Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Silence of the Lam- Rabbi accused of sexually abusing young boys


Silence of the Lam
Accused of sexually abusing young boys, a Brooklyn rabbi left for Israel 22 years ago. Now one alleged victim wants him brought back for trial.

by Kristen Lombardi
July 25th, 2006 11:19 AM

Out of the shadows: Abe asked the Brooklyn D.A. to reopen the case against Rabbi Mondrowitz.
photo:tacy Kranitz

Abe vividly remembers that wall. The "bragging wall," as he's come to call it, was crammed with certificates and diplomas. He remembers fixating on that wall as the Hasidic psychologist advised him on how to be a good boy. He fixated on it, too, when the psychologist sat beside him, the man's hand shoved down his pants, stroking Abe's genitals.
Abe was eight years old, the defiant son of a devout Orthodox Jewish family who was sent to the child psychologist in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Every Sunday for four months in 1984, he'd go for counseling in the modest house on 60th Street. Sessions started with talk of his behavior—his mischief at home, his disobedience at yeshiva. Goals were set, rewards promised. Then, Abe alleges, the psycho- logist's hand would be in his underwear.

"He would fondle and play with my genitals," says Abe, now a thirtyish businessman not willing to publish his last name. For this former Borough Park resident, whose Orthodox faith taught him to revere elders, the encounters were devastating. "I felt very odd, ashamed. I didn't know what to think."

Abe hid the abuse for two decades, not telling a soul, yearning to get on with life. Until, in May, he discovered what had happened to the man he claims molested him: He got away.

That child psychologist was Avrohom Mondrowitz, Abe says, the same one charged with sexually abusing four Brooklyn boys in February 1985. Once a popular radio host whose Orthodox audience had known him as "Rabbi," Mondrowitz skipped town before police could arrest him. He surfaced later in Israel, where he's lived for two decades. (Mondrowitz, now 58 and reportedly in Jerusalem, could not be reached for comment.)

Abe isn't one of those four boys. He stopped his sessions in the summer of 1984, never to see Mondrowitz again. All these years, he's had no idea his alleged abuser was indicted for molesting kids, on charges that included sodomy. Abe learned of the outstanding case from a mention in a May 22 New York article about an ultra-Orthodox rabbi accused of sexual abuse.

Seeing the name in print left Abe stunned. He went online, discovering postings about the self-styled rabbi on sites for Jewish survivors of sexual abuse. Reeling, he contacted an attorney. And last month, he identified himself as a victim to the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

Explains Abe, "I could tell this guy was guilty as heck and I had to do something. He needs to be brought to justice."

The D.A.'s office confirms that Abe appeared at its Jay Street headquarters in June. Prosecutors interviewed him and recorded his complaints. Hynes can do little about the allegations because they fall outside the five-year statute of limitations for sex offenses, according to Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the sex crimes bureau. All Hynes can do is try to use Abe's testimony as supporting evidence against Mondrowitz at trial.

Jaus maintains that Hynes is still pursuing the 1985 case. The indictment against Mondrowitz is pending; her bureau remains in touch with the original victims, now in their thirties.

"We stand ready, willing, and able to prosecute him for his heinous crimes," Jaus states. "If he returns to this country, we would arrest him. We would prosecute him. We would do everything we could to achieve justice in this case."

But there's a lot more Hynes could be doing to achieve justice, it seems. The one person who can reopen the push for extradition is the Brooklyn D.A.; he calls the Justice Department, Justice calls State, State calls Israel. That's how it works. Michael Lesher, the New Jersey attorney who represents Abe, believes Hynes could force Mondrowitz to stand trial, if only Hynes would take a more aggressive stance. Past efforts to extradite Mondrowitz failed only because of a technicality. Under a 1962 treaty, the United States and Israel have agreed "reciprocally to deliver up persons found in its territory who have been charged with . . . offenses mentioned [and] committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the other." This U.S.-Israel extradition treaty lists 31 crimes, including rape. You might think the sodomy charges against Mondrowitz would fit that category. In 1985, though, Israeli law defined rape narrowly as "having sexual intercourse with a woman without her free consent." Oral and anal raping of boys—among the acts of which Mondrowitz is accused—weren't crimes by Israeli standards.

Today, that loophole has been all but closed. Israel has amended its rape law to recognize males as potential victims, making the act of forcible sodomy a crime punishable by 20 years in prison. Lesher argues the change opens the door to revisit the case. "In theory," he says, "there's no reason for Hynes not to request extradition."

Extradition lawyers second his opinion. Richard Bierschbach, who teaches criminal law at Cardozo Law School and who has worked on such cases, tells the Voice, "I think he would be extraditable now." Changing the law, he says, effectively changed the treaty. Courts have ruled that modifications to treaties can be applied retroactively, without violating a fugitive's due-process rights. "You can say with a fair degree of confidence that sodomy is now an extraditable offense."

Even Mondrowitz's attorney suggests that extradition isn't out of the question. Reached in his Tel Aviv office, David Ofek says he didn't believe the charges against his client when defending him in the 1980s, and he doesn't now, calling them "all lies." Mondrowitz has not been charged with a crime in Israel. Nor has anyone accused him of child molestation there. In a heavy accent, Ofek adds, "I found him to be a marvelous and gentle person, and I don't think he's touched a child."

Still, Ofek acknowledges that sodomy is a crime equal to rape in Israel—one that, in general, is extraditable. "It's a very serious crime," he says, "and we don't like people like that."

So does that mean his client could be extradited? "After 20 years," he tells the Voice, "try to do it."


Mondrowitz was a celebrity to start, a Hasidic Frasier of sorts, hosting the call-in program Life Is for Living at the now defunct WNYN radio station, doling out advice over the airwaves. But in a five-page criminal indictment, prosecutors painted Mondro-witz as an insatiable abuser who allegedly preyed on four boys, ages nine to 15, over four years. The 13 counts against him include eight of sexual abuse in the first degree, five of sodomy in the first degree.

