Friday, November 30, 2012

Intimidation of sexual abuse victims in the ultra-Orthodox community is common

Nechemya Weberman AKA The Animal
Photos of Accuser on Stand Disrupt Sexual Abuse Trial

The trial of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor accused of repeatedly molesting a girl was disrupted on Thursday afternoon when four spectators in a Brooklyn courtroom were accused of taking pictures with their cellphones of the accuser on the witness stand.

The four men, identified by prosecutors as Joseph Fried, Yona Weisman, Abraham Zupnick and Lemon Juice, were arrested and charged with criminal contempt in the second degree, a misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.

The accuser, who is now 17, has testified that she and her family had faced a pattern of intimidation from the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, since she alleged last year that Nechemya Weberman, the unlicensed therapist her parents had sent her to for counseling, repeatedly forced her to have oral sex during their sessions together from the time she was 12 until she turned 15.

In June, prosecutors charged four Williamsburg men with attempting to silence her by offering her a $500,000 bribe through her boyfriend to drop her participation in the case. Intimidation of sexual abuse victims in the ultra-Orthodox community is common, prosecutors say, because going to secular authorities with charges against another Jew is considered treasonous. But arrests for intimidation are rare.

Mr. Weberman’s accuser had already been provided with increased security after onlookers said they spotted Mr. Weberman staring at her threateningly through the window of a conference room as she rested during a break in the court session on Wednesday, said Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office. The defense denies that Mr. Weberman did this.

Then at about 2 p.m. Thursday, court officers spotted a man taking a picture of the teenager as she testified, Mr. Schmetterer said. The judge, Justice John G. Ingram, ordered the jury cleared from the 20th-floor courtroom in State Supreme Court, and the cellphones of all onlookers in the courtroom were confiscated.

The phones of the four men arrested had photos of the teenager that had been taken in the courtroom, and one photo appeared to have already been posted to Twitter, Mr. Schmetterer said. David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the court, said that Judge Ingram also admonished the men before allowing the trial to continue.

While the district attorney’s office did not comment on motive, Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, an advocate for abuse victims who was in the courtroom, said that the men arrested were Satmar Hasidim, some of whom supported Mr. Weberman. “This is intimidation,” he said. “The government should not let this slide away, because this is not an accident. It is done deliberately in an effort to keep the law system from functioning.”


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DAY 3: Trial of Child Rapist Nechemya Weberman

By Debbie Teller

(Editor Ad-Kan)

My admiration for Ms. A grows as I watch the defense team try to break her down.

For four hours, Mr. Farkas junior pounded away asking questions about times and dates that could very easily have boggled the mind of even an expert witness.

But Ms. A stood her ground and did not waver even once. I noticed that even the judge was getting a little annoyed even though he comes across as extremely easy going and even jovial at times.

Michael Farkas spent most of the day going over dates and times of when Ms. A met certain relevant people. It seemed as though he was trying to prove that she is unreliable and a liar to boot. From my perspective he was not successful. He spent over half an hour trying to find out if Weberman knew that she was having a hard time in school or not. He kept going over and over these points until even the jury seemed exhausted from listening to the repetitive questions.

At one point Mr. Farkas asked Ms. A if it is a fact that Mr. Weberman is a Satmar. (He pronounced it Sat maaaar) And she responded that she didnt know.

Farkas turned to the victim and barked: "What do you mean you dont know, cant you see that he is- what makes you think that he might not be Satmar?"

And without a blink she responded that all Satmar men pray at the Satmar synagogue, and Mr. Weberman did not.

There was an audible chuckle from the audience.

It goes without saying that Farkas said nothing further on the subject of the authenticity of Nechemya's "Satmerism".

Today the judge threw out a piece of so called evidence. It was a telephone directory - a Jewish one of course. Apparently it is a joint business venture between Weberman and Ms A's father. This business partnership had absolutely no relevance to the case, yet Michael Farkas tried very hard to get it to be admissible going as far as handing the book to the victim to see if she recognized it.

The defense continuously tried to portray Ms. A as not only dishonest but as an angry teenager who spent her teenage years in Williamsburg engaged in all sorts of terrible activities. It was laughable because the worst thing he came up with was that she had been reading Cosmopolitan and People magazine! (I am sure that the mostly black jury were wondering if there was something in People magazine that they didn't know about)

She also testified that she used Mr. Webermans email account (Apparantly HE is allowed to have Internet access) to sell some poems and lyrics that she had created. It was almost amusing to see how hard Farkas and his team were digging to find some nasty, terrible deed in her past. But of course the worst this young girl had "done" in her life was to be raped and molested by her guidance counsellor Nechemya Weberman.

The argument that she should have told someone what was happening was terribly lame. One can Google anything to do with sexual abuse and disclosure and hundreds of articles will appear on this subject. It is well known that coming forward and exposing the secret of being abused is very difficult for the victim. It is beyond my understanding how this highly trained team of lawyers are using something like this as a defense.

Ms A. is a resilient young woman who has shown unbelievable emotional strength in the face of her ordeal. And on day 3 of this trial she has once again shown us that the truth will always prevail!

Please come to the trial tomorrow at 1:45pm to show your support!!


Teen Takes Stand in Abuse Trial Against Orthodox Leader

In this May 16, 2012 image taken from video and provided by WCBS-TV, Nechemya Weberman attends a fundraiser on his behalf in Brooklyn.

After months of anticipation, a 17-year-old girl took the stand in the sexual abuse trial of a respected counselor from an ultra-orthodox Jewish community that authorities say has historically avoided such prosecutions by keeping members quiet.

In a packed courtroom filled mostly with her supporters, the teen took the stand against Nechemya Weberman, an unlicensed religious counselor in the Satmar community, an ultra-orthodox sect of Judaism.

Weberman is accused of sexually abusing the girl dozens of times in his home and office over a three-year span beginning when she was 12 years old. The girl, who turns 18 next week, is not being identified because she is the victim of a sexual-abuse crime.

The teen testified she was taken to see Weberman after school leaders deemed her a problem after she questioned her religion.

“I had a lot of questions about religion. … How do you know God exists?” she said, adding that in response her teacher “yelled at me and sent me to the principal. It happened to me a lot of times.”

She started seeing Weberman in March 2007, first twice a week and sometimes up to four times a week.

Speaking in almost inaudible tones and at times struggling to hold back tears, she described the alleged abuse in detail for more than three hours.

“I just froze,” she said about their first encounter. “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t know how to fight back. I was numb.”

“He would continue touching me all the time,” she said, adding later, “I wanted to die rather than live with myself.”

The testimony brought many in the audience to tears, with court officers having to quiet attendees for whispering loudly during breaks in testimony.

The case is one of the few that Brooklyn prosecutors say they have been able to bring to fruition because going after sexual predators in the community has been difficult without cooperation from residents.

In the lead up to the trial, District Attorney Charles Hynes said prosecutions in the community can be more difficult than even organized-crime investigations, in which he can at least offer a witness-protection program.

The case has caused deep divisions among Williamsburg’s Hasidim, with some rallying behind Weberman, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for his defense and subjecting the accuser to threats and name-calling.

Four men were charged earlier this year after they allegedly tried to buy the silence of the girl and her now-husband. The girl was married in October.

On Tuesday, the girl talked about what a difficult decision it was to have to testify against Weberman.

The girl testified that her parents had suggested she drop the case as recently as six months ago, taking her to a Rabbi, who tried to get her to drop the case.

When asked by a prosecutor what was the benefit of proceeding, she answered, “peace.”

Asked about the pressure to drop the case, she gave several examples, including “intimidation,” “intimidation of my parents,” “loss of business,” “having my nieces kicked out of school.”

Defense attorneys have argued that the girl has singled out Weberman and the Satmar religious community because of its ultra-orthodox policies.

Tuesday is the second day of a trial that is expected to last a week. Weberman is also expected to take the stand in his defense.

Prosecutors finished their direct examination Tuesday morning. The girl is back on the stand Tuesday afternoon, being questioned by Weberman’s attorneys.


