Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The maelstrom of corruption by Hynes's office has many heartbroken victims crying out - 'where is the justice'?

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. participated in the annual Kings County Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2007. Pictured (l to r) are: Thompson and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. Photo Credit: Marla Maritzer



Critics Question Contributions to Brooklyn DA’s Campaign Fund

By Jeneen Interlandi

On a warm Friday evening in April of 2001, Isaac Chehebar was winding down from what had been a very typical day for him. He had just returned from visiting his grandmother, as he did every Friday before sundown and the Jewish Sabbath, when he ran into Abraham Feldman, a friend from the Gravesend neighborhood in southern Brooklyn, where Chehebar lived with his parents and siblings.

Feldman had been driving around in his father’s 2000 Porsche Carrera, and he invited Chehebar to take it for a spin. Moments later, onlookers and other motorists would witness the 20 year old racing through the quiet neighborhood’s streets, at speeds ranging from 50 to 65 miles per hour.

“I thought I was so cool with that car,” Chehebar later recalled, “that I could drive any way I wanted to – in and out of lanes.”

Ocean Parkway has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour, partly because the median separating the main artery from the adjacent service road doubles as a neighborhood park. On pleasant days it fills up with pedestrians, mostly area residents making their way to and from the nearby shopping district. Chehebar’s joy-ride included at least two laps up and down this parkway, where people were sure to notice him driving the silver sportscar.

It was on the second lap, after Chehebar had made a U-turn and was driving south, that Rima Shetman noticed him. The light at the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Avenue X had turned red, and she was waiting to cross the street with her husband Aleksandr and daughters Inna and Svetlana. “Look at this guy,” she said, as Chehebar approached the red light. It was the last thing 15-year-old Inna and her 10-year-old sister Svetlana would hear their mother say.

Chehebar had been weaving in and out of each lane to keep the Porsche moving through the mildly congested traffic. When he reached the intersection where Rima Shetman stood with her family, he was traveling more than 50 miles per hour, according to the motorists he passed, and there were no openings ahead of him. To avoid a car that had the right-of-way and was clearing the intersection from the opposite direction, he cut the wheel hard to the right, losing control of the Porsche, sliding into the median and striking Inna, Svetlana and Rima Shetman. Aleksandr Shetman ran after the Porsche, screaming, as it carried his family several feet before coming to a stop against a park bench and a tree.

The force of the impact killed Inna Shetman instantly; her sister Svetlana died hours later at Coney Island Hospital. Their mother, Rima Shetman, sustained major trauma to her head and torso along with multiple fractures in her arms and paralysis of her right leg. She would survive only after several tenuous months at Lutheran Medical Center.

When the car finally came to a stop, Chehebar stepped out, over the body of Inna Shetman. He and Feldman had escaped with cuts and bruises.

On May 25, 2001, a grand jury at New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn indicted Chehebar on 11 counts, including two each of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Although a conviction on these charges would have been enough to warrant several years behind bars, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes arranged a plea bargain with Chehebar that spared him a lengthy prison sentence. On Feb. 26, 2002 Chehebar pleaded guilty to both counts of criminally negligent homicide in exchange for which Hynes dropped the remaining nine charges and sought a six-month sentence as opposed to a six-year sentence. Chehebar ultimately served four months on Rikers’ Island, from March to July of 2002, followed by two years of house arrest. He was also sentenced to 1,200 hours of community service and prohibited from driving for five years.

In the years since Isaac’s plea bargain, nearly $80,000 has flowed from friends, neighbors and business associates of the Chehebar family to Hynes’s campaign coffers. In recent months, the plea bargain and subsequent donations have come under scrutiny by Hynes’s opponents, including State Sen. John Sampson and former Assistant District Attorney Arnold Kriss, both of whom attempted to unseat him during last September’s Democratic primary. In response to the allegations of misconduct, Hynes has pointed out that the victims’ families, including Aleksandr Shetman who lost his only children, endorsed this deal.

Between 2001 and 2005 more than 30 members of Sephardic Bikur Holim, the Brooklyn synagogue where the Chehebar family worships, contributed a total of nearly $80,000 to the Hynes campaign, as shown by comparing Hynes’s campaign-finance disclosures to the Sephardic Bikur Holim web site. The Chehebar family owns the well-known Rainbow Apparel shops based in Brooklyn and founded the Accessory Network Group, which does approximately $160 million in business annually according to Brandweek, an advertising-industry magazine that profiled the company.

The family of MartinStein, vice president of the Accessory Network Group, gave $6,100. Weeplay Kids, a children’s clothing store owned by Alan Maleh, a fellow Sephardic Bikur member, contributed $10,100. The Chera family, also Sephardic Bikur members, donated $11,000 to Hynes. Sampson has called these donations “blood money,” adding, “It tells people that if you have money, you don’t have to face justice.”

The allegations of impropriety come at a difficult time for the embattled district attorney, who has fended off two strenuous challenges to his incumbency in the years since he stuck a deal with Chehebar. In 2001, Sandra Roper, a little-known civil rights lawyer, won 37 percent of the vote, mounting the first credible challenge to Hynes’s decade-long tenure. Last year, State Sen. John Sampson won the same percentage, in a race pitting Hynes against three opponents. These near-misses were no small feat for Hynes’s challengers; to date, no incumbent district attorney in any of the five boroughs’ history has ever been defeated for reelection. Moreover, Hynes is a well-known figure in Brooklyn politics, having garnered celebrity status and wide respect in 1986 as the special prosecutor in the well-publicized Howard Beach racial murder trial.

Although Hynes and Maureen McCormick, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted this case both declined to be interviewed for this article, they have pointed out that the victims of the Chehebar accident supported the offer of a lighter sentence, agreeing that Chehebar deserved a “second chance,” according to court records.