The indictment may tell only a fraction of the story, says Sal Catalfumo. Now retired, he was the main sex crimes detective who investigated Mondrowitz for four months beginning in November 1984, when the Brooklyn South precinct got an anonymous tip about a rabbi. "There were a lot of kids and a lot of allegations," he says.

Catalfumo identified about a dozen victims to then Brooklyn D.A. Elizabeth Holtzman, whose office pressed charges on the four strongest cases. He had interviewed dozens more, he says. Initially, investigators had suspected Mondrowitz singled out Orthodox Jewish children who attended his special-education class at a Foster Avenue yeshiva or his child-counseling practice on 60th Street. Catalfumo says he ended up discovering victims from Italian Catholic families living on the same street as Mondrowitz did. Some served as altar boys at a nearby church. Others played with his seven kids. Two were prepubescent sons of Catalfumo's former high school classmate.

"Children told me and my partner that he would be molesting them in one room while their parents would be waiting in the next," Catalfumo recalls. When police searched the office, he says, they uncovered child pornography in the desk drawers.

By the time police had drawn up an arrest warrant, in December 1984, Catalfumo says, "The guy was gone. He escaped, and he's never had to face the music." All these years later, the former investigator cannot quite put this unresolved case behind him. He cannot quite forget about those, like Abe, who claim to be victims.

Confides Catalfumo, "Personally, I'd like to catch this guy. He shouldn't be able to evade prosecution for the rest of his life."


The Mondrowitz case has also haunted Abe's attorney. Lesher's made a lonely campaign out of researching it, filing freedom-of-information requests to obtain classified records. Beginning in 1999, he spent two years collecting documents from the U.S. State and Justice departments chronicling the feds' battle to extradite the fugitive—a battle that stops in 1993, courtesy of Hynes. Lesher shared his files with the Voice for this article. (The Justice Department declined to comment on the case, referring questions to State; its spokesperson refused even to speak generally about the U.S.-Israel extradition treaty.)

The paper trail starts just as the indictment was about to come down. In January 1985, according to the records, D.A. Holtzman's office began pushing the feds to bring Mondrowitz back to Brooklyn for trial, calling the Justice Department. Two months later, her office made a formal request for "the provisional arrest in Israel of Avrohom Mondrowitz." Prosecutors sent along materials for extradition in September, and kept in contact with their federal counterparts for the next two years. Internal records suggest that Washington officials felt substantial pressure from Holtzman.

"Natives of Brooklyn are becoming restless," reads one February 1986 memorandum, "and we are receiving calls from Kings County District Attorney's Office."

Another cable, dated November 1986, reports that the Israeli official on the case "has from time to time been in telephonic communication directly with the prosecutor's office in New York City to discuss the matter."

Yet another, from March 1987: "Relay the gist of this development to prosecuting attorney handling this case [who] had phoned on February 17."

Now a Manhattan attorney specializing in government relations, Holtzman declined to discuss her office's efforts to seek extradition. "I can tell you that we didn't sit on cases like that in my office," she says.

Still, these early requests were stymied. As early as 1985, Israeli officials had informed the U.S. that rape, under Israeli law, didn't cover sodomy. "The Mondrowitz case as presented cannot be acted upon under the terms of the existing U.S.-Israel extradition agreement," states an April 1985 cable.

Federal officials got creative and asked Israel to consider expelling Mondrowitz, then an American citizen on a tourist visa. For years, the case sat in a kind of legal limbo.

And then, in February 1987, after a change in leadership, the Israeli Interior Ministry ordered Mondrowitz deported to Brooklyn. Ofek appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, asking for a stay and seeking access to the U.S. extradition package. It included four affidavits from John Doe victims. It also included a letter, purportedly written by a Borough Park social worker, charging that Mondrowitz had infected 28 boys with HIV/AIDS. The claim would be stunning now; back then, it was made more so by the fact that so many people didn't understand the virus.

"When you say, 20 years ago, that the man had infected children with AIDS, it means that the man would kill children," Ofek says. There were no drug cocktails in 1987. Not many hospitals in Israel could administer an HIV test. Eventually, Ofek says, his client found one. The results came back negative. The court threw out the deportation order. "The United States wanted extradition and the Israeli government wanted to deport him—and I stopped it."


To hear Hynes's office tell it now, extradition represents the one barrier to prosecuting this case. Just last May, Jaus says, her bureau reviewed its files and consulted with Israeli legal authorities, as well as federal officials. The verdict? "Under the current treaty," she reports, "he is charged with a non- extraditable offense."

Or not. In 1988, Israel amended its rape law to cover the act of homosexual rape. Internal federal letters make note of the change, urging a second look at extradition.

"An amendment to the Israeli penal code . . . presents us, we believe, with an opportunity to reopen the extradition case of Avrohom Mondrowitz," reads one March 1988 telegram from the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Interestingly, no records show that federal officials called Holtzman to relay the news. And there is nothing to suggest that her office was keeping abreast of the developments, or even knew about the change. Just when the U.S. may have gained proper grounds to extradite Mondrowitz, the paper trail fades.

But if Holtzman missed a key opportunity, Hynes has apparently plain sat on the case. He became the D.A. in 1990. In the federal file, there is no record of any activity from Hynes on the matter until 1993, when Justice officials called his office. That's when he all but dropped the case—approving a decision to end extradition attempts for good.

As one September 1993 Justice Department letter details, prosecutors "contacted our office and advised that they would not be pursuing the case any further at this time."

"Hynes has never been hot to extradite Mondrowitz," charges Lesher. Why would Hynes allow a fugitive to evade prosecution through an old loophole, especially when a new victim has come forward to testify? "It's a compelling argument," observes Mary- ellen Fullerton, who teaches international criminal law at Brooklyn Law School. "If I were the Brooklyn D.A., I'd consider it."