At Abuse Trial, Support for Orthodox Jewish Girl

The young Orthodox Jewish woman who took the stand to testify in her sexual abuse case in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Tuesday faced an inscrutable jury but also a crowd of sympathetic observers.

Her extended family, friends, victims’ advocates, and some who said they were sexually abused within the Orthodox Jewish community filled the three rows of seats. More supporters waited outside.

At the same time, the prominent ultra-Orthodox Jewish man from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Nechemya Weberman, who stands accused of molesting the young woman, had only a few family members and supporters present in the courtroom.

Abe Rubenstein, an audience member whose son had testified as a victim in a high-profile Orthodox Jewish sexual abuse case in Borough Park, Brooklyn, two years ago, remembered how that courtroom had been packed with supporters of the defendant. That experience, prosecutors said, was typical of a community that had tried for years to intimidate sexual abuse victims into silence.

“Only I was there,” Mr. Rubenstein remembered. “When my son testified, he said he felt alone in the jungle.”

This time, people said that they came because they had read on victims’ advocacy blogs that the victim needed support or heard about her case through publicity surrounding a fund-raiser for Mr. Weberman in May.

Though the young woman’s parents had asked her to drop the case as recently as this spring, the victim testified, about 20 members of her family came to show their support in court.

“The anger has reached a level where people have decided to put an end to making the victim into the villain,” said Judy Genut, an advocate for abuse victims in Williamsburg.

The testimony of the young woman, who turns 18 next week, lasted for hours.

She recalled in detail her first meeting with Mr. Weberman, now 54, at an apartment he used as an office. Her father, she testified, had brought her there for counseling at age 12 because he falsely believed she was having a physical relationship with a 16-year-old neighbor named Shimmy.

Mr. Weberman, she testified, locked the door to his office as the session started, spoke to her, and, later, asked her to stand up.

“He asked me, ‘Did Shimmy kiss you like that?’ ” she said. Then, she testified, he kissed her. “He asked me, ‘Did he touch you on the breast?’ And he did that. And then, he kept going down.”

“I just froze,” she said. “I didn’t know how to fight back.”

She said nothing to her father when he came to pick her up, she testified under cross-examination. Nor did she tell her family she wanted to stop going to sessions, though she said the abuse went on for years, in four-hour sessions that sometimes were held several times a week. In 2011, she reported being abused to a licensed therapist, who brought her to the police.

George Farkas, a defense lawyer, argued Monday that the young woman, who often got into trouble for flouting strict Satmar dress codes and other rules, was making up the abuse story because she wanted revenge against Mr. Weberman, who she believed had told her parents about a boyfriend she had when she was 15. The boy, then 18, was subsequently arrested, though the charges were later dropped.

Michael Farkas, another defense lawyer, asked the young woman if she sometimes felt a deep anger at her religious community and those who enforced its strict rules. She said she did.

But when prosecutors asked her whom she blamed for the boyfriend’s arrest, she did not say Mr. Weberman.

“I blamed my father,” she said.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teen Accusing Orthodox Jewish Leader Of Sex Abuse Testifies ‘I Wanted To Die’

Accuser: Man Who Was Supposed To Be Counselor, Molested Me For 3 Years

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teen alleging a prominent member of Brooklyn’s Satmar community sexually abused her over three years took the stand Tuesday to describe her alleged ordeal.

In a quiet, controlled voice, the now-married 17-year-old said she endured years of abuse at the hands of 54-year-old Nechemya Weberman.

The teen’s father had taken her to Weberman for counseling because he thought she had a boyfriend, which was prohibited in the community, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

However, the teen claimed the counseling turned into undressing, touching and other sexual contact.

The teen told a packed courtroom that from her first meeting with Weberman in an office next to his Clinton Hill apartment, the much-respected Orthodox Jewish leader sexually abused her.

In fact, she said it happened every time they met from 2007 — when she was 12 — and continued through 2010.

The accuser said that Weberman would triple lock his door before the abuse, which allegedly took place twice a week for the three years.

At one point, the teen said she stopped eating for three days. The accuser said she was so depressed she couldn’t stop or even talk to Weberman.

The teen also described another incident in which she claimed Weberman came to her home.

“He got into bed with me and I wanted to die,” the teen stated in court.

She said she was eventually was able to tell a school counselor what was taking place.

Weberman has pleaded not guilty to charges of committing a criminal sex act, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse.

Lawyers for Weberman have argued that the allegations being brought against their client are false.

Weberman is expected to testify in his own defense later in the week.

Earlier this year, a controversial fundraiser was held in the Hasidic community to raise Weberman’s legal funds.


Sexual Abuse Trial of Brooklyn Man Begins

Nechemya Weberman after the opening of the sexual abuse trial against him in Brooklyn. Prosecutors say he molested a girl, starting when she was 12.

The abuse began when the girl was 12 years old, prosecutors in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn said on Monday. She was sent to a prominent man in her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community for counseling, and prosecutors said the man sexually molested her over the next three years.

But lawyers defending the man, Nechemya Weberman, 54, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, told a far different story during the opening arguments of his trial. The girl, a defense lawyer told the jury, had hatched the sordid tale of abuse as an act of revenge against Mr. Weberman and against a religious community she found stifling and rulebound.

As proceedings began during the trial of Mr. Weberman, who is accused of 88 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, it became clear that the community itself, as well as Mr. Weberman, would undergo scrutiny during what is expected to be an emotional week of sexually explicit and culturally intricate testimony.

Both the prosecution and the defense informed the jury that the Satmar Hasidic community, to which Mr. Weberman and the girl belonged, was so rigid that questions from a young girl about something as simple as the proper length of a skirt could lead to mandatory counseling, and even expulsion from school. The accuser in this case, both sides said, was just that kind of girl: a free spirit whose questioning and challenges to authority landed her in trouble.

“She was going off the path,” said Kevin O’Donnell, an assistant district attorney. “She was being a little bit different.” In response, Mr. O’Donnell said, she was branded a “heretic” by her Satmar girls’ school, the United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg, and her parents were required to send her to therapy.

What happened next is in dispute. The prosecution says that Mr. Weberman, the counselor whom the girl began seeing, forced the girl to perform oral sex on him on multiple occasions. He is also accused of touching her breasts and vagina during sessions, which were held mostly in his home office. The prosecution said he was unlicensed in any mental health profession.

“When you think about it,” Mr. O’Donnell said, the girl’s parents “were actually paying the defendant to have sex with their daughter,” which he did, “over and over again.”

The girl, who turns 18 next week, told a licensed counselor in 2011 at a new school outside of her neighborhood about the abuse allegations, and that counselor reported them, Mr. O’Donnell said. “She eventually got the courage to come forward,” he said.

Lawyers for Mr. Weberman, however, argue that the young woman fabricated the allegations because she was furious at Mr. Weberman for what she thought was a betrayal of her trust. At age 15, they said, she had revealed to Mr. Weberman that she had a boyfriend — a serious breach of the community’s stringent rules — and then, a defense lawyer said, she concluded that he told her parents about it.

“There was only one answer,” said George Farkas, the defense lawyer, “vengeance and revenge against Nechemya Weberman, and through this, to bring down the entire community that either supported him, or of which he was a part.”

Mr. Farkas also argued that the girl’s family had a business dispute with Mr. Weberman that may have also played a part in a desire for revenge.

Mr. Weberman’s accuser is expected to testify on Tuesday. Mr. Weberman is expected to take the stand in his own defense as early as Thursday.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

14 life sentences for child rape for this "medical professional" & he does not live in Toronto

Uninformed sources claim that Dr. Bradley will be the "surprise" featured keynote guest speaker at this year's Agudath Israel convention - session will be moderated by David Zweibel, Avi Shafran and Lipa Margulies. Topic - Molesting Kids With A Kapittel Tehillim.

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A judge approved a $123 million settlement Monday in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of young children who were sexually abused by former Delaware pediatrician Earl Bradley.