“Mr. Hynes feels very strongly that the victims of this crime should be heard in terms of whether or not they accept the disposition,” McCormick said at Chehebar’s plea hearing. She then asked Aleksandr Shetman, “Is it your intention, by accepting this plea offer, to extend to the defendant a second chance to get his life together and do some good out of this horrible incident?” Although Shetman answered yes, he later told the New York Post that he was disappointed and had only agreed because he worried that Chehebar would not be convicted in a trial.

A review of press releases from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office shows that six cases involving vehicular deaths were prosecuted by Hynes from 2000 to 2005. One of those cases resulted in “the longest sentence in state history for a sober driver who killed someone,” according to a press release from Hynes’s office. Hynes and McCormick won a second-degree murder conviction against Jon Paul Lazartes after his Mercedes crashed into another car, crushing its two passengers to death.

“Let this be a clear message to these high-octane terrorists on the Belt Parkway and everywhere in Brooklyn, that you will be penalized in a similar fashion for this kind of behind-the-wheel-bedlam,” Hynes said of the 20-year sentence Lazartes received. Like Chehebar, Lazartes was 20 at the time of the accident and 21 at the time of sentencing.

At the same time, almost everyone involved in the criminal justice system has an incentive to plea bargain. Because plea-bargained cases move faster – taking weeks to months instead of years – judges are able to better handle their over-booked courts. For prosecutors, plea bargains guarantee a conviction and wrapping up cases quickly conserves resources, which are often scarce. New York City district attorneys suffered budget cuts of 12 percent between 2001 and 2004, according to a report issued by the Citizens’ Union. Hynes’s office lost roughly 39 percent of its assistant district attorneys in the same time period.

According to both Harvard and Yale Law Reviews, more than 90 percent of convictions in the U.S. come from pleas, many of which are negotiated. “Plea bargains are generally encouraged by the court system, and have become something of a necessity due to over burdened criminal court calendars and over-crowded jails,” according to Find Law, a web site that provides legal advice to non-professionals .

On the day of his sentencing, Chehebar addressed the court. “I know no matter what I say to the family it will never bring back his daughters,” he said, “But this past year has been hell for me.” He also expressed appreciation for the leniency and asked Aleksandr Shetman for forgiveness, saying that he was “filled with guilt.”

After four months on Riker’s Island , Chehebar returned home and went back to work for his family’s company. In July of 2003, he was caught trying to obtain a driver’s license. As punishment, Justice Anne Feldman of Kings County State Supreme Court, who oversaw his case, revoked his permission to spend weekends at his family’s shore house in New Jersey.

In August of the same year, Chehebar was found guilty of cheating on his community service. Despite warnings from both McCormick and Feldman that any violations would result in jail time, he was sentenced to additional community service.

In an interview from 2004, included with the court transcripts, Chehebar sought to portray himself, not as a criminal, but as another victim in the accident that killed Inna and Svetlana. “I felt I did not deserve the sentence I received,” he said. “I come from a good family with good values.”

Photo: AP / Louis Lanzano
Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes during a press conference February 23.


September 6, 2005
Challengers See a Conflict Over Plea Deal and Donations

The candidates challenging Charles J. Hynes for Brooklyn district attorney called yesterday for an investigation into some campaign contributions collected by him, based on reports that the district attorney's re-election organization accepted money from people connected to the family of a driver who received a plea-bargain sentence in a fatal 2001 car crash.

The contributions, which were reported yesterday in The New York Post, amounted to about $80,000. They came from people connected to the family of Isaac Chehebar, the driver of a Porsche that struck a group of people and killed Inna Shetman, 15, and her sister, Svetlana, 10, who were walking home on a median along Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn in April 2001. Mr. Chehebar, 21 at the time, agreed to a plea arrangement for criminally negligent homicide under which he would serve six months in jail. He was released after serving four months.

Mr. Chehebar's family owns several clothing stores in Brooklyn.

"This is the height of a conflict, if ever there were one," said State Senator John Sampson, one of Mr. Hynes's challengers in next Tuesday's Democratic primary. "There is a need for this matter to be looked at by higher authorities. And it's further evidence that there needs to be a cleanup of all the corrupt mess in the borough of Brooklyn."

Another candidate, Mark G. Peters, said that the matter should be looked into by either the state attorney general or the United States attorney's office.

"I'm appalled that Joe Hynes would compromise the integrity of the office," said Mr. Peters, a former senior official in the state attorney general's office.

The third challenger to Mr. Hynes in the primary, Arnold Kriss, also called for an investigation.

Mr. Hynes issued a statement yesterday saying that it was allegations made by Mr. Kriss that led to the news reports. The district attorney defended his arrangements with Mr. Chehebar and said that he had done nothing unethical or illegal.

"Arnold Kriss's suggestion that this money was given to my campaign to pay me back for the plea, a charge that suggests that I am guilty of criminal conduct, is despicable and a vile act of desperation," Mr. Hynes said in the statement.

He added, "I personally approved the plea agreement only after the father of the two children killed as a result of Chehebar's negligence met with me and urged that the defendant not be sent to state prison because, he said, 'It will not bring back my two daughters.' "

Mr. Hynes said that the plea was approved by a State Supreme Court justice and included two years of house arrest and 1,200 hours of community service.



'THEY'RE PUTTING SOIL ON MY CHILDREN' Dad's cry at burial of car victims

Tuesday, April 24th 2001, 2:21AM

A brokenhearted father's sobs and tears resounded in a chapel and cemetery in Brooklyn yesterday as he buried his two daughters, who were mowed down by an out-of-control car Friday night.