Bruce Zagaris, an extradition lawyer in Washington, D.C., notes that the U.S.-Israel treaty is being updated, and that the new protocol would make it even easier to deliver up someone, like Mondrowitz, whose alleged acts haven't fallen neatly into the list of specified offenses. The protocol would replace the list with a provision defining any offense extraditable "as long as the crime is punishable by one year or more and as long as it's a crime in both countries."

So, Zagaris offers, "Yes, I'd say this guy is extraditable. And under this new protocol, there is even more of a chance that he could be."

At the very least, argues Bierschbach, the Cardozo professor, "you cannot flat-out say that he's not extraditable. You can make the argument, but it's weak."

Even so, Hynes spokesperson Jerry Schmetterer maintains, flatly: "After reviewing the files and consulting with authorities, our position remains that under the current treaty, Mondrowitz cannot be extradited. . . . He was charged with sodomy and the treaty has changed. It's our position this change is not retroactive."

Told that experts say otherwise, he snaps, "That's fine. You write your story. This is the position of the district attorney."


Maybe Hynes has his own reasons for not pushing extradition. In Brooklyn politics, the Orthodox community can wield considerable influence. Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf explains, "They vote, and they vote in large numbers often." He estimates that the Orthodox population accounts for some 30 percent of the borough's electorate, from Williamsburg to Crown Heights, Borough Park, Flatbush, and Midwood. Especially in ultra-Orthodox areas, rabbis tend to pick candidates and congregants cast votes accordingly.

"The rabbis are very important because they tell their followers who to get behind," says Sheinkopf. For a politician, he says, that means "you have to play to them."

Hynes has worked hard to court the community over the years. In 1990, he became the first D.A. in the city to convene a Jewish advisory council, which kept leaders abreast of cases involving Jewish defen-dants or complainants. The council is now defunct, says Schmetterer, replaced by the office's full-time liaison to the Hasidic community, Henna White, herself a Lubavitcher. (He refused to let the Voice interview White for this article, saying, "It wouldn't be her place to talk about this case.") Hynes has been commended for launching such initiatives as Project Eden, a Hasidic-sanctioned program that reaches out to ultra-Orthodox victims of domestic violence.

Aaron Twerski, the dean of Hofstra Law School and a former council member, describes Hynes's relationship to the Orthodox community as "quite positive." He explains, "Hynes is a presence in the community. He's been responsive."

But Hynes has bumped up against the community before. The most dramatic example came in 1999, when the D.A.'s office charged a prominent Hasidic rabbi named Bernard Freilich with witness tampering and intimidation for allegedly making death threats against an Orthodox woman who was to testify in a sex-abuse case. The community reacted with fury, organizing demonstrations, accusing Hynes of anti-Semitism. Freilich wound up acquitted at a 2000 trial.

Lesher says the D.A. has a habit of backing down from prosecutions that Orthodox rabbinical leaders would rather handle themselves. He has researched two instances where the D.A. initiated criminal proceedings against accused Hasidic abusers, only to let them fizzle. In each, he notes, "it was community opposition that spelled the difference."

With Mondrowitz, the Orthodox community hasn't exactly clamored for justice. No one dared talk publicly about the scandal when it broke. Catalfumo says rabbis refused to answer questions, parents refused to file complaints. Even those who wanted to see Mondrowitz punished—or dead—wouldn't cooperate with authorities, the detective says, for fear their kids would become tainted by a trial.

Catalfumo doubts the D.A. would do anything to upset the Orthodox community today, and he doubts the community would want to revisit the case. "Let's face it, I don't think they're interested in seeing this surface again," he says. Indeed, Orthodox rabbis and politicians who remember the Mondrowitz case declined to talk about it with the Voice. One Borough Park resident with ties to the same Hasidic sect as Mondrowitz offered this opinion: "Once a case has been put to sleep, it's best to leave it alone."

Twerski, of Hofstra, advocates "zero tolerance" in the community for sexual abuse. But when told about the newly vocal Mondrowitz victim and his desire to reopen the case, Twerski replies, "I don't know what to say about that. That's an old, old case and I'm not going to comment on it."

Jaus, for her part, bristles at the suggestion of special treatment. In 2000, her bureau got word from State officials that Mondrowitz was returning to the States. It contacted the original four victims. It had D.C. police ready to arrest him. He never showed up.

"If we heard this information again, we'd do the same thing," she states.

Those words offer little consolation to Abe. Sitting in the dining room at his attorney's suburban home, Abe hunches over the table, his arms across his chest, his eyes on his Blackberry, as he relays what he told prosecutors on June 7. How Mondrowitz had begun molesting him during a counseling session one day, and wound up making it routine. How the psychologist had even invited him upstairs, and fondled him there.

Abe had hoped his testimony would inspire Hynes to push for extradition, he says. "I came away with the realization that my experience is a footnote in a case the D.A. won't do anything about."

At least, Abe believes, not without incentive. So on June 24, he contacted an anonymous blogger known as Un-Orthodox Jew, who has posted controversial diatribes about sexual abuse and cover-up in the Hasidic world. Abe posted his own entry, writing:

"MONDROWITZ ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Has anyone contacted you as being a victim of Avrohom Mondrowitz? . . . There is renewed interest in this case & . . . I am trying to find out if other victims have also recently come forward so that we can pool our resources & pressure the DA's office."

So far, he's received little response, though two Orthodox Jewish men who claim to be victims of Mondrowitz have contacted the Voice, expressing a desire to bring him back.

To Abe, it all seems so upside down—the way Hynes didn't push for extradition in 1993, the way he won't now. That his alleged abuser can live in Israel, his whereabouts known, yet run around scot-free, seems almost as bad as the abuse.

As Abe confides, "That makes it seem like a big slap in the face by the D.A."


Anonymous said...

Is this the barn burner?

Troublemaker said...

Start flooding the DA's office with phonecalls. Light a fire under the alter kacker's tuchess.

Something's Wrong said...

The article should have ended with "Shea Fishman could not be reached for comment."

US Coast Guard said...

