Wednesday, March 12, 2008

CALL TO ACTION: Monitoring Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro

Advocates upset over rabbi’s plea deal
By Luke Broadwater
The Examiner
March 12, 2008

A group of Jewish advocates against sexual assault is angry over a plea deal for a Baltimore City rabbi who pleaded guilty to abusing young boys but avoided jail time.

“I’m very upset about it,” said
Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center in the city.

“He should go to jail. I’m also very upset that he won’t be on the sex offender registry.”
Israel Shapiro, 57, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of sexual abuse of a child and one count of third-degree sex offense before Baltimore City Circuit Judge John Miller and was sentenced to five years of probation.

He must stay away from his victims and have no unsupervised contact with children, under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors said.

Shapiro also was ordered to pay $10,800 in restitution to one of the victims, undergo sex offender screening and treatment.

He is also prohibited from using a computer to contact children.

Shapiro was not required to register as a sex offender because the incidents occurred before the sex offender registry was created.

Lawmakers in Annapolis
are working on a bill that would make the registry retroactive.

Baltimore City State's s
aid Attorney Patricia Jessamy said in an interview Monday she was hoping to get the law changed to make Maryland residents aware of the those living in their neighborhoods who committed sexual offenses prior to the creation of the registry.

A statement of probable cause is not in Shapiro’s court file because Shapiro was charged by a grand jury indictment.

But Polin said the abuse dates back to 1988 and involves 12- and 13-year-old boys whom Shapiro taught.

The Awareness Center posted a photo of Shapiro on its Web site to make the Jewish community in the Baltimore region aware of the allegations against Shapiro, she said.

But Polin said she worries that without Shapiro registering as a sex offender, there won’t be enough scrutiny on him.

“This guy goes into a synagogue where there’s tons of little kids, and no one is monitoring him,” Polin said.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yisroel Shapiro Isn’t Shackled, His Survivors Are
Phil Jacobs
March 12, 2008

Last week in Judge Miller’s courtroom, suspects were herded in and out for various crimes, including attempted murder to drug possession with the intent to distribute.

The one constant sound in the room was the jingling of the chains connecting the leg irons while the accused made their way into the courtroom escorted by armed prison guards.

One of the only members of the fraternity of the accused not wearing handcuffs or shackles was Yisroel Shapiro.

Tall, bearded, wearing a yarmulke and a suit, he stood out. He could have been a court employee, an attorney or just another spectator.

Here was a man who was about to be given a guilty sentence for two counts of molestation. While the majority of the other suspects in the room left with their “jewelry” locked on their wrists and ankles, Mr. Shapiro, after hearing the sentence and hearing the emotional words of his accusers sauntered out into the courtroom hallway.

He was free to go.

He will not spend a second in jail.

He will not be listed on a sex offenders registry.

Shapiro got a good deal. Again, my oft-remembered words of Ephraim Shapiro survivor Murray Levin, “it’s all reward and no risk” came to mind.

Until we get the law to change. Until we can get our legislators and our Jewish organizations such as the Jewish Council to understand Monday’s true failure of justice, Yisroel Shapiro goes unshackled.

The survivors of sexual molestation in the state of Maryland, are very much handcuffed.

The template for justice must be changed to unlock those cuffs, so that survivors are free to live their lives. Until someone in the organized Jewish community or the political community gets “brave” I worry that I’ll never see it happen.

I “hear” the sounds of chains dragging across the floor. Only it’s the innocent who wear those chains, not guilty felons such as Yisroel Shapiro or his ilk.

There’s something very wrong about that.

March 12, 2008 11:34 AM  

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