The settlement approved by New Castle County Superior Court Judge Joseph Slights III resolves claims against Beebe Medical Center, a southern Delaware hospital where Bradley had hospital privileges; the Medical Society of Delaware; and five physicians accused by the plaintiffs of not reporting suspicions about Bradley to authorities.

"Although no amount of monetary or non-monetary compensation can atone for Dr. Bradley's atrocities, the settlement approved today provides Dr. Bradley's victims with means by which to facilitate the healing process," wrote Slights, who held a fairness hearing on the settlement last week.

Bradley, 59, is serving 14 life sentences for child rape after being convicted last year by a judge who viewed more than 13 hours of homemade videos showing sex crimes against more than 80 victims.

Slights approved the settlement in the civil lawsuit after attorneys for the plaintiffs agreed to reduce their fees to 22.5 percent of the proposed settlement, down from 25 percent. Attorneys will receive about $27.8 million in fees and another $2.1 million in expenses, leaving about $90 million available for victims of Bradley. Beebe also has agreed to provide up to $1 million in medical care over 15 years to plaintiffs included in the lawsuit.

The judge agreed with attorneys that without the settlement, Beebe would be staring at bankruptcy while victims would face years of costly and uncertain litigation involving a "race to the courthouse" and young children would be compelled to talk about what happened to them.

"The settlement provides a sizable fund to compensate all victims injured by Dr. Bradley's abuse through an orderly claims administration process," Slights wrote in a 54-page opinion. "And it marks a welcomed early end to litigation that, once fully activated, would have caused great distress to class members, given the tender age of the victims and the vulgar nature of Dr. Bradley's treatment of them."

Thomas Rutter, a former Pennsylvania judge who served as a settlement arbitrator in the bankruptcy of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington — a case prompted by liabilities stemming from abuse by pedophile priests — will serve as claims administrator in the Bradley case.

Rutter will be responsible for determining which claims have merit and for separating claimants into five categories, based upon the alleged harm suffered and the evidence presented. Children within each category would receive the same compensation, but it's unclear what the range of payments could be among categories.

Criteria for the five injury categories are:

— clear and convincing evidence of sexual intercourse;
— significant evidence of sexual abuse;
—evidence revealing a probability of sexual abuse;
—no evidence that would allow one to conclude that the child was abused;
—evidence that would allow one reasonably to conclude that the child was not abused.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have received more than 900 potential claims. The deadline to submit a claim is Dec. 14, but attorneys have agreed to allow a late-filing period of 90 days for claimants who can demonstrate extraordinary circumstances. They also agreed to set aside $3 million from attorney fees to establish a fund to cover latent injury claims. Those claims would be allowed to be filed over the next five years on behalf of children who appear healthy now but later develop symptoms requiring medical or psychiatric treatment.


This case may turn out to be the worst ever seen involving the abuse of deaf children.

“I used to say that not every priest was an abuser, that there were some bad ones, but now I think that those who were not pedophiles must have known what was going on and they didn’t say anything. Damn them all.”

Lawsuit alleges dozens of clergy abused children at Montreal school for deaf

MONTREAL — Another chapter of Quebec’s dark history of the sexual abuse of children in church-run institutions was aired this week by Radio-Canada. But this was not just any chapter. It threatens to be one of the most horrifying in an already heartbreaking record.

It deals with the sexual abuse of young boys, already vulnerable because of their age but doubly or triply so because they were also deaf and mute. Their alleged abusers were educated men who promised to set the boys free from their silent world.

Clerical and lay members of a much-admired Roman Catholic teaching order, the Clercs de Saint-Viateur, these men did not set the boys free. The boys who say they were abused ended up in a living hell, terrified of telling anyone what was happening to them. They remained trapped in that hell in adulthood, unable to erase the grotesque images in their heads of masturbating priests and anal rape.

This case may turn out to be the worst ever seen involving the abuse of deaf children. Unlike the previous record, held by a single Roman Catholic priest, Lawrence Murphy of Wisconsin, in Quebec more than 30 clergy are alleged to have abused the deaf children in their care, sometimes one after another. (Murphy, who may have sexually assaulted as many as 200 children at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin, was denounced in 1996 to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican took no action against Murphy, who died in 1998.)

In Quebec, the alleged victims of the Clercs de Saint-Viateur were given permission by Superior Court in March to pursue a class-action suit against the religious order. Named in the suit are 28 priests and brothers and six lay workers. More than 60 former students have signed on to the suit, all alleging sexual abuse. They are seeking $100,000 each in damages.

Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête called its program The Perfect Victims. The boys came as boarders to the only school for the deaf in the province at the age of 7 or 8. Many were thrilled to be at the school, where for the first time they would be taught to communicate with other children and learn to read and write.

Speaking of the abuse in public for the first time in his life, Denis Chalifoux told Radio-Canada that he arrived as an 8-year-old at the Institut pour des sourds de Montréal in 1968, happy to be with other deaf children. The happiness was not to last long. Within short order, Chalifoux found himself in a priest’s bedroom, with the priest’s penis in his face.

“I wanted my mother,” he said. “I so badly wanted to see my mother.”

Chalifoux said the abuse went on for years, until he left school at age 14, unable to read or write, fit for nothing but prostitution, he said. He worked as a prostitute until he was 30 and said he is haunted by that part of his life. He never told his parents about the abuse. He became hysterical every time he was forced to return to the school after a vacation, but according to his brother Marcel Chalifoux, the family put it down to homesickness. “I don’t think my parents would have believed him,” Marcel Chalifoux told Radio-Canada.

“Quebec was like Ireland,” said Carlo Tarini, communications director for a not-for-profit support group, the Association des victimes de prêtres. “The church totally dominated Quebec. It owned the hospitals and the schools. You didn’t have a prayer going up against a priest.”

Tarini thinks this domination may be in part why outside society failed to help the boys no matter how obvious it was that they were being abused. Former student Rock Savoie, who was at the institute in the late 1950s, told Radio-Canada he was anally raped a number of times. He would be sent to hospital with a torn anus, treated and then sent back to the institute. “The nurses gave me candy,” he said. (Savoie and Chalifoux communicated using sign language which an interpreter then translated into speech.)

Tarini said the allegations of abuse at the school stretch from 1942 to 1982.

“I used to say that not every priest was an abuser, that there were some bad ones, but now I think that those who were not pedophiles must have known what was going on and they didn’t say anything. Damn them all.”

Tarini also thinks the Clercs de Saint-Viateur have no right to the money they were paid, $7 million according to Radio-Canada, when they sold the former institute to a private developer. “That money was raised by the community,” said Tarini. “The priests would come around saying, ‘Give generously,’ and now they’re keeping the money.” The Clercs de Saint-Viateur did not respond to a request for reaction to the allegations aired on Radio-Canada.

France Bédard, 65, is helping to organize a protest demonstration Sunday by men and women who say they were abused by members of religious orders. She expects a large turnout. Bédard said she herself was raped by a priest and became pregnant as a 17-year-old when she worked in a presbytery. She did not see the son she gave birth to for 30 years.

As part of her own struggle for justice, during which she stumbled over a Quebec law requiring victims file complaints within a prescribed period, Bédard founded the association for victims of priests as a support network for victims. “Three times as many men call us as women,” said Bédard, who said that hundreds of victims have sought the association’s help. “These boys were abused while doing their studies,” she said. “That’s proof that priests were involved. They were the teachers. For men to come forward and say they were abused is very, very difficult. It raises the taboo of homosexuality. But what matters is to not be silent any longer.”


Monday, November 19, 2012

The prevalence of sexual abuse among all boys 17 and under has been variously estimated to be as low as 5 percent and as high as 16 percent.

In Close Relationship Between Player and Coach, Potential for Sexual Abuse

It was the summer before high school, and Christopher Gavagan, then 13, was preparing to leave the safe familiarity of the friends he had known during his boyhood. With a plan to excel at ice hockey, he began training on inline skates, moving through his New York City neighborhood, up and down the streets until, he said, “I turned down the wrong street.”