Shea Fishman has been spotted with full scuba diving regalia in the middle of Loch Sheldrake. Because of the storm that suddenly hit, we are launching a search and rescue operation.

Anonymous said...

Is this "turning up the heat" and providing the "right climate"? This is a sad, unfortunate story - but it is old. It may put pressure on the DA for a week - but what else will this do? Iw will not help with the Yeshiva molestation problem.

UOJ - have you run out of Yeshivas to blog about? If so - that is a very good thing.

Also the Village Voice? Who the heck reads the Voice? Certainly very few frum people, the people you want to put pressure on.

steven said...


I have not been one of your supporters, primarily because I do not believe in your cause of shutting down yeshivahs and blaspheming gedolim. However, if you can help bring this monster Mondrowitz back to the U.S. to stand justice, that would be a major accomplishment.

Michael Lesher Background said...


Does Orthorev know this guy from Passaic?

Village Idiot said...

Our newspaper might be for hipsters and radical dudes, but the Voice is often a springboard for stories that are picked up by the NY Times. Which Metro Section reporter does the abuse beat at the Times?

UOJ Fan Club President said...

UOJ, I believe in what you're doing, I support it, and I hope you are successful. I dont agree with some of your tactics and some of the comments you allow posted, however, this article was in no way shocking as the Kolko one was, and I believe you misled us by presenting it as some major article. I didnt learn anything new, as we know about the case before. I was disappointed with the Twerski response when pressed about the new information, however, I hope you are successful, but so far all you have accomplished is awareness, nothing substantial. Margulies still teaches, so do many of the heinous molesters that you have identified, and so its clear your strategy isnt working.

Anonymous said...

I'm not impressed, and neither is Shea.

Shlomo Gottesman said...

On the face of it there's not much here, but it could be trouble for Shea Fishman and Torah Umesorah if Mondrowitz gets extradited back with Hynes on the hot seat. This could potentially turn into a huge can of worms if it emerges who was involved in the cover up.

U.S. Labor Dept said...

We run the Federal Office of Compliance Assistance Policy. That's a fancy way of saying we oversee Federal Whistleblower Laws.

Does anyone know who Charles Hynes reports to at the Justice Dept?

US DOJ, Office of the Inspector General said...

It doesn't matter who Hynes' superior is. We investigate complaints about misconduct and mismanagement at the Justice Dept.

If that goofball "Schmetterer" didn't care what anyone thinks until now, he will have to change his name to Shvitzer.

Why we need sex abuse ed in our moisdos said...

After school lesson on sex abuse, child has courage to accuse
Thursday, July 20, 2006
A puppet presentation at her Stapleton elementary school empowered a 9-year-old victim of sex abuse to come forward and name her alleged attacker, prosecutors said yesterday.

Jonathan Moreno, 20, of Sands Street, Brooklyn, is accused of groping the girl, a relative of his, twice in May inside her Staten Island home.

Moreno pleaded not guilty at his arraignment yesterday in state Supreme Court, St. George, to two felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child. He is being held on $20,000 bail and was ordered back to court July 31.

District Attorney Daniel Donovan said the girl reported the incidents after a presentation of the Child Abuse Prevention Program at PS 14 on June 9. The program, funded in part by Donovan, uses life-sized puppets to teach children about physical and sexual abuse.

"Victims of child abuse are often the most reluctant to come forward and to report these crimes -- usually out of fear, embarrassment, or they simply don't know it is wrong for adults to touch them in this way," said Donovan. "I am grateful that this courageous little girl came forward to spare herself and others further abuse.

"I am also grateful to the women and men of the Child Abuse Prevention Program for the work that they do in helping our children and assisting law enforcement in getting child abusers away from our kids."

According to court papers, Moreno initially denied touching the girl when interviewed by police. He later said he groped her twice on the same day in her home -- once when they were on the couch and the second time when they were playing a game.

The defendant could not recall the exact date in May that the incidents occurred.

Prosecutors said Moreno also was arrested July 6 in Brooklyn for allegedly abusing the girl and her 5-year-old brother in his home. The Brooklyn district attorney's office has charged him in that case with two felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual act (formerly classified as sodomy), a felony count of first-degree sexual abuse and lesser charges.

Moreno could face a sentence between two and seven years in prison if convicted at trial on the Staten Island case of either felony charge.

Assistant District Attorney Lauren-Brooke Eisen is prosecuting the case.

Frank Donnelly is a news reporter for the Advance. He may be reached at fdonnelly@siadvance.com.

contact Frank with your story today.

google groups said...

Some years ago (late 1984, early 1985), a counselor in Brooklyn named
Avrohom Mondrowitz was formally accused of abusing several children. He left
the country for Israel, and has never been tried.

Someone close to Mondrowitz has said that he took his case voluntarily to a
rabbinic court, which supported him.

Does anyone know anything about this? Can anyone shed some light on the
situation? I have never seen the bet din's ruling, and would like to know
the facts, particularly since an "activist" has been sending e-mails again
using Mondrowitz of child abuse.

If you know something of this matter, please contact me by e-mail. Please --
information only; no editorial comments.

Thanks in advance.

Michael Lesher
(973) 470-0212

It takes time to get results said...

December 12, 2003

Rabbi's Courage Sheds Light on Abuse Issue

Thank goodness for people like Rabbi Yosef Blau ("Rabbi Blau Weighs In on
Custody Case, December 5). It takes courage to demand justice on behalf of
sexually abused children caught in the custody battle their abusing parent
decided was the winning legal strategy.

The Neustein case is infamous; one of the most meticulously documented cases
of (alleged) child sexual abuse, it sank beneath a sea of indifference mixed
with "business as usual" networking in the family courts. Closer scrutiny
reveals the indifference as an unapologetic tolerance for child sexual
abusers and not a shred of sympathy for the child victims.