"They're putting soil on my children," Aleksandr Shetman cried in Russian as his daughters Inna, 15, and Svetlana, 10, were buried on a cloudless morning at Washington Cemetery, Midwood.

Weak with grief, Shetman leaned on a friend for support as he and 100 other mourners said goodbye to the young girls they described as smart, motivated and angelic.

Shetman's wife, Rima, injured in the Gravesend accident, remained in a coma at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Yesterday's funeral began a week in which seven Brooklynites will be remembered not only for how they lived but for the tragic accidents in which they died. Mourners will gather in Fort Greene on Thursday to attend services for five family members killed when their minivan slammed into a city bus in Crown Heights.

Rabbi Menachim Zarkh, who led services for the ambitious girls - Inna hoped to become a doctor and Svetlana wanted to be a teacher - said afterward that Shetman was in shock. "He's trying to wake up," Zarkh said.

Speaking in both Russian and English, he urged the standing-room-only crowd to honor Inna and Svetlana's giving and caring manner.

Elaine Ingino, Svetlana's fifth-grade teacher, described her pupil as a brilliant and voracious reader who "would have gone very far." Svetlana also acted as a school mediator, helping classmates resolve problems.

After the girls were buried side by side, a dozen of Inna's classmates filed past and placed rocks on the gravesite.

"It was a way to show respect," said Sharai Lewis, 15. "[Inna] was one of the sweetest people. She didn't have a mean bone in her body. She was gorgeous."

The family of Anthony Abbate Jr., 15, who suffered a broken leg in the Gravesend accident, filed a $25 million lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court against Issac Chehebar, the 20-year-old driver of the Porsche that jumped a curb on Ocean Parkway near Avenue X and plowed into the helpless pedestrians.

"My son had an angel on his shoulder," said Abbate's mother, Jacqueline. "It's a horrendous thing that happened. [Chehebar] took two lives just because he didn't want to wait for a light."

Stephen Flamhaft, Chehebar's attorney, said his client was "very sorry for what happened."

Chehebar has asked his rabbi to apologize on his behalf to the victim's families, Flamhaft said.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hynes’ office dissuaded families ready to let their children testify about alleged abuse. Charlie Hynes is a disgrace!

Has blood on his hands.



No Sex Charge For Kolko; Boys’ Parents Foiled By DA

Hynes’ office dissuaded families ready to let their children testify about alleged abuse.

Questions about Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes’ willingness to press cases in the Orthodox community are now being reignited.

by Hella Winston and Larry Cohler-Esses

In a surprise move, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, the Brooklyn yeshiva teacher charged with having sexually molested his students, pleaded guilty Monday to two lesser counts of child endangerment and was sentenced to three years’ probation.
Under the plea agreement, Rabbi Kolko, 62, made no admission of sexual wrongdoing. He will not have to register as a sex offender, and pleaded guilty only to a misdemeanor — not a felony.
Before the plea bargain, Rabbi Kolko, of Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Flatbush, had been facing felony charges of touching two first-graders in their sexual areas and forcing an adult former student to touch him during a visit to the school. Five former students have also filed suit against the prominent yeshiva, alleging school administrators knew

