Baltimore’s Rabbi Steven (Shmuel) Krawatsky (aka “Rabbi K”) and his wife sued two sets of parents who say he sexually assaulted their children at Camp Shoresh. They claimed the defendants hurt his reputation and cost him jobs at the camp and at the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School. For good measure they sued the NY Jewish Week which published the story and anti-abuse advocate, Chaim Levin who levied that complaint on FaceBook.
At the time of the suit I said it was all bluster, a feeble, but well funded attempt to limit the damage to his reputation and to the reputations of those who backed him sporadically. I am talking about his previous employers, Camp Shoresh and Beth Tfiloh.
Krawatsky’s defenders kept pointing to the lawsuit as proof of Krawatsky’s innocence. That is absurd reasoning. Anyone can sue. The trick is winning. If the other side backs down or settles with an apology or money, you have won.
But none of the cited defendants has done that. The Jewish Week has filed a response.
On Monday (2/18/19) the parents of the Becker and Avrunin children together with Chaim Levin filed their response, a countersuit asking for damages. The parents allege with great clarity, a pattern of grooming, sexual abuse, and compromising pictures of their children. Continue reading →
It is my opinion that Rabbi Shmuel (Steven) Krawatsky and his wife acted in bad faith when they filed his defamation lawsuit against the Avrunins, the Beckers (both parents of children they alleged he abused) and blogger/activist Chaim Levin.
I say that because they filed a legally flawed suit that would be dismissed without any discovery phase, subpoenas, depositions, or a trial. This was good for them because it meant the truth would not be exposed in a trial.
They filed it in federal court when it could only be filed in Maryland courts if both the plaintiff (Rabbi K) and one pair of defendants (the Beckers) both lived in MD. They could have dropped the Beckers and just sued the Avrunins (who had moved to Georgia) and Chaim Levin (who lived in NY). But instead they filed in federal court even though every such case goes through a jurisdiction review before anything proceeds. And of course the jurisdiction review determined that the case did not qualify. Continue reading →
In Scotland a jury can return a verdict of guilty, innocent or not proven. This goes back to 18th century and it was also called the bastard verdict. Maryland uses a similar system for allegations of child abuse. At the end of an investigation, the report can conclude that action is indicated (e.g. removing a child from a home or a teacher from a job), ruled out or unsubstantiated.
Ruled out is a clean bill of health. Unsubstantiated is not! The name of the alleged offender is retained in a database so schools and child care centers can check on individuals when making employment decisions. This brings me to Rabbi Shmuel (Stephen) Krawatsky, known to kids as Rabbi K who at different times was classified as indicated or unsubstantiated by the child protective services agency of Frederick County, Maryland.
Rabbi K is a very friendly popular guy with younger kids. He is a 6th grade teacher at Beth Tfiloh in Baltimore and a youth leader at Suburban Orthodox synagogue in the Baltimore area. Since these allegations he no longer works at the Shoresh day camp in Frederick County or in the Orthodox Union’s Yachad youth program. For months he was also suspended by the Beth Tfiloh though it was done without any official announcement. Continue reading →