Those of us who work as advocates for children, and for battered women, are
aware that there are thousands of tragically similar cases across the
country. We know the children who, despite the substantiation of the sexual
abuse, are dragged kicking and screaming to visit their abuser or who have
grown so depressed that they want to die. In school they were told that if
anyone ever hurt them, they should tell and keep on telling and someone
would help them. They were told they were special and that no one had the
right to hurt them. Maybe that's why it hurts so much when they tell and no

Perhaps one day our media will give as much attention to the nation-wide
cover-up of child sexual abuse in the family as they have to sexual abuse
scandals in religious institutions. Until then, parents who sexually abuse
their children will continue to use the family courts to control and silence
their young victims.

Eileen King
Regional Director
Justice for Children
Washington, DC Chapter
733 15th St., N.W. Ste. 214
Washington, DC 20005

202-462-4689 fax

Anonymous said...

It's definitely time to reveal who you are and shut down the blog. It's getting old and tiresome. You need to go out with a bang!

Excited said...

I can't believe this is the barn burner. UOJ, please clarify. I don't see where Torah Umesorah comes in to this.

However, there is an incredibly important message here. The perception that the community is not supportive of justice being persued in cases of "our own" criminals is causing these injustices to endure. The same thing was cited by Child Services in Canada in th Bryks case. We have met the enemy and it is ourselves. We must correct this. It seems that Twerski and the like are between Rabbanim and politicians who belive the community supports keeping things quiet. We must make it known loud and clear that it is not so. We also must question our leaders' political endorsements. I'm afraid it's going to be a long road.

Anonymous said...

Check out the New York Post:


July 25, 2006 -- Two Orthodox Jewish men have come forward to say they were molested by a Brooklyn counselor who was indicted in the 1980s for sexually abusing kids but skipped to Israel before he could be prosecuted.
Now they want the Brooklyn district attorney to revive efforts to get Avrohom Mondrowitz shipped back for trial.

"It's outrageous that the DA has allowed this to slip," Mark Weiss, who is now 39, told The Post.

The pair's stories are strikingly similar to those detailed in the indictment against Mondrowitz, which grew out of a case involving other children.

Both newly revealed victims were troubled kids in their early teens whose parents sent them for counseling.

"I remember [Mondrowitz] had this sporty car . . . As a naive kid, I was amazed at how cool this dude was," Weiss said.

Once Mondrowitz, a self-proclaimed rabbi, won his trust, things grew sinister.

"He was so damn smooth," Weiss said. "Everything was my decision. 'Do you want to sleep in the back of my house, where it is scary? Or do you think you want to be with me, where you'll be more comfortable?'

"Then began the whole touching thing. There was some real nasty stuff."

The other victim, who asked not to be identified, started seeing Mondrowitz in early 1984.

"One day, I was sitting opposite him. He began to sit alongside of me and stick his hands down my pants," said the man.

Retired Detective Salvator Catalfumo said the investigation "began with an anonymous caller who said there was a rabbi living on the street molesting children.

"It was very difficult pursing this case," he recalled. "The Hasidic community wanted no part of this. We were told that if a Hasidic kid was molested, no parent would allow their daughter to [marry him]."

Still, Catalfumo, his partner, Patricia Kehoe, and the head of the DA's sex-crimes unit, Barbara Neuman, were able to secure an indictment in 1985. But before he could be arrested, Mondrowitz fled to Israel.

Then-Brooklyn DA Elizabeth Holtzman tried for years to have him sent back, but America's treaty with Israel at the time did not recognize sodomy as an extraditable offense.

In 1988, the treaty was changed, but Holtzman soon left office, to be replaced by Charles Hynes, and the case went cold.

Michael Lesher, who represents both new victims, blamed Hynes' inaction on "a lack of political will."

But Rhonnie Jaus, now head of the sex-crimes unit, denied this, saying her hands are tired because the new treaty does not apply retroactively. As for the new victims, the statute of limitations precludes prosecution.

"I'm not sure what we can do," Jaus said. "We have always been interested in this case. There is a warrant out there. We are ready, willing and able to try him."


shadchan said...

Engagement of Chumi Margulies (Monsey, NY) & Chaim Mondrowitz (Boro Park, NY)
Sunday, June 4, 2006

Anonymous said...


Is this the "Barn Burner" yes or no ???

Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I apologize to my readers if this article is NOT entertaining enough. I'll just have to try harder next time!

We have victims coming forward unafraid to contact the D.A. and journalists. Aaron Twerski the coverup putz resurfaces again with his "zero tolerance" BS!

This perfectly describes the goings on in the community; how Twerski works the "system" to make certain nothing is ever done and protects his gangster friends with his political connections. To hell with the kids, it's the community that counts. Protect and enable the enablers Aaron with your BS college degree from B.M.E.. You're a stinking phony and a fraud dressed up in your Purim costume as a Haredi Jew!

Aaron Twerski has been on the board at Torah Umesorah and the Agudah for years and they all are complicit in the coverups in our community.

Unless people start getting tossed into jail, these phonies will continue with their charade. Call your local political leaders and make some noise!

Anonymous said...

Way to go UOJ. YOUDAMAN!

Anonymous said...

Kick tuchis ouj!

Anonymous said...

is it a kovoid for yeshivois which allegedly tolerated abuse to be compared?

The college has a nicer campus. That makes a big difference.

Anonymous said...

wether or not this or any other charges are true ur causing a majot chilul hashem and lashon hara to be spoken. our brothers are fighting in the holy land..the bais hamikdash was destroyed bec of sinas chinam..with 9 days coming do u want to be the cause of another churban?
D O N T P O S T on this page, dont spread lashon hara...if these mollesters did mollest they hurt those kids, this hurts all of klal yisrael..
of course if they did, they r wrong, horribly wrong...but this causes untold damage as well

Anonymous said...

The zchus for Klal Yisroel is in helping the opressed and rooting out the evildoers. Listen in to this week's Haftorah if you're not convinced.

Uncle Abe said...

the history of this case is up on The Awareness Center's page.

Yadin Yadin, Yada Yada said...