about Rabbi Kolko’s molestation of students over many years but sought to conceal it and intimidate students who spoke out.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes would give no public explanation of why he suddenly dropped the high-profile molestation case. But its collapse resurrected questions in some quarters about Hynes’ competence or his political will in pursuing allegations of wrongdoing involving prominent institutions and individuals in Brooklyn’s politically powerful Orthodox community.
Those questions were underscored by contradictions between the alleged victims’ account of how Hynes’ office secured their agreement to the plea deal and the account offered by the government.
A law enforcement source told The Jewish Week that parents of the two child witnesses had reveresed their decision to allow the children to testify that Rabbi Kolko had molested them. The source said this fatally weakened the prosecution’s case in the wake of the discovery that the alleged adult victim had made false claims in an unrelated matter.
But the alleged victims offered starkly different accounts.
“My son was ready to go to trial, and we feel he would have done an excellent job,” the father of one of the children said. “The damage, pain and emotional stress Joel Kolko caused my family, and especially my son — we will never forgive him for this. ... We are sorry to hear [the molestation] charges against him will not proceed.”
The father, whose child is now 10, said that it was Hynes’ prosecutors who pressed him — not the other way around — to keep his son from testifying. The father said he eventually agreed when the prosecutors told him they could better pursue not just Rabbi Kolko but school administrators and the school itself via an alternative route.
“I know all the hotshots at the DA,” the father said. “They actually want to get him on something more serious.”
He declined to say what they told him this was. But a source close to the families of both alleged child victims who has been intimately involved in the case said the prosecutors spoke to the father about going after Rabbi Kolko and Rabbi Lipa Margulies, the yeshiva’s founder and administrator, on tax fraud charges, based on recently obtained school financial records that were reported by The Jewish Week. That would preempt any need for testimony from his son.
But, according to the source, the same prosecutors offered a very different rationale when they approached the family of the second child and convinced the parents they need not put their son forward.
“The DA told them that they think it’s best to do a plea deal because the other child was too young and his family was not allowing him to testify,” the source said. “This family was also ready and willing to put their child on the stand to testify and face Kolko. In fact, they believed, while difficult for their son to endure, it would be cathartic and benefit him.”
The family declined to speak with a reporter. But the source, who has been with the family through the entire legal process, said they had asked him to speak for them. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing fear that the children, wo have not been publicly named, could be identified through him.
“This child’s parents were from day one ready to have their son testify if it was necessary,” he stated. “And they were ready to go to trial. They had come to terms with the reality that their son was going to testify on the stand.”
Both children, in fact, remain as plaintiffs in the civil suit against Yeshiva Torah Temimah, and are expected to be witnesses in that case, according to Michael Dowd, a plaintiffs’ attorney in that case.
Dowd said the plea deal would not harm his prospects for success in the civil suit since the guilty plea would allow him to press Rabbi Kolko on the stand for specifics on what acts he committed that had endangered children.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Kolko’s alleged adult victim told The Jewish Week that prosecutors informed him two months ago they had no intention of putting the children on the stand in their criminal case.
“They said they will not put kids on the stand,” he related. “They said the reason why you are so important is because you are an adult, and you can explain yourself, and therefore you are extremely important; that the kids are not going to go on the stand because they can’t explain themselves.”
He said the prosecutors’ remarks came during a discussion in which they told him that a false affidavit he had submitted to government authority in 2000 — in which he had denied knowledge of wrongdoing by a friend — now made it too risky to put him on the stand.
“They told me at the end, we’re unsure what we’re going to do at this point,” Rabbi Kolko’s alleged adult victim said. He said he heard nothing further until an article appeared in The New York Daily News Monday reporting on the plea deal.
Told that the father of one child had told The Jewish Week he wanted his son to testify, the law enforcement official who said the children’s families had changed their minds replied, “Oh, really? I know one of them didn’t want their kid to testify. I thought it was both.”
The law enforcement source explained later that the real problem was that “there was a kid who didn’t want to testify at all, and there was a kid whose parents wanted him to testify only by closed-circuit TV.”
“If you have a victim who won’t testify, that’s going to be a real hard case to try,” he said. “And the idea that this one victim would only testify if they get a closed-circuit TV — judges rarely approve those kinds of things. So, it didn’t seem like the safest bet.”
But the father of the alleged child victim said, “We already had the closed-circuit TV set up. ... It had been approved [by the court].
“It’s crap,” he said of the law enforcement official’s account.
Hynes Back In The Spotlight
Jeffrey Schwartz, Rabbi Kolko’s attorney, said he and his client were satisfied with the case’s outcome.
“Endangering the welfare of a child could mean anything,” he said. “It could mean that [Rabbi Kolko] took the kids to a park and didn’t watch them on the sliding post. It’s not a sex offense. He doesn’t have to register as a sex offender. There’s nothing else attached to it except the three years of probation. There are no conditions. He just has to lead a law-abiding life and stay out of trouble.”
But for some, the collapse of the molestation charges recalled earlier cases involving high-profile figures in Brooklyn’s Orthodox community that Hynes was accused of failing to pursue with vigor.
Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz was indicted in 1984 on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree after years as a school counselor in the Brooklyn Orthodox community. When he fled to Israel, Hynes’ predecessor, Elizabeth Holtzman, pushed for his extradition. But Hynes dropped the effort when he was elected, in 1989. He said Israel’s extradition treaty with the United States made the effort futile — a position the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv explicitly rejected.
Hynes renewed the effort in 2006 under prodding from new individuals who, after attention from several media outlets about the Rabbi Kolko case, came forward alleging Rabbi Mondrowitz had molested them as students, too. Hynes’ renewal of the extradition request, combined with the efforts of advocates and media pressure in Israel led to Rabbi Mondrowitz’s arrest there last year. A court has ruled him extraditable. But he awaits a final appeal on this ruling that is to take place May 29.
In an indication of the kind of resistance such efforts by Hynes face in parts of Brooklyn’s highly organized ultra-traditionalist Orthodox neighborhoods, Rabbi Herbert Bomzer, president of the Rabbinical Board of Flatbush, told the Jewish weekly The Forward flatly: “If he [Rabbi Mondrowitz] has managed to get to Israel and is protected by the law there — then leave it alone.”
The case of Shai Fhima, a 13-year-old Jewish boy whose non-Orthodox parents said he was kidnapped by an ultra-traditional Orthodox rabbi giving him bar mitzvah lessons, also brought scrutiny to Hynes as it dragged on through the 1990s. The parents accused Hynes of failing to press the case vigorously because he did not want to alienate Orthodox leaders. A judge ultimately rejected the plea agreement Hynes reached with the rabbi that would have imposed only probation and community service.
In another case, police in 1993 reported that Augustine Hazim, a Puerto Rican man, was beaten in Borough Park by a group of Orthodox Jews after his motorcycle came close to striking a child. It took seven months for the District Attorney’s office to conduct a lineup, according to police officials and Hazim’s lawyer, The New York Times reported. The district attorney’s office told Hazim that a witness had developed a “memory lapse” and only one man was ever arrested.
Pattern Of Inaction Charged
Michael Lesher, an attorney and community advocate specializing in child sexual abuse cases, said he could cite at least two other cases “off the top of my head” in which Hynes failed to diligently pursue child sexual abuse cases in the Orthodox community.
“I say it reluctantly that there has been a pattern of inaction by Charles Hynes’ office in cases of this kind,” said Lesher. “That’s a statement I make based upon hard evidence in specific cases. ... I must at this point consider it to be a politically motivated pattern.”
Hynes’ office did not respond to two detailed messages seeking reaction to this critique.
Marci Hamilton, a professor of constitutional law at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law and author of the forthcoming book, “Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children,” termed the outcome of the Kolko case “the worst of all possible worlds.”
“It’s such a joke,” she said. “It’s really a travesty of justice the way it’s been handled.”
“The sad part,” said Hamilton, “is that . . . more children are going to be endangered. They really have not solved any of the public’s legal problems with this person, and the tragedy is that you end up with communities not vigorously going after the clergy in their own communities. Then it’s their communities that suffer, [and] the children who are most likely to be at risk in the future are the children within the same community.
“That’s a tragedy that has repeated itself in one religious organization after another,” she said.

