David Pelcovitz, PhD
Breaking: Brooklyn Teen Released from Jamaica
by Stewart Ain
March 30, 2008Isaac Hersh, the 16-year-old Orthodox Brooklyn boy who was allegedly being "abused by the staff" of a school for troubled youths in Jamaica, is back in the U.S.
He arrived at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey early Friday morning after his parents agreed to have him released to the custody of a New York psychologist.
The psychologist, David Pelcovitz, a professor at Yeshiva University, examined Hersh for 90 minutes yesterday in Jamaica and concluded that he had been physically and mentally abused, according to Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe of Houston, TX, with whose family the teen had stayed for nine months before his parents spirited him away to the boarding school in June.
in a private plane during the early morning hours Thursday. They had to rush, the rabbi said, because they had learned that American officials were going to interview Hersh at the American Embassy in Kingston at 9 a.m. Thursday in response to a federal lawsuit against the U.S. State Department alleging the boy was being abused at the school.
"We were waiting at the gate of the Embassy so he could see us and request to meet with us," Rabbi Wolbe said. "It was a miracle that we got there five minutes before he arrived."
The rabbi said U.S. consular officials were present when he asked Hersh to describe the treatment he received at the school, Tranquility Bay.
"He said he was thrown on his face by the staff and that both hands were twisted up behind him while five people were on top of him, putting their fingernails into his ears," Rabbi Wolbe said. "And he said he was punched in the stomach when he asked to borrow a pen from a counselor. … The vice consul with us was crying. She could not believe it."
After Pelcovitz interviewed the teen and made his assessment, Hersh was then returned to Tranquility Bay until his father, Michael Hersh, CEO of the Chevra Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corps, agreed by phone to have his son released into Pelcovitz' s custody. The boy was then flown back to New York where he is in an "undisclosed safe location," according to Rabbi Wolbe.
He noted that young Hersh is not with his father, who, according to the federal suit, had been charged by authorities in Israel with child abuse for giving his son medicine without a prescription. The suit said the medicine was to calm the boy down.
Ken Kay, who said he was formerly associated with Tranquility Bay and that his son was its former director, asserts that the school is for troubled youths who need behavior modification. He denied that any abuse took place there.
For more reading on World Wide Association and Tranquility Bay:
- World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools
- Tranqulity Bay (ISAC)
- Teen-ager leaps to her death at compound in Jamaica
- No More Nightmares at Tranquility Bay?
- Parents Divided Ove Jamaica Disciplinary Academy
- Tranquility Bay Documentary
Tranquility Bay Reform School