Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baltimore Examinder on Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro

Jewish Times: Rabbi was molester
The Baltimore Examiner
Apr 17, 2007
Luke Broadwater

Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, who died in 1989, is accused of molesting hundreds of people but was never charged with a crime. (TheAwarenessCenter.org)
Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, who died in 1989, is accused of molesting hundreds of people but was never charged with a crime.

Map, News) - Baltimore Jewish Times Editor Neil Rubin knew his paper’s Friday article detailing sexual abuse allegations against a deceased rabbi would be controversial. But running the article, he says, was the right thing to do.

In the April 13 article “Rabbi’s Abuse Victims Suffer Years Later,” investigative editor Phil Jacobs recounted the stories of three people who say they were abused by Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, the former principal of Talmudical Academy. Shapiro died in 1989.

According to some estimates, Shapiro molested hundreds, the article states.

“He was never charged with anything,” Rubin says of Shapiro. “To the best of our knowledge, he was never publicly accused of anything before this. We talked to many people on the record, many people who were not in the story. Many people knew about this. It was one of those unspoken things in the community.”

Since the article ran, the Jewish Times has received some backlash, Rubin said.

“We can’t say definitively whether they’re true or not true,” Rubin says of the allegations. “We anguished over it. I had relatives who grew up under this guy’s tutelage. My mother said to me, ‘You broke my heart. I understand why you did it, but you broke my heart.’ ”

Jacobs first started reporting the article some seven years ago, but ramped up efforts within the past nine months, Rubin said.

“Meeting with family members, Phil felt very strongly that one of things that’s not written about is the impact on the victims,” Rubin said. “And he’s given them a voice.”

The Jewish Times included in its story a rebuttal to expected criticism, under the headline: “Rabbi Shapiro Is Deceased. Why Print This?”

“There are estimates of hundreds of molestation victims who weren’t able to ‘defend’ themselves while the rabbi was alive,” the Jewish Times wrote. “There are young men whose lives were changed forever because of his acts. Some of these men are more figuratively ‘dead’ than Rabbi Shapiro will ever be.”

Rubin said he knew the story would upset some people.

“We have some very angry people now,” he said. “We have some people who are quietly saying, ‘Way to go, me too.’ People were coming up to me and asking me about this story. People are saying, ‘How dare you.’ Nobody’s saying it’s wrong. ”

Despite the criticism, Rubin says his paper is undeterred.

“We’re going to be doing follow-ups,” he said.

“This was not a hit-and-run. We’re having the conversation that we need to have,” Rubin said.


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