Come protest against DA Charles Joe Hynes's curruption and the slap on the wrist plea deal by kolko

When: TBD (To be decided)
Where: In front of Kings County District Attorney's office
Address: 350 Jay street Brooklyn, New York 11201

Click on link below for directions and map.


Pass this on to as many people as possible. Spread the word. You could stand up to corruption all by yourself! Your voice counts. Make it heard loud and clear. Enough of the bullshit by MR. Hynes. Enough of listening to the Haredi powers who are applying pressure for lenient outcomes. Enough of this crap and drek. How much more of putting kids lives at jeopardy can we take from Charles Blippin Joe Hynes? Why did he lie to the Parents? Why did he let down these kids who were ready and willing to testify against Kolko? Why the pattern of unbelievable injustices?

1) Lipa Brenner (no jail) molested and sodomized boy for 3 years in a shul bathroom.

2) Avrohm Mondrowitz - Indicted in 1984. Not made a priority by Hynes (23 years later still)

3) Yehuda Kolko - (no jail, no sex offenders registry)
What a complete miscarriage of justice!

Kolko can probably get a job in Lakewood in a Yeshiva if he so desired. He can claim he plead guilty to child endangerment, but not to sex charges. Yes, I know - it's sick and it's getting sicker!

4) I know for a fact Hynes has went very easy on some people in the Bobov community who were accused of sexual abuse.

5) Syrian who killed two girls with his car




Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)


Monday, April 14, 2008



This is a bittersweet victory:

The sweet:

1) A guilty plea opens the floodgates for civil lawsuits against Kolko/YTT/Margo

2) Victims don't have to go through the agony of testifying

3) KOLKO IS GUILTY - eat drek to all those who said kolko was innocent

4) Kolko victims should feel vindicated that this monster pleaded guilty

5) 555 ocean pkwy is going to get their a$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$es whooped

The bitter:

1) Kolko sentence way too lenient (no jail time)

2) Kolko will NOT have to register as a sex offender

3) Kolko has destroyed so many lives and deserved a harsher sentence

4) The District Attorney's office handled this with kid gloves and it reeks very badly (are they protecting the Jewish community?)

5) The silence of the Haredi community, and its adamant refusal to cooperate with law enforcement, has weakened the state's case.

You pathetic worms of Satan! How dare you stand by the blood of your neighbor! To the parents who are still sending their kids to YTT; and to the rest of Haredi Drek Society, have you no shame? You would rather not call the police if someone is raping a child. I know you putzes like a book. I know how irrational your mind thinks and doesn't think. You're all just punks and thugs who worship a Torah different than that of Moses.

Haredi Drek Society (HDS) is made up of a mix of rotten apples. They include but are not limited to the following: Agudah Fressers, enablers of abuse, abusers, molesters, penetrators, Weasels, and the silent ones (Iyov- remember what happened to him?)

There are many good Jews in the world. Haredi, MO, RE, CO, and Hassidic. However, a large percentage cases of child abuse are being discovered and then quickly covered up - primarily in the Haredi villages and streets. There are too many of such cases that exist. Why has the frum community not responded in protecting the victims? In a heartbeat they excuse and protect alleged Haredi sexual offenders. What unbelievable hypocrisy! Children have basic human rights like you and I, do they not?

Whew... these bigoted shysters from HDS can make any sane person go insane. Did G-D intend Judaism to be one sadistic cult of lies and deceit? Did he want a Jew to act like a robot all the time; or was he hoping that they could think for themselves once in a while when the need arises?

All that being said, the other factor in the equation - is the Brooklyn District Attorney angle. I'm still of a belief that the DA went way too easy on Kolko and I'd like to find out why? Did the Haredi weasels use their clout with Charlie Hynes for the upcoming elections? Let's not forget that this is the same Hynes who refused to make an extradition request from Israel to extradite Avrohm Mondrowitz who was indicted in 1984. That is until 23 years later when they finally did file the paperwork. When asked why so long? Hynes through his spokesperson lied and said that only now
(as opposed to many years ago) did Israel amend its laws to encompass male rape as an extraditable offense.

Final synopsis:

Until the corrupt Haredi leadership is replaced by new blood, and until putz drek society stops weaseling out of their moal and ethical obligations, the flock of sheep being led by this runaway train of bogus Jewish leadership will rear its ugly head over and over and over and over and over again - and I'm not sure we have seen the worst of it yet.



Rabbi Yehuda Kolko pleaded guilty today to two counts of…

…endangering the welfare of a child, according to a source familiar with the case.

Kolko received 3 years probation and mandatory counseling.

He will not serve any jail time and will not be listed on sex offender registries.


Also go to the UOJ blog for more


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

These three villains - These three calamitous punks - Michael Hersh / Rabbi Aharon Schecter/Steve Mostofsky - Damn them all!


Tragedy Then Triumph

By: Zev Eleff

Posted: 4/7/08

A month ago, Tzvi Gluck got word of a troubled Jewish teen being treated in Jamaica Estates, New York. A busy investment banker from Brooklyn who doubles as a professional askan, Gluck gave the matter very little thought, if any. After all, Gluck said to himself, there are many frum Jews in Jamaica Estates.

After hearing about 16 year-old Isaac Hersh a few more times in the ensuing weeks, Gluck received confirmation that the boy was being held against his will at Tranquility Bay, a behavior modification center located in Jamaica - the country.

There are very few frum Jews in Jamaica.

What has happened since is both supernatural and highly political.

Despite its name, Tranquility Bay has been likened to a concentration camp. Touted by some as a facility proven to straighten out severely disturbed youngsters, Tranquility Bay's staff practices severe disciplinary measures to accomplish its goals. Just for glancing the wrong way, detainees of the boot camp are forced to lie down on mats for 30-hour periods.

And that is the most lenient punishment doled out by the disciplinary academy's correctional officers.