"I have never seen the bet din's ruling, and would like to know
the facts"

Sounds like a case for a corrupt beis din that is known to protect pedophiles like Gershon Tennenbaum's & Mendel Epstein's Iggud "Harabbanim" or Hersh Ginzberg at Agudas "harabbanim".

boog said...

the guy who wrote the article is damn intelegent

John Walsh said...


Sex-offender database on Web clears Congress
William E. Gibson
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

July 26, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Taking aim at sexual predators, Congress sent a bill to President Bush on Tuesday designed to track sex offenders nationwide and toughen penalties against those who prowl the Internet to find young victims.

The bill, inspired by two nationally known South Florida cases, passed the Senate by voice vote last week and passed the House by voice vote Tuesday. It would establish a national Internet database to search for sex offenders by ZIP code, among other provisions.

Bush plans to sign it into law Thursday, the 25th anniversary of the abduction of 6-year-old Adam Walsh.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act imposes mandatory 10-year prison sentences for sex crimes against children younger than 18. With the Internet in mind, it outlaws depictions of the sexual abuse of children and the transfer of obscene material to minors.

Though passed with little opposition, some critics fear the law will be so inflexible that teenagers engaged in consensual sex could be subject to mandatory prison terms.

One set of provisions in the bill is named after 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce of Redland, who was abducted and murdered in 1995. His parents, Don and Claudine Ryce, plan to attend the signing ceremony.

Rep. Mark Foley, a prime sponsor, told the House the idea for the legislation began when John Walsh, Adam's father and host of the television series America's Most Wanted, complained that states and the federal government had lost track of as many as 150,000 registered sex offenders.

"It used to be that we tracked library books better than we did sex offenders," said Foley, R-Jupiter. "But this bill will even that score."

The bill directs states to set up sex-offender databases and authorizes a national registry and public Web site


"America's children will be better protected from every parent's worst nightmare -- sexual predators," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said.

The most serious offenders would be registered on a national database for life. All sex offenders could face a felony charge, punishable by 10 years in prison, for failing to update the information.

"This legislation would make it crystal clear to sex offenders: You better register, you better keep the information current, or you're going to jail," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

The House passed it by voice vote. The Senate approved it with a voice vote last week.

Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said there are half a million sex offenders in the United States, as many as 100,000 of them not registered, their locations unknown to the public and police.

Convicted criminals required to register will have to do so, in person, in each state where they intend to live, work or go to school.

One initiative would create a demonstration project requiring sex offenders to wear tracking devices during their supervised releases.

The bill would increase criminal penalties for child predators, including a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence for kidnapping or maiming a child and a 30-year sentence for sex with a child under 12 or for sexually assaulting a child 13 to 17.

A new racketeering-style offense for people who commit two or more crimes against children would carry a mandatory 20-year sentence. Repeat child sex offenders would face harsher penalties.

The bill would also authorize new crime-prevention and child-fingerprinting campaigns, along with new programs to combat the sexual abuse of children.


Walsh told the critics that when he was talking to senators about electronic monitoring of sex offenders, "I said implant it in their anus and if they go outside the radius, explode it, and that would send a big message."

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who, Walsh said, had slowed things down by attaching to the bill "a huge hate-crimes piece of legislation that was very controversial." Kennedy eventually removed the hate-crime bits, Walsh said. The bill passed on Tuesday.


According to this newspaper, the bill includes "Masha's Law" that allows child victims to later sue molesters and enablers. The Congressman Rahall quoted in the article is an Arab who always votes against Israel including during this current crisis.

Anonymous said...

I think you should post Charles Hynes' e-mail address. We should all send a barrage of e-mails to his office, this way he'll see that the majority of the community wants to see this creep brought to justice.

Anonymous said...

Also post Aaron Twerski's e-mail address so that we can ask him not to impede the investigation any further.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Mondrowits a gerer chassid? I read that Leizerowitz was too. It appears to be that the gerers are some deviant cult of sorts. This is scary.

Anonymous said...

Doean't ger have to say somethink in thier defense? And if this is true, why don't they step up to the plate and take responsibility.

Anonymous said...

How ironic!!

Hynes' predecessor as Brooklyn DA was Eugene Gold. Remember him? He was the guy who fled to Israel after he molested a ten year old girl.

Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Torah Temimah Parents:

For Your Back To School Apparel Needs For Your Beloved Children:

SHOP AT: www.cafepress.com/yudi

Rover said...


Not bad. Cafe Press even has a Yudi shirt for hundten.


Slight Correction said...

The batei "din" mentioned above have not protected actual pedophiles as far as I know, but they do fight very hard to protect sexual predators like Mordechai Tendler.

Anonymous said...

Torah Temimah Parents:

For Your Back To School Apparel Needs For Your Beloved Children:

SHOP AT: www.cafepress.com/yudi


LMAO UOJ. The clothing is not tznius enough.

Anonymous said...

Here it is:

Hon. Charles J. Hynes
Kings County District Attorney
350 Jay Street
19th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201-2908
718-250-2210 (fax)

Let's bombard his office like Israel is doing to Hezbollah.

Kings County DA's Office said...


It appears to be a NY State division, not part of the Federal Justice Dept as was said yesterday.

Is the Federal prosecutor in Manhattan, Robert Morgenthau, also responsible for Brooklyn?

Jerry, the Shmuck, Schmetterer said...

We keep the email address for our boss Charlie Hynes private so you bigmouths can't pester him.

Send mail to: schmetj@brooklynda.org

Jerry Schmetterer Director of Public Information Kings County District Attorney's Office 350 Jay St. Brooklyn, New York, NY 11201


Mary Jo Kopechne said...

Does Senator Kennedy know Aaron Twerski? It figures that Ted "the swimmer" would try to slow down the sex offender bill. He has a habit of running young ladies off bridges to their deaths and leaving the scene.

Simcha Klor said...

Are there any YTT parents here or anyone that knows anyone who is not sending their kid back to YTT this coming year?