Gavagan, now a filmmaker, was one of eight panelists who participated Friday in a discussion about young athletes who have been sexually assaulted or abused by their coaches. The panel was part of the MaleSurvivor 13th International Conference, held this year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The conference brought together men who have been sexually abused, as well as psychologists, social workers, academics and members of the legal community.

A dour procession of stories about sexual misconduct by coaches toward their male charges has come to light in recent months. Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, was sentenced in October to 30 to 60 years in prison on 45 counts of child molesting. Sugar Ray Leonard wrote in his autobiography last year that he was sexually molested by an Olympic boxing coach. The N.H.L. players Theo Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy were sexually abused as teenagers by their hockey coach Graham James.

The prevalence of sexual abuse among all boys 17 and under has been variously estimated to be as low as 5 percent and as high as 16 percent. For some of the millions of children who participate in sports nationwide, and their parents, sexual assault in a sports context has its own dynamic.

“Sports is a place where parents send their boys to learn skills, to learn how to be teammates and how to work together — to make boys stronger and healthier,” said Dr. Howard Fradkin, author of “Joining Forces,” a book about how men can heal from sexual abuse. “It’s the place where we send our boys to grow up. The betrayal that occurs when abuse occurs in sports is damaging because it destroys the whole intent of what they started out to do.”

When Gavagan, now 38, turned down that fateful street, and stepped briefly into the house of a man recommended as a hockey coach by a couple of female acquaintances, what greeted him, he said, was “a young boy’s dream come true.”

The dream Gavagan glimpsed was embodied in the trophy room of the house.

“It was everything I wanted to be right there,” recalled Gavagan, who is working on a feature-length documentary on sexual abuse in youth sports, in which he interviews other sexual-abuse victims and his own attacker, against whom he has never pressed charges. In addition to the shiny relics that seemed to give testimony to the man’s coaching prowess, Gavagan said, the trophy room had pictures of hockey teams the man had coached and workout equipment — the physical tools promising the chance to get bigger and stronger.

“To a skinny 13-year-old, it was like winning the lottery,” Gavagan said.

Christopher Anderson, the executive director of MaleSurvivor, said sexual abuse — basically nonconsensual touching or sexual language — is devastating under any circumstance, but coach and player often have a special relationship.

“Especially as you progress higher and higher, the coach can become just as important in some ways to an athlete as the relationship with his parents might have,” Anderson said. “In some cases, it’s a substitute for parents.”

He added: “There’s also a fundamentally different power dynamic. When you’re a young star, the coach can literally make or break your career as an athlete.”

But caution has to extend beyond coaches who guide future Olympians, Gavagan said, noting that his coach was not of that caliber.

“The entire grooming process was so subtle,” Gavagan said. “It’s not like when I first went into his house that he tried to grope me.”

First, Gavagan said, the coach said it was all right to curse in that house. On another visit it was fine to have a beer, which led on another day to Playboy magazine and on subsequent days to harder pornography and harder liquor. It was six months before the coach laid an explicitly sexual hand on him, Gavagan said.

“I didn’t feel like a sudden red line had been crossed — the line had been blurred,” Gavagan said, explaining that he avoided his parents when he returned home with liquor on his breath by telling them he was exhausted and going straight to his room. (Unlike many sexual-abuse victims, Gavagan said his parents, with whom the coach had ingratiated himself, were supportive of their son, and his was a loving family. He said that if he had approached them about the coach, they would have listened.)

Another aspect of sexual abuse in sports is the environment, which emphasizes a kind of macho ethic.

“What is most different about abuse is the sports culture itself,” Fradkin said. “It is a culture that promotes teamwork and teaches boys to shrug it off. When a boy or man is abused, he risks being thrown off the team if he should speak the truth because he’ll be seen as being disloyal — and weak.”

At 17, after four years with his coach, Gavagan said he “aged out” of his coach’s target age.

“At the time I had no idea of how it would impact my life, but the unhealthy lessons about relations, trust and the truth set a time bomb that would detonate my relationships for the next 10 years,” Gavagan said.

As a word of caution, Anderson said the lesson for parents should not be that sports are dangerous.

“It should be that there are sometimes dangerous people who gravitate to sporting organizations and our safeguards aren’t good enough yet to adequately protect our children,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that we should be pulling our kids from soccer and baseball and basketball. What it means is that parents need to be vigilant.”

He added: “They need to be proactive with athletic organizations to make sure that policies are in place — such as doing criminal background checks on staff and having a procedure where young athletes can complain about inappropriate behavior — that make sure children are protected.”


Sunday, November 18, 2012

And Pray Tell What Say The Jews "The Light Unto The Nations"?

Four deaf Wisconsin men were some of the first to seek justice after suffering childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, and a new documentary about the Catholic Church's poor handling of such cases stemming from the Vatican seeks to make their voices heard.

"Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" explores the impact of the Roman Catholic Church's protocol as dictated from the Vatican for dealing with pedophile priests. It opened in U.S. cinemas on November 16, and will air on cable channel HBO in February.

Though American media coverage about child sex abuse by clergy has been extensive since a slew of cases came to light in Boston in 2002, Oscar-winning documentary director Alex Gibney wanted to connect individual stories with what he sees as systemic failures stemming from the top of the church.

"A lot of individual stories had been done about clerical sex abuse, but I hadn't seen one that really connected the individual stories with the larger cover-up by the Vatican, so that was important," Gibney told Reuters in an interview.

The film centers on the group of deaf men and their experiences as young boys attending St. John's School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wisconsin.

In a letter to the Vatican in 1998, the late Rev. Father Lawrence Murphy admitted abusing some 200 deaf boys over two decades beginning in the 1950s.

Murphy claimed he had repented, and asked to live out his last years as a priest, and was never defrocked or punished by civil authorities. He died in 1998.

In the film, the men communicate their frustrating attempts to bring their experiences to the attention of religious and civil authorities with effusive sign language and facial expressions, paired with voiceovers by actors such as Ethan Hawke.

The film also traces a convoluted bureaucracy - right up to the cardinal who is now Pope Benedict - to reveal a set of policies that the film portrays as often seeming more interested in preserving the Church's image.


"These were deaf men whose voices literally couldn't be heard, so there was a silence from them, and there was also this silence coming from the church, a refusal to confront this obvious crime, in part because they were covering it up," said Gibney.

The Vatican has denied any cover-up in the Murphy case and in 2010 issued a statement condemning his abuse. It has criticized media reports about the Church's handling of the cases as anti-Catholic.

Contrasting that, the film shows interviews with former church officials who talk openly of church policies to handle cases by "rehabilitating" abusive clergymen and snuffing out scandal.

Gibney said that all of the Vatican officials he contacted declined his interview requests.

Raised Catholic himself, Gibney no longer practices organized religion, but empathizes with Catholics who feel a sense of loyalty to the religion's institutions and acknowledges that criticism of the church can feel like a personal attack.

"Mea Maxima Culpa," a Latin phrase meaning "my most grievous fault" focuses on the failures of the Catholic Church's hierarchy. But Gibney - who won an Oscar for "Taxi to the Dark Side" - said the film's theme transcends religion and is also relevant for secular institutions.

"This is obviously about the church, but it's also a crime film," he said. "It's about abuse of power and it's about how institutions instead of reckoning with problems try to cover them up. It's always the cover-up that creates the problem."

He cited the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal that rocked Penn State University recently, and the BBC's poor handling of abuse allegations against the late British TV personality Jimmy Savile as examples of secular institutions brought low by similar issues.

"The thing about predators is that they tend to hide in plain sight," Gibney said. "You're seeing it now with Sandusky, you're seeing it now with Jimmy Savile in Great Britain, and you saw it with Father Murphy in the film."

Gibney thinks that the public's stubbornly rosy perceptions of charismatic authority figures, including priests, is a major factor in such scandals.

"They're often involved in charity or good works," he said of high-profile abusers. "That seems to give you license to do unbelievable things because people cut you all sorts of slack that they wouldn't normally do for other people."