What's more, aside from housing about 300 American teens, reports indicate that local authorities use the tightly guarded compound as a jail. At least one of Isaac's roommates was convicted of murder.

Never short of contacts and resources, Gluck researched the camp for weeks.

Gluck's informants also uncovered critical details about exactly who was this young teen so many people were now planning to save. Isaac Hersh is the son of Michael Hersh, the now former CEO of Hatzolah. Reports printed previously in newspapers and on blogs indicate that Hersh had trouble handling his two twin sons and used prescription medication to "control" them when the family lived in Israel for a time. Now back in America, Michael Hersh - who was making somewhere in the vicinity of a quarter-million dollars a year without any major medical or business experience - could afford to send his "Yitzy" to board out-of-town and attend school away from his parents.

Never given much of a chance before, Isaac finally found something like a home in Houston. There, Isaac lived with Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe, director of the Torah Outreach Center of Houston, and his family. Isaac attended Robert M. Beren Academy, an Orthodox day school affiliated with Yeshiva University. Although nobody contended that Isaac did not struggle academically in Houston, contrary to his father's allegations, all agreed that his behavior was stellar at Beren Academy.

"Isaac was a fine and upstanding citizen of the school community," wrote Head of School Rabbi Ari Sigel in a letter. "He was warm and friendly to everyone he encountered and we did not, at any time, have discipline issues with him."

Rabbi Segal added that "for anyone to suggest that he was a behavioral problem during his time in Houston, would constitute an outright lie."

The only one who saw a flaw in Isaac's behavior was his father.

At the end of the school last year, the Wolbes thought Isaac could use a break. In addition, the Wolbes were expecting a child that summer and suggested to Isaac that he look for a summer job in Toronto, where he had spent some time during his travels and still maintained a very good reputation.

To do this, however, Isaac would need to have his estranged father, still the boy's legal guardian, sign various government forms to obtain a worker's visa. After some discussion, both sides agreed that Isaac would briefly return to New York where his father would sign the documents.

Nothing was ever signed. Instead, Michael Hersh, with a flight ticket in hand, forced his son to LaGuardia Airport. Evidently, Hersh was told that one or two Jewish families with troubled boys had sent their sons to Tranquility Bay for successful "correctional therapy."

While being pushed in the direction of the terminal, Isaac screamed, "Help! I'm being kidnapped." Nobody helped and Isaac was on his way to Tranquility Bay where he would stay for the next ten months.

At last, a camp detainee who had befriended Isaac somehow reached a computer and, as instructed by Isaac, emailed Rabbi Wolbe. In the email, the already distressed Rabbi Wolbe was told that Isaac was being tortured and forced to lie down on mats for months. Something had to be done quickly.

On March 19, the eve of Purim, a group that included Gluck and with the financial support of Gluck's employer, Joseph Sharashefsky, readied themselves for a private flight to Jamaica. Once there, a small delegation would plead with the American Embassy to release Isaac.

The question was then raised: who would be boarding the plane for the Jamaica rescue mission?

After dozens of consultations, it was decided that Gluck would be joined by Rabbi Wolbe and his father, Rabbi Avorhom Wolbe of Monsey, and Yeshiva University's Straus Professor of Psychology and Education Dr. David Pelcovitz.

The jet touched down on Jamaican soil at 6:30 a.m., on Thursday, March 27. Although the group was received by the American Embassy, there was little any official could do.

Dr. Pelcovitz explained to the Embassy's officials that as an expert on trauma, and based on the email Rabbi Wolbe received, it was imperative that the psychologist see Isaac immediately.

But their hands were tied. The Embassy would bring Isaac to their headquarters, but the only two conditions whereby Dr. Pelcovitz could be permitted to assess the psychological fitness of the teen were either by obtaining consent of the boy's father - not happening - or from Isaac, himself.

"When are you bringing him to the Embassy," the rescuers asked.

"We're not allowed to say," the US officials answered.

"Where are you bringing him from?"

"Not going to tell you."

Luckily, the group's Jamaican driver, Garfield, not only knew where the unmarked facility was located, but was familiar with the building's entrances and exits, as well. Leaving the younger Rabbi Wolbe at the main entrance, the others stationed themselves at a back entrance. Not too long after, Isaac, escorted by a team of Tranquility Bay guards, exited the building's back entrance, recognized the elder Rabbi Wolbe and made a break for it.

After a few moments of tearful hugs, Isaac readily agreed to discuss all details of his dreadful experience at the camp. According to one account, members of the New York team and the Embassy cried uncontrollably as Isaac recounted the events of his stay at Tranquility Bay. In one of the easier diagnoses of his career, Dr. Pelcovitz confirmed that Isaac had been physically and mentally abused at the camp.

In the meantime, Tzvi Gluck became acutely aware of two obstacles preventing the final pieces of Isaac's rescue mission. First, the passports of all four members of the rescue team were suspended. Both Michael Hersh and his lawyer, Shlomo Mostofsky have since claimed that they knew nothing of the suspended passports.

When contacted for this story, Mostavsky, who also serves as President for the National Council of Young Israel, declined comment.

Aside from being temporarily stuck in Central America, the second problem incurred by the team was that Isaac, according to US regulations, could not be released from Tranquility Bay unless authorized by his father.

The first issue proved not to be a much of a problem. After a few phone calls to higher-ups that included the likes of Sen. Hillary Clinton, holds on all passports were quickly removed.

The second hurdle was trickier. Members of the Embassy urged the group to continue their fight in the courtroom. After all, now that Dr. Pelcovitz had thoroughly analyzed the teen, relieving Isaac from his parents' custody seemed merely a formality. Yet, with the boy's testimony reverberating in his mind, Dr. Pelcovitz believed he could not remain in Jamaica one minute longer.

