Avrohom Mondrowitz escaped to Israel and beat back extradition on charges of sodomizing boys. Mondrowitz was a frum radio personality who falsely claimed to have smichah and a doctorate in clinical psychology. Relying on frum referrals he “counseled” and sodomized many boys. Eventually he non-Jewish victims came forward but he escaped to Israel back in 2006 before his arrest warrant could be executed.
Because Israel won’t extradite him there is no way to bring him back to face criminal charges. But thanks to the New York State Child Victims Act, Chaim Zuckerman, another of his victims will get his day in court. The Ger yeshiva, Yeshiva & Mesivta Bais Yisroel, where Mondrowitz was used as a counselor is included in the lawsuit. They were directly responsible for enabling the abuse by Zuckerman, who chose to use his name for a report in the New York Jewish Week. The events leading up to the abuse was Zuckerman seeing Mondrowitz bent over a boy with both their pants down. Zuckerman reported this to the principal who it turns out is also an alleged abuser who fled to Israel. Rabbi Avrohom Leizerowitz, the principal chastised the boy and forced him to enter counseling with Mondrowitz who sodomized him. Eventually Zuckerman was kicked out this and other yeshivas run by Ger and ended up on the streets.
Some people worry about punishing schools with lawsuits for events in the past for which the current administration may bear no direct responsibility. I would argue that even so, it is a past debt owed. But in the case of Ger, protecting child molesters is part and parcel of their culture. Their designated member of Knesset in Israel, then Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, was deeply involved in fraudulent manipulation to obstruct the extradition of serial child molester Malka Leifer, and help to other sex offenders. So I have not an iota of sympathy for their whining about the costs. More importantly, the abuse traumatized Zuckerman, derailed his normal progress and no doubt still costs him in emotional burdens.
One other thing worth noting. Ohel Children’s home, which has been sued by another abuse survivor was making referrals to Avrohom Mondrowitz.
First posted on 3/8/13
Text of Statement to Hearings of the New York State Assembly, Committee on Sexual Abuse, March 8, 2013 by Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani (spiritual adviser) at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) of Yeshiva University. The Committee hearing were devoted to the Child Sex Abuse Act (CSA) to extend the Statute of Limitations for filing criminal and civil cases beyond the current limit of age 23. The CSA is also know as the Markey Bill after its sponsor, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on behalf of survivors of abuse who suffer from the present statute of limitation; this statute prevents them from starting criminal and civil proceedings against their abuser and those who covered up and protected him.
My name is Rabbi Yosef Blau. For more than two decades I have been supporting and advocating for survivors of abuse, particularly within the Orthodox Jewish community. During these years my understanding of the trauma and its ongoing consequences has grown from conversations with the survivors and reading the literature. Most of the people who have contacted me are adults who are first confronting abuse that occurred during their childhood.
Twenty three and a half years ago I was part of a rabbinical court that dealt with an accusation of slander. A young man accused a rabbi [Boruch Lanner], who worked as an educator and youth leader, of sexually abusing teenagers; that rabbi sued the young man. Naively we restricted testimony to events that had taken place during the last ten years. Few victims came forward and they found it difficult to testify. Soon after, I received a number of letters from survivors clearly describing acts of abuse done to them by this rabbi fifteen and twenty years earlier. Only as adults, having had extensive therapy and in many cases a supportive spouse, were they able to openly confront their abuser. When they were adolescents he seemed all-powerful. Continue reading
In 2008 the management of the Adass Israel School (AIS) in Melbourne, Australia learned its principal, Mrs. Malka Leifer, was sexually abusing teen girls including manually penetrating them. Fearful of the police, they convened a group including Rabbi Zvi Telsner of the Chabad Yeshivah Centre and decided to cover up the crimes and whisk Mrs. Leifer out of Australia. Within days, they paid some $ (AU) 8,000 to ship her and her family off to Israel. There she remains, fighting off Australia’s request to extradite her to face criminal charges.
While the extradition demand wound its way through the Israeli courts, a victim sued AIS. Just after Rosh Hashanah the court awarded the victim $(AU) 1,024,428 ($US 734,310 ). This includes “exemplary damages” (aka punitive damages) of $(AU) 100,000.
Expensive judgments are the looming nightmare of institutions that cover up sex abuse, as well they should be. By rights they should have prevented or stopped abuse. When they fired an abuser they should have made sure s/he did not move on to another job. They should have protected other children by reporting an abuser to the authorities. Continue reading
Rabbi Tvi Telsner was finally forced to resign as head of Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre. His misconduct over the years included helping accused molesters flee the country just ahead of the cops (e.g., Malka Leifer), threatening and shunning victims who went to the police, and orchestrating a barrage of abusive comments about victims who dared to go public with their charges.
ABC in Australia reports
Manny Waks, who went public in 2011 with allegations he was repeatedly sexual abused as a boy at Yeshivah College and accusations of a cover-up, said the rabbi was “at the heart” of the scandal, and said his position had been untenable for a long time.
“He has caused immense pain and suffering to the victims, to our families, but also to the broader Jewish community — not just to the Yeshivah community — because he has tainted all of us,” he said.
Zephaniah Waks and his son, Manny Waks
Dr. Donald Liss
Board Chair, Riverdale Jewish Center
Andrew (Andy) Blumenthal was a child in Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt’s Riverdale Jewish Center (RJC). According to Andy’s posting, during that time, Andy, from a less well-off family, was befriended and groomed by RJC member, Dr. Donald Liss, with home invitations, babysitting jobs, vacation invitations and a paid job in Liss’ hospital.
Dr.Liss repeatedly touched him, fawned over his developing muscles, orchestrated situations to be naked with him in a gym, and got naked before Andy while also in the presence of Mrs. Liss. Even as Andy got uncomfortable and tried to distance himself, Liss persistently tried to deepen and further the connection. Andy finally acted on his growing discomfort and terminated the connection. Yet Liss continued to pursue him for years. Whether or not this went still further, this is classic pedophile grooming and illegal as misdemeanor child endangerment, at a minimum.
Dr. Liss is now the Board Chair of the Riverdale Jewish Center. Together with President Samson Fine, he overrode the will of the majority of the board which voted 34-8 to buy out Rabbi Rosenblatt’s contract. The majority sought the buyout to rid their synagogue of the scandal of Rosenblatt’s outrageous and persistent exploitation of his relationship to manipulate boys and young men to spend time with him while naked, all under the guise of bonding through sports. Continue reading