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another Arrest In The Toronto Jewish Community For Child Sex-Abuse Today!

9:12 A.M.

Dr. Harvey Erlich
 The Toronto Police this morning arrested Harvey Erlich.  Erlich was the conductor of the Toronto Pirchei (Agudath Israel) Choir. This was the same choir with which Heshy Nussbaum was involved.


Nov 15, 2012, 05:00 pm Man Charged In Historical Sexual Assault Investigation, Harvey Erlich, 58, Police Believe There May Be More Victims

Danny Wool has left a new comment on your post "Another Arrest In The Toronto Jewish Community For...":

Let me be clear here. No one is talking about "commenc[ing] the destruction of a man and [I agree] more importantly, his family." I believe that a press release is forthcoming, and it is only a matter of time.

At the same time, I wish you would consider the lives that were already destroyed because of what happened, even if it was so long ago. Those scars are real.

In my yeshiva days I learned that chataim bein adam lehaveiro, Yom Kippur eino mechaper" (Yom Kippur does not atone for sins between people). As one of the victims (yes, I said it), I cannot even begin to think of forgiveness unless there is a full public confession of what happened, not just to me, but to everyone else who was victimized. I expect that from both the perpetrators yimach shemam (may their names be erased) because only then will I be able to begin the process of yimach zichram (may the memory of them and what they did be erased).

When I was in the choir we used to sing, Ivdu et Hashem besimha, bo'u lefanav birnana. These are words every Orthodox kid knows. They come from Psalms 100, and are recited every weekday as part of the morning prayer service. When I used to pray, I found them ironic. They tell us to serve God with happiness, but they always reminded me of the choir, and that always left me depressed.

As I grew older, I learned that this is what is called a trigger (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trauma_trigger). What a horrible realization that was--the very invocation to be happy, especially when serving God, actually evoked one of the most traumatic events of my life. By extension, the very act of prayer becomes a trigger--the very kind of thing that survivors learn to avoid.

To put matters into perspective, prayer was one of the things that was stolen from me by those two animals. And there was much, much more--things that can never be returned.

As for the silence from the community, shetika kehoda'a (silence is the equivalent of admission). I regard the Jewish community's silence as their admission of what happened and, by extension, of their acceptance of what happened too.

You asked, How can we know that the charges are true? There is one simple way. Ask the perpetrators. Demand that they tell you the truth, regardless of the consequences. The truth will come out anyway. They will be recognized for what they did. Maybe by admitting it now, they can, at least, begin to show the first signs of remorse.


Had he used a modicum of his considerable power and call the police immediately, he could have saved countless other victims, the shame and damage to Penn State, and the tragedy of his own shattered end as a president.

A Shadow Across the Soul of the University

File:Penn State text logo.svg

The scandal at Penn State is a shadow across the soul of the university, a bitter reminder that the president who fails to confront corruption will ultimately fail completely, taking down countless other people as he crashes into thousands of shards and clouds of dust.

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

(Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias)

Seems like Shelley's traveller took a detour through Happy Valley. The shards of Graham Spanier's shattered presidency at Penn State litter the collegiate landscape. Yes, he is innocent until proven guilty, but the damage is done. He allegedly failed to stop Jerry Sandusky when he had the power do to so, and the knowledge about what was going on. The evidence detailed in the Pennsylvania grand jury presentment appears damning. The charges are appalling; the abuse of children is horrifying, the cover-up outrageous.

Nobody takes a college presidency expecting to wind up indicted, let alone accused of failing to protect children from sex abuse. The ruination of Spanier's once-hailed presidency is a chilling morality tale for the rest of us who dare to take responsibility for leading a university community.

I've been a college president for 24 years, and in that span of time I've come to know many amazingly dedicated and selfless leaders, a few remarkably incompetent managers, and more than a fair share of prickly egos whose out-sized lifestyles betray the real idea of the university. The near-deification of the university presidency in some places is a big part of the problem that not only led to the catastrophe at Penn State, but that also contributes to the myriad fractures in the facade of higher education today.

Treating the college president as a minor potentate is dangerous, but the illusion is pervasive and often carefully cultivated starting with the search process that treats finding the president as something akin to the Holy Grail. Then comes the contract negotiations with much attention to lavish perks --- houses, drivers, chefs, club memberships, the list goes on. But it doesn't stop there. The presidential inauguration, a grand medieval festival with presidential medallions and colorful costumes and even a mace, helps to ensure that the president's ego is sufficiently inflated to carry him or her through the challenging months and years to come.

Sensible people becoming college presidents can stay grounded even with all of that hoopla (and some of us chose to skip the hoopla years ago), but along come other, more insidious influences that can easily corrupt a once-thoughtful leader. A university is a place that does play by different rules, whose culture is heavily weighted in favor of individual autonomy and the careful cultivation of minor fiefdoms with their own rules and languages and customs, such as the athletics programs.

There's a somewhat small corporate culture in the university that the governing board is more likely to see, and against which the faculty may rail from time to time. But the more dominant culture is one of often fiercely-protected departments acting like private clubs and related interest groups. I've come to call this the "kiosks at the airport" syndrome in which many university departments act as quasi-independent entities, rejecting any notion of a more common university-wide interest other than finding convenient parking. Not only faculty, but even mid-level managers dismiss any effort at senior management oversight as the dreaded "micromanagement," which seems to be one of the worst offenses in the litany of executive sins.

The last thing a president wants to be accused of is micromanagement. Heavens! What could be worse?

Child abuse. Covering-up child abuse. Protecting the people who commit and cover-up child abuse.

When the Sandusky case first broke open in November 2011, it appeared that Spanier's worst offense was aloofness, a willful disengagement from the details. Good presidents, as some academic management theory would have it, don't need to know what goes on in the locker room. We have people for that.

If the evidence in the grand jury presentment is accurate, however, President Spanier allegedly did engage in selective micromanagement. He allegedly knew what was going on in the locker room, and he very personally and specifically approved the plan to cover it up.

All of this is in the grand jury presentment. In February 2001, Athletic Director Tim Curley wrote an email to Vice President Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier in which he retreated from reporting Sandusky's possible rape of a child to the Department of Welfare "after talking it over with Joe [Paterno] yesterday..." Instead, he wanted to talk directly to Sandusky. Spanier writes that Curley's approach is "acceptable" and "humane." His message does indicate awareness of potential future trouble: "The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road."

Spanier now has a lot of time to assess how he could have been so wrong. He did not have the courage to stand up to Joe Paterno, that's clear, nor to his own deputies. He agreed to a "humane" solution for Jerry Sandusky but made no inquiry into justice for the children who were Sandusky's victims. Had he used a modicum of his considerable power to overrule Curley and direct him to call the police immediately, he could have saved countless other victims, the shame and damage to Penn State, and the tragedy of his own shattered end as a president.

College presidents need to have the guts to hold everyone on campus accountable, at minimum, for the highest ethical conduct and obeying the law, and to make it clear to all managers that holding people accountable is not micromanagement -- or if it is, so what?

University presidents cannot be afraid to exercise their considerable authority to insist that every department, including athletics, must follow the same rules when it comes to upholding and respecting human dignity -- whether the protection of children or the campus climate for women or hazing or fraternities that still think blackface is funny.

The real soul of a university resides in its ethical reverence for human life and dignity in all university endeavors. We have rules to protect human subject research, academic freedom and free expression, faculty on their way to promotion and tenure, students accused of misconduct, staff needing medical leave, people expecting freedom from harassment and abuse of all kinds. These rules bespeak our values, manifesting our idealistic goal to shape the best possible human community on our campus.

A president has many responsibilities but none so important as the stewardship of the climate for ethics and respect for human dignity without which the university loses its soul, becoming a mere shell for self-interested transactions among various interest groups.

The scandal at Penn State is a shadow across the soul of the university, a bitter reminder that the president who fails to confront corruption will ultimately fail completely, taking down countless other people as he crashes into thousands of shards and clouds of dust.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Down and Under Priest reveals system of child sexual abuse and cover-up

A former priest in Australia has come forward with information about a "system of cover-ups" within the Catholic Church to hide the sexual abuse of children.

