Maryland court records show that that Rabbi Shmuel (Stephen) Krawatsky and his wife are again suing for defamation against those making or reporting allegations that Krawatsky (aka Rabbi K) sexually abused children in Camp Shoresh. The suit was filed on 10/16/18. The suit names two sets of parents who each allege that their son was sexually abused by Rabbi K. The Krawatskys are also suing activist Chaim Levin, the Jewish Week (JW) which reported on the allegations, and the reporter who wrote the JW story, Hannah Dreyfus.
As previously reported here, the Krawatskys previously filed in Federal court against two sets of parents and anti-abuse activist Chaim Levin in Federal Court. The suit was tossed on the grounds that the suit properly belongs in state courts. Krawatsky and his attorneys chalked it up to an error. By any standard that is a hell of an error for a competent attorney. As I wrote at the time: “Krawatsky Never Expected to Win His Lawsuit. It Was a PR Ploy.”
I still believe it is a PR ploy. I think the suits purpose is not to win but to use the year plus till any trial can happen to convey confidence in innocence and to discredit the Jewish Week story in the eyes of the community. It also serves to intimidate others thinking of reporting abuse by forcing them to contemplate the costs of defending a lawsuit.
Speaking of costs, this is probably not something Krawatsky can afford himself. In the past, folks in the community funded his legal defense with protective services. He did not prevail in having the allegations removed but did get them downgraded.
I imagine folks in the community are funding this effort and the effort may be led by the institutions most vulnerable to embarrassment over employing him or potentially vulnerable to suits should other allegations of abuse emerge.
An interesting sidebar question for a member of the Haredi community is why didn’t he first file a case with a rabbinical court (beit din)? That is what victims of abuse in the Haredi community are expected to do rather than resort to civil courts.