Malka Leifer and the Skeptical Social Worker

Malka Leifer

Malka Leifer

I was reading the text of the court ruling* awarding more than a million dollars damages to the woman sexually assaulted by her Adass Israel School principal, Malka Leifer. This jumped out at me:

[In 2007] the plaintiff consulted Ms Chana Rabinowitz, a counsellor/social worker, concerning her symptoms. The plaintiff saw Ms Rabinowitz on five or six occasions and then ceased seeing her. The plaintiff said she stopped seeing Ms Rabinowitz because she did not appear to believe that she was sexually abused by Leifer. Eventually, the plaintiff resumed sessions with Ms Rabinowitz after she confirmed the plaintiff’s allegations with the plaintiff’s sister and a person at the School. (page 57, section 155)

It shocked me for several reasons.

It was proof that the Adass Israel School knew Malka Leifer molested her students and yet kept her on as principal until 2008 at which time they knew of a total of 8 victims.

Mrs. Chana Rabinowitz is a staff social worker at Darchei Binah Seminary (according to a blurb for Mrs. Debbie Fox’s book, Seminary Savvy, 2015). It raises the possibility that we are dealing with a therapist unwilling to believe a victim of sexual abuse without corroboration from other sources. This pattern makes it less likely victims get necessary support and contributes to the underestimation and under-reporting of sexual abuse. Continue reading

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Taubenfeld Trial Closing Statements Scheduled for this Afternoon at 2

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld’s defense completed its presentation of evidence yesterday afternoon.

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld

Closing statements are scheduled to start in the Rockland court-house this Friday afternoon (7/24/15) at 2:00 p.m. The Judge, Rolf M Thorsen, said yesterday, that he will announce a date for verdict at the end of today’s session. [update- the verdict will be announced on Thursday, July 30 @ 3:00 p.m.] Taubenfeld waived his right to a jury so the judge alone will determine the verdict.

His reasons for waiving a jury are the subject of much speculation. His defenders claim that a Rockland jury would be biased against a Hasid in the current climate of county tensions between orthodox residents and others over the practices of the Hasidic dominated East Ramapo School Board.

Skeptics, and there are many, suspect undue influence on the judge by some parties in Taubenfeld’s New Square village, the home of the Skver community. The community has a disciplined block vote almost completely swayed by the decisions of Grand Rabbi (Rebbe) Dovid Twersky. During the 2000 US Senate race, the Rebbe endorsed Hillary Clinton and she carried New Square by 1,400 to 12! In most other orthodox communities, the vote favored her Republican opponent, Rick Lazio. President Clinton then shocked folks by pardoning four Skver fraudsters on his last day in office.

While Judge Thorsen’s term runs to 2024, some professionals in court-house circles say he is hoping to run for a higher judicial position. If so, Skver’s campaign contributions and votes could be influential. Yet others just take it for granted that Skver will yet work its magic through an outright bribe. Continue reading