a concussion. The next day he told me – gleefully — that he broke my nose intentionally. He also explained that I deserved it, because I did not spend enough time studying Torah during my time off from Yeshiva.
Yehuda also provides some evidence that Meir Pogrow’s previous employers should have taken action to blackball Meir in the orthodox educational arena because of his cultish and sexually improper talk with students. For example, at the Yeshiva University- Los Angeles (YULA) high school, one woman says “I do clearly remember discussing my discomfort about him to another teacher, possibly the principal after a discussion that he instigated about masturbation” and “I clearly remember no one taking us seriously.”
Yehuda also reports:
Numerous Michlalah alumnae I met during my time as a student at Queens College in New York told me that my brother was verbally abusive, and that he fostered a cult-like mentality. His groupies were known as “Pogs.”
Yehuda goes to the heart of the problem, a culture of cover-ups, or even open tolerance of abuse, including physical abuse, in many Haredi institutions. He feels that victims need to band together and reach a critical mass demanding reforms. But before that, there needs to be an honest accounting of the past. He writes:
The Michlalah administration should issue a public statement to confirm that it never received any complaints of abuse of any form perpetrated by my brother. If Michlalah cannot make such a statement, it should publicly provide a detailed accounting of how it acted on all complaints against my brother.
Full Disclosure: I consulted with Yehuda in developing his post and offered advice on facts and writing style. But the contents and final wording are completely Yehuda’s choices.
UPDATE: In spite of my intial assistance to Yehuda I am now (7/18/16) convinced that survivors should not contact him for support in any way, shape or form. See: When Anti-Abuse Activists Are Wrong