With considerable help, Dr. Pelcovitz made contact with Mr. Hersh, his lawyer, and local renowned rabbinic authority, to plead on the boy's behalf. Finally, after deliberation with his gedolim and lawyers, Michael Hersh relented. All parties agreed that there would be ample time to fight a custody battle after Isaac returned to American soil at an undisclosed location.

The rescue team prepared to depart Jamaica with one extra passenger the same day they had arrived, at 11:30 p.m.

As they fastened their seatbelts, the Rabbis Wolbe gazed at the child whom they were starting to believe they would never see again. Seated nearby, knowing that his line of work provides few opportunities for joyful tears, the trauma expert tried his best to take in the moment while the investment banker who doubles as a professional askan planned his next adventure.

And with a cell phone attached to his ear, sixteen year-old Isaac Hersh spoke to his grandparents, themselves survivors of a Holocaust over 60 years ago, for the first time in almost a year.

"Zayde, now we're all survivors." Isaac cried.

And some of us are superheroes.


Friday, April 04, 2008

YTT has no morals - evil place must be shut down. Lipa Margulies belongs in jail!


Yeshiva Fired, Then Paid, Rabbi Charged With Abuse

Kolko got big bucks from Torah Temimah while ‘on leave’; lawyers suggest it’s hush money.

Rabbi Yehuda Kolko: Court documents reveal payments going back to 2006.

by Hella Winston/ Larry Cohler-Esses

A Brooklyn rabbi charged with having sexually molested his students has collected almost $70,000 from Yeshiva Torah Temimah and entities linked to it since the school put him on administrative leave 22 months ago.

Rabbi Yehuda Kolko received payments ranging from $3,000 to $9,000 per month between May 2006 and December 2007, according to court records obtained by The Jewish Week.

The court records also suggest that before Rabbi Kolko left the school, he received tens of thousands of dollars above his reported yearly income at the school’s direction.

Rabbi Kolko faces trial on charges of molesting two boys at the school and attacking an adult former student within the past several years. He remains free on $60,000 bail since his arrest and indictments in December 2006 and September 2007. A trial date has not yet been set.

Four former students have also filed separate civil suits against Torah Temimah, alleging they were molested by Rabbi Kolko and that the school covered it up. The suits seek damages totaling $50 million.

This week, a fifth plaintiff came forward. Identified in his complaint only as John Doe No. 6, the former student, now in his mid-20s, alleges Rabbi Kolko molested him when he was between the ages of 11 and 13. The abuse, he claims, took place in the yeshiva’s basement and in Rabbi Kolko’s private office, among other places.

As with the previous plaintiffs, the new one alleges that Rabbi Lipa Marguiles, the school’s chief administrator, “knew of allegations that Rabbi Kolko was sexually abusing boys at Torah Temimah years before” but failed to act.

Unlike the other suits, this one names Rabbi Marguiles personally as a defendant.

Michael Dowd, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, voiced concern Tuesday that the newly disclosed payments might influence Rabbi Kolko to remain silent about any knowledge or neglect by the school or Rabbi Marguiles regarding his alleged conduct. He noted that the yeshiva was effectively subsidizing Rabbi Kolko’s criminal legal defense while the school itself was being sued by his alleged victims for neglect.

Dowd, who represented plaintiffs in suits against the Catholic Church involving sexual abuse, said he saw the same pattern of continued payments in those cases.

“These child abusers could literally sink the institutions with the[ir] knowledge,” he said, explaining what he saw as the motivation for payment.

Still On The Payroll

It was in May 2006 that Yeshiva Torah Temimah announced it had put Rabbi Kolko on “administrative leave . . . on advice of counsel and by mutual agreement.” The announcement came shortly after two of the civil suits were filed, followed by a New York magazine exposé alleging years of child molestation by the rabbi and a decades-long cover-up by the yeshiva.

Despite Rabbi Kolko’s departure, canceled checks and other financial records show the yeshiva or entities linked to it continued to pay the rabbi substantial sums almost every month.

After repeated questions from The Jewish Week about the money, and repeated statements empahsizing the schools break with the rabbi, his attorney, Avi Moskowitz, said the funds were severance payments.

Significant gaps remain in the financial records. But from June 2006 — a month after his “administrative leave” was first announced — through August 2006, Rabbi Kolko received at least $6,000 per month from the yeshiva.

Attorneys for his alleged victims are still seeking yeshiva financial records for September and October 2006. But in November 2006, there was a change. That month a $6,000 check came from Yonasan Tendler, a Torah Temimah parent. The check was written out to “C. Grosnass,” apparently Rabbi Kolko’s married daughter, Chana Grosnas.

There is no record, once again, regarding payments in December 2006. But a payment for $9,000 in January 2007 came to Rabbi Kolko from Congregation Tzorchei Amcho, a Brooklyn-based religious charity headed by Tendler. Rabbi Kolko continued to receive payments, of $3,000 per month, from this charity through July 2007. In several cases, the charity paid Rabbi Kolko this sum the day after receiving an identical amount from the school.

After this, except for September, where there is another gap, the payments resumed from the yeshiva directly: $6,000 in August and October; and $3,000 in November and December, the last month for which records are available.

Regardless of who issued the checks and who received them, Yeshiva Torah Temimah can be assumed to have organized the payments, with Rabbi Kolko as the beneficiary. The yeshiva turned the records of these payments over to the court in response to a discovery request seeking all disbursements to Rabbi Kolko or his “agents” from the school or its “related entities or agents.”

Reached at home, Tendler, the head of the charity, which he described as a free loan fund, said, “I don’t think [Kolko] received any payments from the organization and I don’t have anything to talk about. Keep well.” In a follow-up call, he added: “I don’t know why payments made from a free loan fund or whatever should be a matter of public record.”

