Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Looking For Survivors of Yisroel Shapiro, Baltimore, MD

The Case of Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro

Background History from The Awareness Center:

May 28, 2003 -- The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) maintains that reporting acts or suspicions of child abuse is not mesirah and commits itself and its members to reporting acts or suspicions of child abuse as required by civil law. Unfortunately the rabbis of Baltimore have never adopted these policies.

One of the many traditions in the orthodox community of Baltimore is not to report sex crimes to law enforcement or Child Protective Services (CPS). The reason was for fear that doing so would start another pogrom (persecution of the Jewish people).

Instead the custom has been for rabbis to handle things quietly and discreetly. It's also not uncommon for signs to be posted by concerned community members warning others of the dangers the alleged sex offender poses to children.

This is exactly what happened a few years ago. Allegations were made that Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro had molested children. The pious rabbis of Baltimore decided they could handle the "situation" on their own. A decision was reached. The rabbis at the bet din of Baltimore believed Yisroel was guilty. The agreement was that Yisroel Shapiro would have a career where he no longer had contact with children.

Israel Shapiro is married and had children living in his home. Child Protection Services (CPS) was never notified, nor was a police report made, making it virtually impossible for there to be an official investigation, possible arrest and or trial. Without the proper law enforcement officials being notifide, it makes it impossible for Yisroel Shapiro ever being listed on the national sex offender registry.

As a reaction, a small group of concerned citizens created flyer's and posted signs in the community in hopes of preventing another child from being molested, yet not much has happened since then.

One of the issues that we all need to be aware of is the fact that Yisroel Shapiro's father was a prominent orthodox rabbi in Baltimore. Besides being a synagogue rabbi, his father was the principal of a the Talmudic Academy of Baltimore. His father was connected to may other prominent orthodox rabbis in Baltimore and worldwide. Recently one of Baltimore's deep dark secrets was made public. Yisroel Shapiro's father, also had a problem with his "urges". Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro had been allegedly molesting boys for over fifty years. One survivor stated he was sure that Ephraim Shapiro molested hundreds if not thousands of bar mitzvah age boys.

The way the ultra-orthodox rabbis of Baltimore operate is very similar to the way the Catholic church deals with allegations of clergy sexual abuse. It appears the rabbis do what they can to silence the victims. It also seems as if they rabbis are more concerned with protecting their own personal images and assets, then they are in keeping the Jewish children of Baltimore safe.

Can you imagine the PR nightmare the rabbis of Baltimore were faced with? How would they do damage control?

Many survivors of Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro have stated that they were sure the rabbis of Baltimore were very aware of that he was an "alleged" child molester. A few years ago the rabbis were faced with the fact that the son of this prominent rabbi, was also allegedly molesting children. Instead of doing the right thing and notifing the police and child protective services, they chose to handle the matter on their own.

Keep in mind that Yisroel Shapiro's brothers also hold very prominent positions in Baltimore and around the country. The tradition has always been to protect family members of sex offenders over protecting family members of sexually abused children. As a community we need to understand that family members of both offenders and those who have been sexually violated need support. They are not responsible for the actions of the offender, except if they willingly cover up these crimes -- which could lead to more children being abused. The problem is that all parties involved need counseling. Sex offenders need to be held accountable for their crimes and can receive treatment in prison and often will need residential treatment after they are released. Survivors of sex crimes need both rape victim advocacy and counseling.

It's unknown at this time if the children who were allegedly victimized by Yisroel Shapiro ever received rape crisis counseling. It is also unknown if Yisroel Shapiro ever received sex offender treatment by a qualified mental health provider.

There is no statute of limitations on crimes against children. It's not to late to file a police report and have him investigation. If you or someone you know was victimized by Yisroel Shapiro please contact your local rape crisis center. They are there to protect your rights and can help you make a police report. Rape crisis center's offer free rape counseling and legal advocacy.

One of the local rape crisis center's near the Jewish community in Baltimore is:

STTAR Center

(Sexual Trauma Treatment, Advocacy and Recovery Center)

Main Number: 410-290-6432

24-hour Hot-line: 866-723-3003

Failure to protect the vulnerable is a violation of the following verse:
  • Thou shalt notstand idly by the blood of your neighbor (Lev. 19:16) -- "Whoever desecrates the name of Heaven in private will ultimately be punished in public, whether the desecration was committed unintentionally or intentionally."
Any conspiracy to conceal information about sex crimes will ultimately be made public, creating an even greater hillul Hashem.

