For anyone who may have wondered whether Ohel Children's Home and Family Services might really be in the business of helping our community, read the Jewish Week article by Hella Winston on the shameful case of Stefan Colmer ("A Suspected Pedophile Eludes the System" - thejewishweek.com) to get a taste of the truth.
Read there how Colmer was treated in Ohel's offenders' program long before he allegedly abused kids from in and around the Mir Yeshiva.
Read how he pulled out of the program on his own -- my sources say because he was getting married and didn't want his wife to know the truth -- and went about his "business." And read how when Colmer did this, Ohel did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Ohel didn't monitor his actions.
Ohel didn't ask where he was spending his time.
Ohel didn't take any steps to ensure he wasn't around children.
Ohel didn't warn anyone at the Mir, or anywhere else, that it might be a problem to have Colmer inviting young boys, alone, to his home.
And Ohel didn't contact the REAL authorities.
This is the first time we've ever got to see the inside of that shadowy "offenders' program" Ohel ran for years, supposedly in close cooperation with the Brooklyn D.A. This is our first sample of the way the system worked. And how did it work?
According to the indictment, Colmer sexually abused AT LEAST TWO OTHER YOUNG BOYS ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS AFTER OHEL CUT HIM LOOSE! -- that's how! WHILE OHEL SAT ON ITS HANDS AND STAYED SILENT. Actually, my sources say there were plenty of other boys, too. Unfortunately, they were talked out of coming forward to police.(Surprise!)
So here's what happened:
Ohel knew it had an offender. It let the offender walk away with no police report. And did nothing -- NOTHING! Not an act, not a word, not a hint! And now, according to the D.A.'s indictment, innocent lives have been shattered because of that inaction. Do you believe, after this, that the holy alliance of Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes and Ohel -- the same pair that gave us the Colmer case -- is going to protect our children as part of Kol Tzedek? And this, my friends, is just the beginning.
Michael Lesher (who is quoted in the new article) played a major role in bringing Colmer to justice. But Michael has a lot more to say about Hynes, Ohel and Ohel's rabbi, Dovid Cohen. The Colmer case doesn't stand alone! You can (and should) read all about it in Michael's two chapters in a new book, Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities & Child Sex Scandals (Brandeis University Press, 2009), edited by Amy Neustein. (The book is just out and can be bought or ordered from Barnes & Noble.) You can read there about other cases that "eluded the system." Or rather, exemplified the "system." Because the truth is, these people are not about solving the problem........ They're about covering it up!