After checking with the school, Moskowitz, its attorney, said the checks to Kolko after his departure were severance payments, issued on the basis of a “halachic concept,” or religious law, that mandates one month’s pay for every year served for laid-off employees.

Moskowitz noted that Rabbi Kolko had worked at the school for about 35 years.

(That concept is not universally accepted. A Modern Orthodox Bet Din ruled in 2002 that such payments are not religiously required.)

Court records show that in 2006, the school reported Rabbi Kolko’s salary to the IRS as a little more than $1,000 per month. Moskowitz did not respond to a detailed message asking how this comported with the payments of $3,000 to $9,000 per month to Rabbi Kolko in the months following his departure.

Asked about the payments to Rabbi Kolko via Tendler and Congregation Tzorchei Amcho, his religious charity, Moskowitz said that the yeshiva had borrowed money from the fund to pay Kolko’s severance.

“They had a payroll to keep, and they didn’t have the money for it,” he said. “He [Tendler] fronted the money.”

As for the payments the yeshiva made to Tendler’s free loan fund the day before the fund made payments in the exact same amount to Kolko, Moscowitz said: “The yeshiva has borrowed money from this free loan society and they pay back all the time.”

Halachic Justification

It is unclear just when Yeshiva Torah Temimah terminated its ties with Rabbi Kolko, necessitating severance payments.

Moskowitz said initially that Rabbi Kolko “was put on administrative leave at the beginning of the school year” in 2006 — a termination time at odds with the school’s May 2006 announcement. Asked to explain the meaning of “administrative leave,” Moskowitz said, “Kolko was taken out of the classroom ... until they [could] figure out what to do. He is not employed by them.”

Yet, when pressed on Rabbi Kolko’s status, Moskowitz said, “He is not on leave. The employment relationship has been terminated.”

Asked whether Kolko had been fired, Moskowitz said that the yeshiva “obviously anticipated that he is not going back there. The relationship has been severed.”

Attempts to reach Rabbi Kolko at home were unsuccessful and calls to his civil attorney, Robert Mercurio, were unreturned. Jeffrey Schwartz, Rabbi Kolko’s criminal attorney, said he was not familiar with the financial terms of Kolko’s departure from the school.

But David Framowitz, an alleged victim of Kolko and the subject of the New York magazine piece, said he was “totally shocked and appalled to hear that Yeshiva Torah Temimah has been and is still paying Rabbi Kolko a monthly salary since supposedly firing him in May 2006. YTT has been misleading the public for almost the past two years with this lie. ... Is this what parents are paying their hard earned tuition for?”

Tax Discrepancies On Pay

Meanwhile, the records filed in response to the discovery request show another anomaly. Prior to his departure, Rabbi Kolko apparently was paid sums by the school or entities linked to it far in excess of the salary the school reported to the IRS.

In 2005, the records show, Torah Temimah reported Rabbi Kolko received $10,067 in wages, tips and other compensation. But financial transaction reports filed with the court show the school paid him $73,400, in multiple payments of varying size each month, all of them described as “reimbursement.” Moskowitz said these payments were actually Rabbi Kolko’s salary, dismissing their being labeled “reimbursement” as “an internal accounting issue.”

In 2006, an employee earnings statement for Rabbi Kolko lists his “reg[ular] salary” from the school for the months of June through August as $1,000 per month. But an additional statement shows him getting the same amount during this period from the Religious Education Association, a religious charity founded and controlled by Rabbi Marguiles, the yeshiva administrator.

Financial transaction records also filed with the court show checks that appear to correspond with these outlays. Deductions seem to have left Rabbi Kolko with $1,844 per month from these two sources, for a total of $5,532 during the three months in question. Additionally, the transaction records show, the school disbursed another $12,900 to Rabbi Kolko, once again, all listed as unspecified “reimbursements.”

For the entire year of 2006, these records show, Rabbi Kolko received more than $53,800 from the school and from Rabbi Marguiles’ charity — considerably more than the $1,000 per month listed as his school salary.

Moskowitz, the yeshiva’s attorney, did not respond to repeated detailed messages seeking clarification of these discrepancies. But in earlier interviews, he strongly defended the school’s payments to Rabbi Kolko after his departure.

“You mean that they give somebody that has not been convicted of anything, who worked for an institution for 35 years and then gets laid off, [severance] is newsworthy?” he said. “I don’t think so.” Rabbi Kolko, he noted, has not so far been convicted of anything.

Dowd, the attorney for those claiming Rabbi Kolko had molested them, would have none of this. “If you want, hold the money someplace . . . and then pay him later on if he is exonerated,” he said. “Who is going to complain then? But the idea that he’s being bought in order to defend himself, and if you will, his defense is being paid by the school that was charged with the protection of the children that he abused, it’s an outrage.”

Noting the New York City Department of Education’s policy of suspending teachers charged with sexual misconduct without pay, Dowd said, “I would hope that a yeshiva would hold itself to a higher standard than the New York City school system. ... The only severance that he should have received was a boot out the door.”

Hella Winston teaches sociology at Queens College. Larry Cohler-Esses is editor at large.

Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels (Hardcover)
by Hella Winston (Author)

Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels

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It is unfortunate that it has come to this. It is a big darn shame it has come to this. It is very hurtful that it has come to this. But yet, IT HAS COME TO THIS. It has come at the price of a GREAT CHILUL HASHEM. It has come to Hashem having to allow his holy name to be DESECRATED so that his CHILDREN remain SAFE. Shame on all those responsible for enabling and permitting Hashem's name to be desecrated! When you save children you save the future. You save the future you save generations. You save generations you save lives. You save lives you have saved the world!!!!!!!