Former priest Kevin Lee appeared on the Australian news program Lateline on Friday, November 9. On the program, Lee said he “saw a system of cover-ups, a system of blind-eye turning and just ignorance of the fact that it (the sexual abuse of children) was happening.”

Lee said: “"I became aware that some of the other priests were actually paedophiles and were not necessarily becoming priests because they wanted to help people, but because they were paedophiles who wanted the opportunity."

On Thursday, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox told Lateline that the Catholic Church in Australia is involved in cover-ups and pedophile priests have destroyed evidence to avoid prosecution. Fox claims that his investigations into the sexual abuse of children by clergy had been hampered by interference from within the police force and by the Catholic Church.

In response to the recent allegations concerning the rape and sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, and the cover-up of those crimes, on Saturday, November 10, New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell ordered a special commission of inquiry into claims of a police cover-up of church sex abuse.


Australia to launch national investigation of child sex abuse - More Catholic Priests Down & Under!

Australia is launching a federal investigation into sexual abuse of children, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced Monday. The decision came after a string of accusations surrounding the Roman Catholic Church outraged Australians and spurred regional inquiries.

The royal commission will center on institutional responses to allegations of such “insidious, evil acts,” Gillard said, scrutinizing religious and government institutions, schools and other organizations.

“I believe we must do everything we can to make sure that what has happened in the past is never allowed to happen again,” the prime minister said.

Government officials had faced growing pressure to take action after a veteran police detective in the state of New South Wales wrote a public letter accusing the church of covering up abuse, silencing victims and thwarting police investigations.

“Many police are frustrated by this sinister behavior, which will continue until someone stops it. You have the power to do that, Mr. Premier,” Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox wrote in his open letter to the leader of New South Wales. “The whole system needs to be exposed; the clergy covering up these crimes must to be brought to justice and the network protecting pedophile priests dismantled.”

Responding to his plea, New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell earlier announced a special commission to delve into the issue, but only in the Newcastle area. Similar allegations are also being investigated in neighboring Victoria state, where the church recently revealed at least 620 children had been abused by clergy since the 1930s.

Fox argued local investigations weren’t enough because alleged abusers were often moved. Gillard showed “intestinal fortitude” by deciding to investigate nationally, he told the Australian newspaper.

"For a prime minister to come out and say, 'We believe you, there is something very wrong out there, we are going to sit up and listen,' it's just amazing," he said.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said it welcomed the investigation and was horrified by such crimes but said “talk of a systemic problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is ill-founded and inconsistent with the facts.” Major changes have been made since “failures” decades earlier, it said.

"Public opinion remains unconvinced that the Catholic Church has dealt adequately with sexual abuse. Ongoing and at times one-sided media coverage has deepened this uncertainty. … I believe the air should be cleared and the truth uncovered,” Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell said in a statement released Monday.

Gillard said more details of the royal commission would be determined in the following weeks.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why Your Child Must Be Believed - And The Adult Must Be Suspect

Complaint Ignored for Decades Is Heard at Last in BBC Abuse

At least six former students have told the British news media that Mr. Savile assaulted them in places that included his Rolls-Royce and the school’s dormitories, and in London on school-approved “treats.”If he gets the chance, he’ll touch you up. He’ll put his hand up your skirt, his hand up your shirt, he’ll pinch your bum, he’ll stick his tongue down your throat.’ ” Finally, the day before ITV, a British television network, broadcast the documentary that exposed the allegations against Mr. Savile, The Sun went ahead with an article about Ms. Cogger. But she is still haunted by what happened, and by the years of having to bear it alone. “They pimped us out,” she said of the teachers at Duncroft. “He was a big, powerful man with a big voice, and we had no voices.”

LONDON — No one listened to Deborah Cogger’s story. Not her teachers, who dismissed it as no big deal. Not her social worker, who accused her of making it up. Not the newspapers she called decades later, which said it was too explosive to publish. Deborah Cogger was a teenager in reform school where, she says, Jimmy Savile molested her and others.

It was not until this fall, nearly 40 years after she left a reform school in Surrey, England, that Ms. Cogger finally got anyone to believe her account of how she and other girls there were routinely molested by one of Britain’s most powerful celebrities, the eccentric, cigar-chomping television host Jimmy Savile.

“If you moaned about it, you were told not to say those awful things about Jimmy — ‘Oh, that’s just Jimmy, that’s his way; he loves you girls,’ ” said Ms. Cogger, 52. If you said he had touched your breasts, she added, “they’d say, ‘Don’t be wicked, he would never do that.’ ”

The revelation last month that Mr. Savile, who died last year, was most likely a child sex abuser with perhaps hundreds of victims has profoundly shocked a country that now acknowledges that all the signs were there, if anyone had cared to see them.

The disclosures have spurred a broad criminal inquiry involving numerous police departments and caused institutions, including schools, hospitals and the BBC, to investigate their ties to Mr. Savile. The disclosures have also provoked a crisis of management and responsibility inside the BBC and forced Prime Minister David Cameron to order two new inquiries into the handling of a sexual abuse scandal in Wales several years ago.

Hundreds of people have reported their own experiences to abuse hot lines. In addition, profound senses of discomfort and guilt were felt among those who knew, hired, admired, watched, welcomed, solicited charity from or cheerfully put young people in the path of Mr. Savile. And on Saturday, the chief executive of the BBC, George Entwistle, became the latest casualty, resigning after an uproar over a BBC program on the Wales scandal that wrongly implicated a former Conservative Party politician.

The disclosures have also highlighted how much Britain’s attitude toward sexual abuse has changed since Mr. Savile’s heyday, in the 1970s and ’80s, a time when it was not uncommon for women to be groped and harassed at work, and when show business celebrities openly leered at, if not preyed on, the teenage girls who idolized them.

“There was a massive cultural difference then,” said Donald Findlater, director of Stop It Now, which works to prevent child sex abuse. “We hadn’t really properly discovered child abuse yet.”

But, along with increasingly strict legislation, attitudes have swung drastically in the other direction — to a fault, some believe. In Britain, police background checks are now required of anyone working with children, including parents who volunteer in schools. Teachers are advised not to be alone with students and to be wary of touching them.

Some playgrounds refuse admission to adults without children. Some schools forbid parents to photograph sports events or plays, lest the pictures end up in the wrong places. In 2000, a tabloid antipedophile campaign led to vigilante attacks in which, at one point, a crowd confused the words pedophile and pediatrician and vandalized the home of an innocent doctor.

Given the current climate, it is hard to believe that Mr. Savile could have gotten away with so much for so long, even in a society burdened by collective, willful blindness. But the account of Ms. Cogger shows how for victims, the abuse was compounded by the realization that anyone who complained would be ignored, scoffed at or punished.

Ms. Cogger is not the only one from the reform school, the Duncroft Approved School for Girls, to have come forward with a tale of what Mr. Savile did and how he got away with it. At least six former students have told the British news media that Mr. Savile assaulted them in places that included his Rolls-Royce and the school’s dormitories, and in London on school-approved “treats.”

“Jimmy treated Duncroft like a pedophile sweet shop,” one former student, Toni Townsend, told The Daily Mirror.

In 2007, the Surrey police investigated Mr. Savile’s conduct at Duncroft, even detaining and questioning him. But he was never charged.

Duncroft, which closed in the 1980s — it is now a luxury apartment complex — was a privately run boarding school, operating under state control, for academically promising but unruly girls. Ms. Cogger was sent there in 1974, when she was 14.

Her childhood was chaotic. When she was 12, she explained in several telephone interviews, she overheard a shocking family secret: the woman she thought was her mother was actually her aunt. Ms. Cogger’s real mother, one of 13 children at home, had given birth at 15 and relinquished the baby to her older sister.

The disclosure sent her into a dark period. “I just kept running away,” Ms. Cogger said. “They put me in Duncroft because no one wanted me.....”


