Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Background History on the case of Yisroel Shapiro

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).

Background History on the case of Yisroel Shapiro
The Awareness Center
May 28, 2003

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 a teacher by the name of 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 (Jewish religious court) believed Yisroel was guilty. The agreement was that Yisroel Shapiro would have a career where he no longer had contact with children. Yisroel Shapiro went from being a teacher at one of Balitmore's private Jewish schools to becoming a butcher.

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 thate 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.

If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected in the state of Maryland, you should call: (800) 332-6347

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are the Shapiro relatives outside of Baltimore?

December 18, 2007 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Chabad incest in suburban Detroit? said...

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071218/NEWS03/712180304

December 18, 2007

BY L.L. BRASIER and JOHN WISELY

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

West Bloomfield police say a 14-year-old girl with autism who cannot speak cried rape the only way she could: through a controversial technique where a teaching aide helps a student type words on a keyboard.

Earlier this month, the girl accused her father of raping her repeatedly while her mother did not intervene, investigators said. The girl's 13-year-old brother, who also is autistic, told investigators he saw his father showering with his sister and naked with his sister.

Investigators said the girl typed out statements of the alleged abuse last month on a facilitator board -- a keyboard designed for autistic children -- at school while an aide helped guide her hands to the keys.

"My dad gets me up, bangs me and then we eat breakfast, he puts his hands on my private parts mom knows and doesn't say anything," the girl reportedly typed on the board.

The father is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

In court documents, authorities do not report physical evidence, such as DNA, to link the father to a sexual assault, instead citing a registered nurse's report that the girl's hymen showed three "nonacute tears," likely signs of sexual assault.

Police and prosecutors decline to discuss the case outside of the filing, which includes also alleges the "children have endured years of sex abuse by father and severe mental and emotional abuse by mother."

Defense attorneys said the strength of the prosecution's case is undermined by the girl's claim that her parents and brother violated a court order by visiting her in the home in which she was placed.

The child, in additional typed messages, said the parents visited her at night and said they would be taking her to South Africa.

"I can say absolutely it did not happen," said Rabbi Levy Shemtov, the family's rabbi with whom the girl has been staying. "Her parents were never there. And the child was never alone."

December 18, 2007 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-assault1218,0,4417731.story?coll=bal_news_local_xpromo

City bar mitzvah teacher charged with sex offenses
Incidents involving two boys allegedly occurred more than a decade ago
By Melissa Harris

Sun reporter

9:20 PM EST, December 18, 2007

A former bar mitzvah lessons teacher in Baltimore's Orthodox Jewish community has been charged with sex offenses against two boys that are alleged to have occurred more than a decade ago, according to the city state's attorney's office.

The boys were learning to chant passages from the Torah at Israel Shapiro's home on Olympia Avenue on separate occasions in September 1988 and June 1994 when the offenses are said to have occurred, according to court documents.

Shapiro was charged Dec. 4 with felony child abuse, second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense in both cases. The boys, who are related, came forward in June, according to Baltimore police spokesman Sterling Clifford.

Prosecutors handling the case were not in their office Tuesday, and the men making the accusations did not return phone calls Tuesday.

Accusations against Shapiro were known in the Orthodox community as early as 2004, when alleged victims began circulating a flier with Shapiro's name and picture, according to Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center Inc., which is an advocate on behalf of Jewish victims of sexual abuse in Baltimore.

Polin has posted a copy of the flier on the center's Web site.

According to court documents, Shapiro put the boys, then age 12 and 13, on his lap while they practiced chanting the Torah. One of the victims reported that Shapiro would touch him inappropriately over his clothing, and the other said he was held on Shapiro's lap against his will and touched inappropriately.

Shapiro, 57, works in a kosher butcher shop, according to the

Jewish Times, which reported extensively on the allegations in June.

A phone message left Tuesday at Shapiro's house was not returned.

Arthur C. Abramson, director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, said that the organization recently became aware of the allegations but had not been involved in the matter or Shapiro's removal from teaching.

"The Orthodox community -- that end of the Orthodox community -- tends to be very insular," Abramson said. "Information can circulate very rapidly within the framework of the Orthodox community, and it doesn't necessarily get out into more general circles unless reported by The Sun or the Jewish Times."

In April, amid discussions in the Orthodox community about the allegations, Vaad HaRabbonim of Baltimore, the city's Council of Orthodox rabbis, released a letter on "Abuse in Our Community."

"We feel it essential to discuss this matter directly with you, as the greatest allies of the abuser are ignorance and silence," according to the letter, which was signed by nearly two dozen rabbis.

Shapiro is out on a combined $175,000 bail in the two cases.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

December 19, 2007 12:57 AM  

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