Yeshiva University is going to be in the news again for mishandling sexual abuse, in this case the rape of a student by a varsity basketball player. Stay tuned for more details. But part of their legal team identified in the suit includes attorney Karen Bitar. This got me thinking of her ridiculous claims regarding the abuse by YU boys’ HS principal, George Finkelstein.
According to The Forward, yesterday’s hearing on the lawsuit by over thirty former Yeshiva University (YU) High School students focused on the the statute of limitations. YU’s attorney:
Karen Bitar… said she wanted to make clear that “we do not think these allegations are in any way insignificant, unimportant or unserious.” But, Bitar added, the allegations took place at a time “when the [mores] or what was deemed typical or appropriate was much different than what it is today.”
Really? Does Ms. Bitar expect us to believe that at the time it was typical or appropriate for a yeshiva principal to:
take “defenseless boys,” and pin them to the floor, “where they couldn’t move, and proceed to hump them in the backside with an erect penis until he achieved climax.”
I am dispensing with the word alleged since he admitted sexual activity with her but dismissed it as ““She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.” However, there is no such thing as consent between a minor and an adult. Sara Kabakov (who has chosen to reveal her identity) describes a very non-consensual series of assaults on many occasions in her lawsuit.
Gafni, whose name at the time was Mordechai Winiarz, had access to Sara because he was her family’s houseguest on Sabbaths when he came down from Yeshiva University where he was a rabbinical student to do youth work at the Lincoln Square Synagogue on the west side of Manhattan, miles from the uptown campus of Yeshiva University.
Yeshiva University is being sued along with Gafni himself.
The New York Post reported the lawsuit yesterday (3/4/20).
See all other Frum Follies posts on Gafni here.
See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZYtP5N0fAw&t=78s
Rabbi Daniel Greer is serving a 20-year sentence in a Connecticut prison for repeatedly raping a boy in his Yeshiva of New Haven. Rabbi J David Bleich is a prominent YU Rosh Yeshiva. Starting no later than 2013 (according to IRS 990 forms) and continuing to January 2020 he has been listed as an officer of the Yeshiva of New Haven in the role of a Director. This is a scandal. Continue reading
Dr. David Pelcovitz remains YU’s resident expert on child sex abuse. Just this evening (5/7/19) he was part of an event for students at YU’s Washington Heights campus.
Guest Post by David Cheifetz
David Cheifetz is a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey. He is also the founder of a new non-profit organization, Mi Li – Who Is For Me, designed to educate the Jewish community about sexual abuse of children and provide support to victims and their families.
About a year ago I came forward in the pages of The Jewish Week and shared my experience as a victim of sexual abuse by a senior member of the staff at Camp Dora Golding in 1979. I also had the opportunity to address the annual conference of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) on the topic. In both instances and in other articles and venues, I spoke about the challenge that we face in the Orthodox community regarding a pervasive tolerance of sexual abuse of children.
This is not limited to any corner of the Orthodox community – It exists in the Modern Orthodox world just as it exists in the Ultra-Orthodox world. And while there is a growing recognition of this scourge, there has been little progress in addressing the underlying culture that tolerates abuse and excuses Orthodox pedophiles. Indeed, when someone is accused of abuse, and even found guilty of committing heinous acts of sexual abuse against minors, many communal leaders continue to bend over backwards to show Rachmunus (mercy and empathy) to the perpetrators, and little regard to the victims.
The terrible phenomenon has been highlighted once again this past week, coinciding with the scheduled sentencing of Evan Zauder. Evan Zauder, was a teacher at the Modern Orthodox Day School Yeshivat Noam located in Paramus New Jersey. Zauder also had a long history of working with Jewish youth, including as a synagogue youth director and participant in numerous youth related programs. In 2012, Zauder was arrested for possessing child pornography, and was subsequently found by the US Government to have distributed child pornography as well. He was also found to have engaged in illicit sexual relationships with underage males that involved graphic discussion, mutual masturbation Continue reading