Friday, November 09, 2012


The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted. As I write, with almost all the votes counted, President Obama has won fewer votes than John McCain won in 2008, and more than ten million off his own 2008 total.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate. The notion of the “Reagan Democrat” is one cliché that should be permanently retired.

Ronald Reagan himself could not win an election in today’s America.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff. Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote; so too those who anticipate “free” health care, who expect the government to pay their mortgages, who look for the government to give them jobs. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

Imagine two restaurants side by side. One sells its customers fine cuisine at a reasonable price, and the other offers a free buffet, all-you-can-eat as long as supplies last. Few – including me – could resist the attraction of the free food. Now imagine that the second restaurant stays in business because the first restaurant is forced to provide it with the food for the free buffet, and we have the current economy, until, at least, the first restaurant decides to go out of business. (Then, the government takes over the provision of free food to its patrons.)

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation (by the amoral Obama team) of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47% of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money – “free stuff” – from the government. Almost half of the population has no skin in the game – they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese. They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.

It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is dumb – ignorant, and uninformed. Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters – the clear majority – are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism. That is the indelicate way of saying that too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich. Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending. Obama could get away with it because he knew he was talking to dunces waving signs and squealing at any sight of him.

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!” Stevenson called back: “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!” Truer words were never spoken.

Similarly, Obama (or his surrogates) could hint to blacks that a Romney victory would lead them back into chains and proclaim to women that their abortions and birth control would be taken away. He could appeal to Hispanics that Romney would have them all arrested and shipped to Mexico (even if they came from Cuba or Honduras), and unabashedly state that he will not enforce the current immigration laws. He could espouse the furtherance of the incestuous relationship between governments and unions – in which politicians ply the unions with public money, in exchange for which the unions provide the politicians with votes, in exchange for which the politicians provide more money and the unions provide more votes, etc., even though the money is gone. He could do and say all these things because he knew his voters were dolts.

One might reasonably object that not every Obama supporter could be unintelligent. But they must then rationally explain how the Obama agenda can be paid for, aside from racking up multi-trillion dollar deficits. “Taxing the rich” does not yield even 10% of what is required – so what is the answer, i.e., an intelligent answer?

Obama also knows that the electorate has changed – that whites will soon be a minority in America (they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America. Obama is part of that different America, knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won.

Obama also proved again that negative advertising works, invective sells, and harsh personal attacks succeed. That Romney never engaged in such diatribes points to his essential goodness as a person; his “negative ads” were simple facts, never personal abuse – facts about high unemployment, lower take-home pay, a loss of American power and prestige abroad, a lack of leadership, etc. As a politician, though, Romney failed because he did not embrace the devil’s bargain of making unsustainable promises, and by talking as the adult and not the adolescent. Obama has spent the last six years campaigning; even his governance has been focused on payoffs to his favored interest groups. The permanent campaign also won again, to the detriment of American life.

It turned out that it was not possible for Romney and Ryan – people of substance, depth and ideas – to compete with the shallow populism and platitudes of their opponents. Obama mastered the politics of envy – of class warfare – never reaching out to Americans as such but to individual groups, and cobbling together a winning majority from these minority groups. Conservative ideas failed to take root and states that seemed winnable, and amenable to traditional American values, have simply disappeared from the map. If an Obama could not be defeated – with his record and his vision of America, in which free stuff seduces voters – it is hard to envision any change in the future. The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy – those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe – is paved.

A second cliché that should be retired is that America is a center-right country. It clearly is not. It is a divided country with peculiar voting patterns, and an appetite for free stuff. Studies will invariably show that Republicans in Congress received more total votes than Democrats in Congress, but that means little. The House of Representatives is not truly representative of the country. That people would vote for a Republican Congressmen or Senator and then Obama for President would tend to reinforce point two above: the empty-headedness of the electorate. Americans revile Congress but love their individual Congressmen. Go figure.

The mass media’s complicity in Obama’s re-election cannot be denied. One example suffices. In 2004, CBS News forged a letter in order to imply that President Bush did not fulfill his Air National Guard service during the Vietnam War, all to impugn Bush and impair his re-election prospects. In 2012, President Obama insisted – famously – during the second debate that he had stated all along that the Arab attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was “terror” (a lie that Romney fumbled and failed to exploit). Yet, CBS News sat on a tape of an interview with Obama in which Obama specifically avoided and rejected the claim of terrorism – on the day after the attack – clinging to the canard about the video. (This snippet of a “60 Minutes” interview was not revealed - until two days ago!) In effect, CBS News fabricated evidence in order to harm a Republican president, and suppressed evidence in order to help a Democratic president. Simply shameful, as was the media’s disregard of any scandal or story that could have jeopardized the Obama re-election.

One of the more irritating aspects of this campaign was its limited focus, odd in light of the billions of dollars spent. Only a few states were contested, a strategy that Romney adopted, and that clearly failed. The Democrat begins any race with a substantial advantage. The liberal states – like the bankrupt California and Illinois – and other states with large concentrations of minority voters as well as an extensive welfare apparatus, like New York, New Jersey and others – give any Democratic candidate an almost insurmountable edge in electoral votes. In New Jersey, for example, it literally does not pay for a conservative to vote. It is not worth the fuel expended driving to the polls. As some economists have pointed out generally, and it resonates here even more, the odds are greater that a voter will be killed in a traffic accident on his way to the polls than that his vote will make a difference in the election. It is an irrational act. That most states are uncompetitive means that people are not amenable to new ideas, or new thinking, or even having an open mind. If that does not change, and it is hard to see how it can change, then the die is cast. America is not what it was, and will never be again.

For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah. Almost 70% voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel. They voted to secure Obama’s future at America’s expense and at Israel’s expense – in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin. A dangerous time is ahead. Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the US will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative. That Obama’s top aide Valerie Jarrett (i.e., Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett) spent last week in Teheran is not a good sign. The US will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon – and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality. As Obama has committed himself to abolishing America’s nuclear arsenal, it is more likely that that unfortunate circumstance will occur than that he will succeed in obstructing Iran’s plans.

Obama’s victory could weaken Netanyahu’s re-election prospects, because Israelis live with an unreasonable – and somewhat pathetic – fear of American opinion and realize that Obama despises Netanyahu. A Likud defeat – or a diminution of its margin of victory – is more probable now than yesterday. That would not be the worst thing. Netanyahu, in fact, has never distinguished himself by having a strong political or moral backbone, and would be the first to cave to the American pressure to surrender more territory to the enemy and acquiesce to a second (or third, if you count Jordan) Palestinian state. A new US Secretary of State named John Kerry, for example (he of the Jewish father) would not augur well. Netanyahu remains the best of markedly poor alternatives. Thus, the likeliest outcome of the upcoming Israeli elections is a center-left government that will force itself to make more concessions and weaken Israel – an Oslo III.

But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there is an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The most powerful empires in history all crumbled – from the Greeks and the Romans to the British and the Soviets. None of the collapses were easily foreseen, and yet they were predictable in retrospect.

The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline. Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess. It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations. The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come. Across the world, America under Bush was feared but not respected. Under Obama, America is neither feared nor respected. Radical Islam has had a banner four years under Obama, and its prospects for future growth look excellent. The “Occupy” riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead – years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution.

Two bright sides: Notwithstanding the election results, I arose this morning, went to shul, davened and learned Torah afterwards. That is our reality, and that trumps all other events. Our relationship with G-d matters more than our relationship with any politician, R or D. And, notwithstanding the problems in Israel, it is time for Jews to go home, to Israel. We have about a decade, perhaps 15 years, to leave with dignity and without stress. Thinking that it will always be because it always was has been a repetitive and deadly Jewish mistake. America was always the land from which “positive” aliya came – Jews leaving on their own, and not fleeing a dire situation. But that can also change. The increased aliya in the last few years is partly attributable to young people fleeing the high cost of Jewish living in America. Those costs will only increase in the coming years. We should draw the appropriate conclusions.