Despite historic debates and arguments, the consensus of contemporary Jewish religious authorities is that such reporting is religiously mandatory.
-- Rabbi Mark Dratch.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the younger Shapiro still a shul rabbi? I read somewhere that he may a full time or moonlighting butcher. Where is his butcher shop?

April 07, 2007 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this Shapiro related to the R' Shapiro who is/or was, the assistant pricipal at Beis Yaakov High School?

April 08, 2007 4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are brothers.

What is important to remember is that there have never been any allegations made against rabbi Shapiro of Bais Yaakov High School or any of the other Shapiro children.

April 08, 2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yisroel Shapiro works as a butcher full time. Does anyone know where? Also where does Yisroel daven? Does he have access to children at his shul?

April 08, 2007 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recognize this picture; was it posted in the basement of the Agudah (near the NWCP information)?

April 11, 2007 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Rabbi Dratch Fan said...

Geez Louise!
Does it ever end?!
Look, without knowing the specifics, if the guy was accused of some kind of impropriety YEARS AGO, and decided (with or without the rabbis) that it would be best to get out of the rabbinate or education and go manage (or become partners) in a butcher shop where he had no day to day contact with kids-then WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT?
He removed himself and you zealots have absolutely no idea if he sought counseling or how he handled the situation, assuming it even existed beyond the suspicions.
The rabbis found him guilty? Or did they say that it would be better if he found other work?

Since he is not a convicted sex offender, his address, occupation, whether he sought counseling etc. are not matters of public record nor should they be.

I would very much like to hear Rabbi Dratch's take on this particular situation concerning Yisroel Shapiro. You use his name to justify "outing" people, but I have yet to hear whether he agrees with the use of his name in these type of cases.
He is a man of integrity, with the best intentions and a mission to protect that is genuine.

April 11, 2007 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Geez Louise,
Guess you need some "clue-aid". A crime was committed. This dude has been molesting kids for over 15 years. The rabbis of Baltimore have been covering up for him for years. The motto of the Vadd of Baltimore has been "Who gives a f_ _ _ about the victims". Who gives a shit if this dude f_ _ _'s more kids.

I just was on The Awareness Center's web page and they have the a poster on it that was passed around the community a few years ago. This is one of the many cases that needs to have law enforcement involved.

April 11, 2007 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Rabbi Dratch Fan said...

So, why then hasn't someone called the police and Child Welfare Services?
Just pick up the phone and do it.
You can even do it anonymously!
Of course there has to be something there to report, not just allegations and suspicions.

I'm not advocating for or against this guy, but if it's true and he has been molesting actively for so many years (and not just a suspicion in 2004 that may have resulted in his leaving education for butcher shop managing), then why are you sitting on your behind and not calling the authorities?

I read TAC's articles on this "case".

It doesn't take much to make a "case" either.

What if someone said that the Executive Director of TAC molested them in a women's room at Costco?

Would TAC post that?

In any case, I want to hear Rabbi Dratch's take on this case.

April 11, 2007 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous #5:

I agree with Rabbi Dratch fan/geez louise. If these alleged events took place many years ago, perhaps he realized his mistakes, apologized to his victims and realized he had to work somewhere where he did not have access to kids, as part of his personal teshuvah?

Second, you say that "This dude has been molesting kids for over 15 years." How do you know this or the number of victims?

April 11, 2007 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Fan of Rabbi Dratch Too said...

I think that there is more information then what's on The Awareness Center's page. I think if I was a parent of a child who was molested I would contact The Awareness Center for advice or the STTAR center who The Awareness Center suggested.

April 11, 2007 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yisroel Shapiro used to teach at Bais Yaakov until it came out he was molesting students there. His brother is covering up for him. No police report was made.

Isn't the principal of a school mandated to report when he suspects students are being harmed?

What excuse does he have for not following the law of the land?

April 11, 2007 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who ever said the following really needs to get educated. If someone murders another and has gotten away with it for ten or twenty years. Then all of a sudden in comes out in the news media. Should we all think, well he did apologizes for his actions. Should we just say "oh, OK the murderer apologized for his actions let's just drop the matter"? Remember the murderer said he did his own personal teshuvah and all.