By the way, I'm just down the street from Loch Sheldrake in Sheldrake Dorms. What a pathetic scene yesterday with Isaac Unger and Shea Fishman splashing around for that dumbass pastrami sandwich.

strange bedfellows said...

I find it unfortunate that those of us who are concerend about the issue of sexual and physical abuse of children often have to ally ourselves with racists and bigots (see comment about "Homos" above, not to mention many others). I admire what you are doing, UOJ, but the lack of understanding displayed by some commenters regarding these issues may well be alienating many of your non-Orthodox allies.

Anonymous said...

One of the anon said:

wether or not this or any other charges are true ur causing a majot chilul hashem and lashon hara to be spoken. our brothers are fighting in the holy land..the bais hamikdash was destroyed bec of sinas chinam..with 9 days coming do u want to be the cause of another churban?
D O N T P O S T on this page, dont spread lashon hara...if these mollesters did mollest they hurt those kids, this hurts all of klal yisrael..
of course if they did, they r wrong, horribly wrong...but this causes untold damage as well

Aside from the poor spelling, there are major problems with logic and priorities here. What do you think causes a greater chilul Hashem (and couldn't you bother to capitalize shem Hashem?) - covering up child molestation or having it made public that someone covered up child molestation? It's simplistic to equate a chilul Hashem with a public act - simplistic and wrong. As the old song goes, Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is truly everywhere - a chilul Hashem can occur in private just as easily as in public. Do you really think Hashem cares whether someone spits on His face in public or private?

Making our shameful behavior public doesn't impugn Hashem's kavod - just ours. And, quite frankly, anyone who covers up abuse deserves to have their kavod impugned a bit.

So what's your solution? Keep quiet? And let people continue to hurt all of klal yisrael? This is pikuach nefesh, which is docheh just about everything.

And let me be medayek here - it wasn't sinah that caused the churban, but sinas chinam - not hatred, but unwarranted hatred. Hatred rooted in personal jealousy, in pettiness destroyed the Beis Hamikdash. But some sinah is deserved. Hashem is a Kel Kanah - a zealous (literally, a vengeful) God. The sinah I feel toward molesters of children isn't sinas chinam, it's sinah that's earned with every tear a child cries, and it's sinah that's well deserved.

This is not a situation that can be resolved with shev v'al ta'aseh. The only solution is kum va'aseh. No more silence.

Gerrer Connection said...

I wonder if the deviant behavior has anything to do with their super machmir hanhogos towards women like not allowing their wives to be seen by visitors to their homes and not walking together on the street.

It's also interesting to note that there have been a sizeable number of girls who ask for divorce from Gerrer chassidim because they are denied an intimate relationship, ie not enough kissing, foreplay, affection etc. These girls will only go out with Litvish types after that.

New York attorney said...

The depth of the reporting by Ms. Lombardi is absolutely amazing.

The Jewish community owes her a real debt of gratitude for this expose. Together with UOJ's assistance of getting the victims and their attorney to come out of the shadows is Torah Temimah redux.

When victims and their attorneys feel they can now turn to UOJ to get the D.A.'s attention through potential negative publicity by the media, we indeed have come a very long way.

Aaron Twerski; you're a disgrace to the legal profession and to the Jewish people.

Juris Doctor said...

"Aaron Twerski; you're a disgrace to the legal profession and to the Jewish people."

Amen to that.

Anonymous said...


Here is the email address of the jerk in the DA's office. Tell him what u think of his boss and then let him tell u why the payoff was big enough in this case that he decided to drop the case when Israel wanted to extradite Mondrowitz. And while your at it ask how much the flatbush sephardic community paid to get one of thier members off with a close-to-nothing sentence for runing down a mother and her 2 daughters on ocean parkway and killing 2 of them. Tell them that hell will freeze over before any of them get elected to public office again and contact the FBI to investigate the shenanigins in the Kings County DA's office. What good does a lubavitcher woman in the DA's office do if she can't even help protect our children!



FBI New York
26 Federal Plaza
23rd floor

New Jersey Frum Lawyer said...

N.Y. Lawyer,
My sentiments exactly. A truly brilliant piece by Ms. Lombardi.
Ms. Lombardi, I want to thank you on behalf of all lawyers of good will and all thinking Jewish people. Regarding Mr. Twerski, N.Y. Lawyer said it all!

Anonymous said...

The Voice piece was weak on evidence and unfortunately will have little impact on the DA. What is worse is that the total lack of outrage and uproar from these communities itself gives Hynes good reason not to aggressively pursue these cases. The secular media can write all they want, but until community members themselves step up, using their names, NOTHING will change. It is up to community members themselves to rigorously pursue justice on behalf of their own. It won't be easy, but it is the only way.

Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Dear Strange Bedfellows,

I apologize for letting that comment slip through; I took it down. Thanks for writing.

Excited said...

Wow. Kristen Lombardi was previously in Boston and is the one who broke the story on the Catholic priests. Way to go, UOJ!

I Doth Protest said...


You have said that people are entitled to express their opinions on your blog as long as they don't cross the line into hurting victims or illegalities.

I don't think you should cave in to a secular Liberal who feels offended. "Homo" is short for homosexual but has become taboo in politically correct circles. There are legitimate issues that need to be aired about elected officials pandering to voting blocs. It doesn't matter if they are Boro Park chasidim or gays in Park Slope.

In the Spitzer-Suozzi debate this week, Tom Suozzi made it abundantly clear that he opposes gay marriage. If he voiced his opinion here, your secular friend would get unsettled yet again.

Orthorev has carte blanche to proclaim that frum is a disease. Most of your readers would agree with scientific findings that homosexuality is an abnormality.

Ex-Lakewood Yungerman said...

Gerrer Connection,

No kidding. Rav Schach ztl once sent Rav Stern to give an x-rated shmooz to Lakewood yungerleit. Rav Schach felt that many among the super yeshiva & heymish were not being good enough to their veiber in the bedroom. After the shmooz, there were some enraged Gerrer chevra who started shouting matches with the Litvaks outside Beis Eliyahu. They yelled and added that they wouldn't even have showed up if knew about Rav Schach's sneaky agenda.