If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back.


"....Making Sure The Police Are Involved In These Investigations..."

Cameron orders two more inquiries into alleged north Wales sex abuse ring --- PM to establish urgent probe into conduct of Waterhouse inquiry as senior Tories are accused of being part of paedophile ring

The Guardian, Monday 5 November 2012 15.24 EST

David Cameron orders an investigation into child abuse allegations linked to a senior Thatcher-era Conservative Link to this video David Cameron battled to stay ahead of the swirl of allegations about child sex abuse in the UK, including the potential involvement of a close ally of Lady Thatcher, by announcing two further urgent inquiries into an alleged paedophile ring in north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.

Faced by claims that senior Conservative politicians and other establishment figures may have been involved in the scandal – and a subsequent cover-up – Cameron announced he would establish an urgent investigation by a senior independent figure into the conduct of the official Waterhouse inquiry into the child sex abuse ring, which was held between 1996 and 2000.

The prime minister is on an official visit to the Middle East. His spokesman in London said a separate inquiry was also expected to be held into the way the North Wales police had handled complaints at the time. That inquiry is likely to be conducted by the National Crime Agency.

Up to five different inquiries are now under way, or imminent, looking into various aspects of child abuse. But ministers feel they must be seen to be taking the allegations seriously, especially since the government has condemned the BBC for failing to be alert to allegations of child abuse by Jimmy Savile.

There is also a concern in government circles that victims' allegations about abuse were not taken seriously in the past, and that there must be a clear signal from the top of government that any culture of complacency is changing.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Cameron said: "Child abuse is an absolutely hateful and abhorrent crime … These allegations are truly dreadful and they mustn't be left hanging in the air, so I'm taking action today.

"I'm going to be asking a senior independent figure to lead an urgent investigation into whether the original inquiry was properly constituted and properly did its job and to report urgently to the government."

Cameron also called on anyone who knows anything about the allegations of abuse to contact the police.

Cameron and the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, rushed to act as the media threatened to identify the senior Tory figure close to Lady Thatcher alleged to have been involved in the child abuse.

The government said they were acting largely due to the allegations made by the BBC Newsnight programme on Friday night, and not due to the campaign launched by the Labour MP Tom Watson.

Nevertheless Watson also urged the government to act after one of the alleged victims, Steve Messham, said that the Waterhouse inquiry of 2000 had only covered a fraction of the assaults.

Messham will meet the Welsh secretary, David Jones, on Tuesday.

On Newsnight, Messham said he had been abused by the senior Tory and said the claims had been "swept under the carpet". According to reports at the weekend, as many as three victims have named the Tory grandee as one of their abusers. Newsnight said at least one other victim of abuse in the homes said he was abused by the politician.

In an extraordinary letter to the prime minister, Watson praised Cameron for acting swiftly, but then made a series of further allegations about the extent of the cover-up in other police forces.

"It is certainly important that government departments trawl their archives to see what documents they hold," said Watson. "But my experience of uncovering massive establishment conspiracies leaves me in no doubt that what you have suggested does not go anything like far enough. Its limited scope may even slow things down, muddy waters, damage trails. What is needed is a much wider, but equally immediate, investigation."

He adds: "Since sharing my concerns with you at PMQs, a number of people have come forward to say that they raised their suspicions with the police, but investigations were not carried out. One allegation involves alleged child abuse and a former cabinet minister. We both know that many untruths are told about politicians, but this allegation was specific, informed and appeared well corroborated."

The prime minister's official spokesman insisted Cameron was "very keen to ensure that everything is looked at properly and thoroughly and that no stone is left unturned".

Another alleged victim, Keith Gregory, claimed names of abusers were excised from the inquiry report, apart from individuals in the care homes, and that the culprits included "MPs, solicitors, factory directors, shopkeepers, senior police officers. The list goes on".

The Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones, said: "The Welsh government takes these allegations very seriously but could I ask that in the first instance victims of abuse who feel the abuse they suffered was not investigated properly should report their cases to the police. My officials have been in touch with North Wales police regarding these matters."

Jones said the Waterhouse inquiry had been "extensive" and many of its recommendations for improving child protection were implemented by the Welsh government.

But he added: "I have asked for urgent advice on the terms of reference of the Waterhouse inquiry. I want to fully understand what was included and what was not. That will enable me to consider whether any further inquiry will be necessary."

Jones said he would meet with the children's commissioner – a role set up following the inquiry – so he could "hear his thoughts directly".


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

America goes into the darkness

The greatest satisfaction today over the re-election of Obama is not being felt in the Democratic Party. It is not being felt among the media, who are no longer objective observers but have turned instead into corrupt partisans who ruthlessly censored the truth about Obama and helped peddle his demonising propaganda about his opponent. It is not being felt among the gloating, drooling decadents of the western left who now scent a great blood-letting of all who dare defy their secular inquisition. No, the greatest satisfaction is surely being felt in Iran.

With four more years of Obama in the White House, Iran can now be sure that it will be able to complete its infernal construction of a genocide bomb to use against the Jews and the west. World War Three has now come a lot closer.

It is said that, with likely gridlock in Congress over domestic issues, Obama will concentrate on foreign policy. We should all shudder. So far, Obama has empowered Iran to destabilise the region; supported Islamist takeovers in Egypt and Libya; is backing al Qaeda affiliates in Syria; refused to come to the aid of Americans being attacked by al Qaeda in Benghazi as a result of which four American officials were murdered; and hung Israel out to dry against its genocidal Palestinian attackers.

A report last month that Obama was secretly negotiating with the Iranian regime took on an even more incendiary aspect a few days ago with a claim that these negotiations were being led by his close friend and adviser, Valerie Jarrett.

If Jarrett was indeed involved, that should strike a deep chill into anyone who has not joined the lemming-like leap over the edge of the western cliff. For Iranian-born Jarrett – who Obama has admitted he consults before he takes any decision and who has been said to act as his ‘spine’ -- is a far-leftist with roots deep in the corrupt Chicago Democratic machine. Indeed, Jarrett has been credited with originally smoothing Obama’s entry into Chicago’s political elite, and is now said to be – despite her background of incompetence and corruption -- the most influential person in his circle.

There have also been claims that she advised Obama against killing Osama bin Laden, which although unsubstantiated are all too credible. If this wholly ill-equipped and sinister individual really has been leading secret negotiations with Iran – raising the fear that far from preventing Iranian nuclear terrorism Obama intends to allow the regime a face saving compromise under cover of which it will finish building its nuclear weapon – then Obama’s perfidy against the west really is as bad as some of us feared from the start.

Four years ago, America put into the White House a sulky narcissist with an unbroken history of involvement in thuggish, corrupt, far-left, black power, Jew-bashing, west-hating politics. Obama’s agenda has been crystal clear from the get-go: to increase the power of the state over the citizen at home, and to neutralise American power abroad. Four more years of this and he’ll almost certainly have succeeded. The impact upon western security could be cataclysmic.

Britain and the Europeans love Obama because they think he will end American exceptionalism and turn the US into a pale shadow of themselves. What they don’t realise is that, all but lobotomised by consumerist rights, state dependency, victim culture, sentimentality, post-religion, post-nationalism and post-Holocaust and Empire guilt, Britain and Europe are themselves fast going down the civilisational tubes.

Romney lost because he refused to provide an alternative to any of this for fear of being labelled a warmonger, flint-heart or social reactionary. He refused to engage with any of the issues that made this Presidential election so truly momentous. Up against the bullying of the totalitarian left, he ran for cover. He played safe, and as a result only advertised his own weakness and dishonesty. Well, voters can smell inconsistency from a mile away; they call it untrustworthiness, and they are right.

Romney lost because, like Britain’s Conservative Party, the Republicans just don’t understand that America and the west are being consumed by a culture war. In their cowardice and moral confusion, they all attempt to appease the enemies within. And from without, the Islamic enemies of civilisation stand poised to occupy the void.

With the re-election of Obama, America now threatens to lead the west into a terrifying darkness.