@@@@@@
"If these alleged events took place many years ago, perhaps he realized his mistakes, apologized to his victims and realized he had to work somewhere where he did not have access to kids, as part of his personal teshuvah?"

April 11, 2007 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he never taught in bais yaakov. misinformation to smear a family member

April 11, 2007 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smearing the Shapiro family name???
I think the opposite has happened.

What has the Shapiro family ever done for the victims? Absolutely nothing. Instead the family has been harboring two criminals. One by the name of Yisroel Shapiro and the other by the name of Ephraim Shapiro. Everyone in the community knew about these two individuals, yet everyone was afraid to speak out.

The Shapiro family was only interested in protected their "good name". They never stopped to help any of the victims of their brother or father.

I'm sorry if the Shapiro children are offended. They will have to learn to deal with their own personal feelings on this one. They should have reported their brother to law enforcement.

Until financial restitution is paid to all of the victims of both Yisroel and Ephraim Shapiro, I will feel no mercy for them. I wonder if they could put themselves in the shoes of young teenagers who's lives were altered because of the actions of their brother and father?

One should look at these crimes in the same light as they would someone who murdered a child.

Shame on anyone who is concerned with the "good name" of the Shapiro's.

All I can do is thank all the survivors for coming forward. I just hope they all file police reports and the criminals are faced with jail time.

April 12, 2007 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Shapiro teach at TA and not Bais Yaakov. The rumors floating around is that he also liked the boys.

April 12, 2007 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yisroel Shapiro used to see me in shul as a child. He would talk to me and be friendly with me. He would shake my hand and play a chin game trying to shake my chin.
Never did he touch me in places he should not have.

He invited me over one Sat night 17 years ago and his wife was not there. I was a cute teenager at this time. We went into his bedroom and watched television. (regular tv no porn at all). He did not touch me in any way shape or form that was inappropriate.

I appreciate his friendship and although I have not spoken to him in well over a decade. I am greatful for his kindness. That is my personal experience with him and I saw him at shul countless times and was over his home as well.

April 14, 2007 11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the mother of survivors of Yisroel Shapiro. He molested my children for at least 7 years. He substituted at TA, he was a dorm counselor at Ner Israel, and he davens at Darchei Tzedek. He was never a rabbi. He has fine brothers, and other than his father, he has a fine family. He and he alone was responsible for the pain caused to my family. Like many offenders, he insinuated himself into the life of my family, became a trusted friend to fatherless and vulnerable children. Pedophilia is a disease, a psychological one, which strikes vulnerable children. Pedophiles have a sixth sense about who is a safe victim. If you or anyone you know is vulnerable, warn them not to be naive. Trouble can easily wrap itself in the offer of warmth and friendship. The teenager who watched television in Mr. Shapiro's bedroom might ask himself why they didn't watch in the den where a television was also located. Impropriety is subtle, and a pedophile can easily get satisfaction from seemingly innocent behavior which, over time, can develope into inappropriate behavior. Once the victim is involved, it becomes difficult to differentiate between the two types of behavior. The psychological scarring is devastating to everyone involved in the victimization except the perpetrator. I did not report the molestation of my children. I relied upon the rabbis of the community to handle Mr. Shapiro. Unfortunately, rabbis knew he had a problem before he destroyed my family. I regret that someone did not inform me of the danger when he began to befriend us. If the identity of these individuals is to be kept secret, then I believe the rabbis and the community have an obligation to watch diligently for potential victims and warn them immediately when the predator approaches them. May Hashem protect us all from these sick individual, may He contain this epidemic (it is a contagious disease), and may He forgive all of us for our sins both against people and against Him.

April 27, 2007 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he was a dorm councelor at ner israel it wasn't for decades. I was in Ner Israel in the late 80's and he was never around. Does anyone know if this ladies story is valid? I am a big believer in justice.

All I know is I NEVER had a bad experience with Rabbi Shapiro, and just becuase his father was guilty, and becuase he befriended children does not make him guilty of abuse. We must be very sure and the allegations must me very serious.

April 28, 2007 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in NIRC in the 90's and he was not a dorm couselor there then either. I was in his house in the late 80's many times for bar mitzva lessons and dont remember a TV in the living room. I do remember that i always felt like he was 'too close' but he never touched me below my waist or under my clothing or in anyway that i would think is inappropriate, and i never sat on his lap.

December 20, 2007 1:59 PM  

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