Anonymous said...

Correction on Eugene Gold. He pleaded guilty to fondling a 10 year old girl and was given probation. He then moved to Israel.

jwb said...

October 21, 1983
New York Times

sephardic jew said...

And while your at it ask how much the flatbush sephardic community paid to get one of thier members off with a close-to-nothing sentence for runing down a mother and her 2 daughters on ocean parkway and killing 2 of them.


What the hell are you talking about?

Yoizel Maslaton said...

"And while your at it ask how much the flatbush sephardic community paid to get one of thier members off with a close-to-nothing sentence for runing down a mother and her 2 daughters on ocean parkway and killing 2 of them."

What actually happened was 2 spoiled Syrian rich kids were drag racing on Ocean Pkwy in expensive sports cars. One 17 year old lost control and plowed through a Russian-Jewish family on the pedestrian mall, killing the mother and two children. The father turned to him and cried out in anguish that he just destroyed his family and his life. Chief Rabbi Kassin hung out in the shiva house to beg mechila for the kid's mishpocho, who own a chain of clothing stores that NY residents are familiar with.

The kid was under 18 and did not intend to kill anyone so I'm not sure how scandalous Hynes dealings were in that particular case.

Anonymous said...

Dear Strange Bedfellows,

I apologize for letting that comment slip through; I took it down. Thanks for writing.

UOJ you are a riot. You immediately delete one stupid comment about homosexuals and you allow all the racist garbage to be posted about the gerrer community.

Steve said...

Just got off the phone with Jerry Schmeterer. He told me that there is no coverup involved and that the law prevents them from doing anything. Speaking on behalf of the community, I told him that we do not want to be associated with any coverups and that we want the DA's office to do all they can to extradite Mondrowitz and have him stand trial. I told him that the law was amended in 1988 and there are loopholes. UOJ, I suggest that you give him a call since you are more familiar with the details than I am, and everyone else here should do the same. One request UOJ, please don't turn this into a vendetta against the frum community. Please concentrate on the monster Mondrowitz only. If Twerski and others try to stop you, then do what you have to do.

Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Doth Protest,

I put up your comment so I can refute parts of it.

"Homo" is a derogatory use of the word homosexual. The use of the term "abnormality" is also an incorrect way of expressing the conduct of gays.

That's my opinion.

ezra said...

Please stay focused on the Mondrowitz case. I truly believe if enough pressure is put on the DA office, they will cave in and do what's necessary to extradite him. The blood of his victims is still boiling and they are crying out for justice. Don't get sidetracked by the Agudah nonsense or by your strong feelings towards the establishment. Do what's right, the EMES, and they will not be able to stop you.

Anonymous said...

uoj, suddenly you're gaining respectability, with the village voice, no less, and you are ambiguous about your homophobic postings in the past? You should leave this blog and become prime minister of Russia. You would do well there. Or better, out yourself.

Albert Bijou said...

There are payoffs under the table from Syrians but they are usually less sinister. Things like paying off the guys who work the floor at Barney's so that they hide all the good suits for them during the warehouse sale.

Abe Shrem said...

That story on Ocean Parkway was major hazeeta. There was another SY (legal age) who was driving drunk and killed an old Jewish man. The DA really came down hard on him.

The Rebbetzin said...

Yeah UOJ! What have you done for us lately? Huh? Ok so big deal you spend half of your day researching and trying to put an end to the pedophiles...so what? What do you want a medal? What have you done for me lately?

So what? jUST BECAUSE you were the ONLY JEW that EVER did anything to get rid of KOLKO and now he is gone....so BFD, what have you done for me lately?

So it was just genitals and not all the way with Kolko, big deal...What have you done for me lately?

ALL OF YOU NEGATIVE JEWS make me sick AND ASHAMED! This is the the real destruction of the Jews. The negative thinking and nay saying. This is what happened in Har Sanai with the Golden Calf!

What have you done for us lately Moshe? OK so we're not slaves any more, but that was a few weeks ago....what have you done for me lately?????

When Jews start really practiCing the spirit of the Jewish law instead of the letter of the law we will finally be rewarded with Moshiach! Until then


The Publisher said...

UOJ you are a riot. You immediately delete one stupid comment about homosexuals and you allow all the racist garbage to be posted about the gerrer community.

This is very, very interesting. UOJ's critics accuse him of non-Jewish methods yet this anonymous comment shows just how much it is the frum community that has absorbed influences from the popular culture. Here we have a frummie engage in liberal newspeak. "Racist" is quickly losing any meaning and is used as a catchall epithet for anyone who might criticize any distinct community or subculture. Are Gerrer chassidim a separate race?

Okay all you yeshiva educated folks, let's have a little English lesson. The word that you are looking for is "bigot". Bigot (from Old French): One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ. Of course, if you called the poster a bigot, your English would have been better, but it would also be a false accusation. There was no intolerance due to difference but rather a subtantive criticism of the attitude that Gerrer chassidim have towards women and sexuality. If the criticism was inaccurate, please explain its inaccuracy. Otherwise you are just trying to intimidate and use a heckler's veto.

Anonymous said...

do the Emes? But, first the agudah must tell us emes is, what emes we're allowed to say, to whom and when. Until then, assume nothing is emes.

Silent Avenger said...

Colmer is still around!!
He had access to many children and it is 100% confirmed that he fondled them, and had oral sex with some of them.

The parents were advised by Rabbi Leizer Ginzberg to leave it alone!! HELP US FROM IGNORANT RABBIS WHO OVERSTEP THEIR ROLE AS RABBIS!

BTW Rabbi rosenblum said not to press charges now because of the victoms exposure.

Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky said the same thing.





Anonymous said...

well guys the efforts paid of mondrowits was arrested in israel and will be coming to ny before the summer of 08
laizerovitch you are next