Tuesday, October 31, 2017

For The First Time Ever, An Entire Edition Of A Torah Publication Devoted Entirely To The Issue Of Child Sex Abuse In The Orthodox Jewish Community...

Magazine Cover Photoshopped - Courtesy a UOJ  Groupie

Standing idly by: when leaders enable sexual abuse by Dr. Erica Brown....and other important reads.



Monday, October 30, 2017

Forever The Fighter To Protect Children Globally!

Webinar: The Payments Industry’s Role
in Protecting Children
Sign up for the webinar here!
Thursday, November 2 • 3pm ET
FREE for ETA Members & $99 for Non-Members
The criminal enterprises that seek to make a profit from selling child sexual abuse images must do so by abusing the payments system. This workshop will help companies avoid being involved unknowingly in criminal activity, protecting the company and helping to prevent child sexual abuse.

The goal of the session is to assist companies in the payments industry with evaluating their procedures for detecting commercial child pornographers and preventing commercial child pornographers from obtaining access to services. This includes methods that companies can use in their application underwriting and transaction verification process.

Catherine J. Cummings
Senior Director, The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children

Deana Rich
President, Deana Rich Consulting
Please contact Jessica Mosley, Director of Education & Professional Development at jmosley@electran.org.
Looking to reach the most influential payments executives? Contact Del Baker Robertson, VP, Strategic Partnerships at dbaker@electran.org.
The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) is the global trade association representing more than 500 payments and technology companies. ETA members make commerce possible by processing more than $5 trillion in purchases in the US and deploying payments innovations to merchants and consumers.

2017 ETA The Electronic Transactions Association. All rights reserved.
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Charges of sex acts with minors, indecent assault and sodomy were filed against Chaim Shragai, 66, at the Jerusalem District Court, prosecutors said in a statement...

Jerusalem man indicted for assaulting 3 brothers in mikveh


Prosecutors say suspect systematically preyed on victims, all minors, on numerous occasions over past two years

A mikveh, or Jewish ritual bath, in a Jerusalem neighborhood. (illustrative photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
A mikveh, or Jewish ritual bath, in a Jerusalem neighborhood

The Jerusalem prosecution said Sunday it filed an indictment against a Jerusalem man on suspicion that he sexually assaulted three brothers over a period of two years when they bathed at a ritual bathhouse.

Charges of sex acts with minors, indecent assault and sodomy were filed against Chaim Shragai, 66, at the Jerusalem District Court, prosecutors said in a statement.

According to the indictment, Shragai assaulted his victims, now aged 13-16, on numerous occasions when they individually visited a mikveh, a bathhouse where patrons immerse themselves naked in a small pool.

Court papers said Shragai, an acquaintance of the victims’ father, forced himself on the plaintiffs and contacted them by phone to encourage them to visit the bathhouse. He would also give them money after committing the acts.

Authorities say Shragai would approach the teenagers while they were using the mikva, and blocked their exit if they tried to escape.

When the teens refused to submit to his demands, Shragai would threaten to leave the victims locked inside the facility, and warned that he would tell the victims’ parents that they were guilty of various offenses. In some instances, Shragai showed his victims pornographic material, then threatened to tell their parents.

After each incident, Shragai would pay the victim a small sum, usually several shekels.

The prosecution has requested that Shragai be denied bail and be held in custody until the end of his trial.

On one occasion when one of the brothers tried to escape his clutches, Shragai allegedly blocked the exit and threatened to tell his parents about previous encounters they had and to lock him in mikveh.

The prosecutor asked that he be held until the end of the legal proceedings.


Friday, October 27, 2017

We have erred. We have turned our rabbis into Gods..they are not, not at all. They are influenced and corrupted by money and power just as we are. We are scrutinized by our peers, they get a pass....


Saturday Evening, July 01, 2006 - From The UOJ Archives

"UOJ - Please Listen. The abuse of power, molestation, and cover-up that you know about does not allow you to rest peacefully....."

A Sophisticated Reader Writes And UOJ Responds.

I'd like to comment on the many opinions being offered whether the good that UOJ has accomplished is being "offset" by the bad.

UOJ - please listen. I can tell from some of your recent comments that you really care. The abuse of power, molestation, and cover-up that you know about does not allow you to rest peacefully. You have been very successful in changing our culture to some degree over the last months. Suddenly, a topic that was never spoken about is on the tips of our tongues. Yeshivas are wary of you. The organizations are on the lookout. The climate is right for change.

As you successfully point out the hypocrisy and evil in our midst, you and many other commenters should make a strong effort to:

1. Use appropriate language instead of the lexicon now used.

2. Attack only those that truly deserve to be attacked - the abusers of power and the molesters. The potshots taken at rabbonim, rabbayim, or even laymen that we have seen on this blog is not appropriate and needs to be curtailed.

3. Stop ridiculing anyone (including this commenter) who calls for a more civil discourse. I believe that most of us are parents. We would be the first to instruct our children that two wrongs do not make a right. We can't justify the feeling of gossip, frivolity and laxity that this blog is identified with on the basis that we are taking up a higher cause - especially when we can accomplish the same thing without resorting to these tactics.

Let's fight the issue of molestation in a strong, take-no-prisoners type of way, but keep foul language, off color, and insulting remarks out of the dialogue. I believe that as you call for a higher level of Judaism - a yearning for the holy religion that it once was - it is a critical error to allow and foster this type of dialogue which decreases individual holiness. As a group, the effect is contagious and more devastating.

UOJ, I respectfully ask you and your readers to think before you respond with knee jerk reactions. Please consider my words which are heartfelt.

I must specifically comment on Rav Elchonon Wasserman. Despite your strong feelings about the decision that Rav Elchonon made, going after him so harshly has left a bad taste in many people's mouths. Now, you have said that we should not read your blog if we don't like your opinions. You are missing the point which is that we like what you are doing. You are important to us. We would like to visit your blog which is the only vehicle where we can have an open discussion about abuse. However, we respect certain boundaries that you have crossed. It is very simple for you to tell us to leave the blog, but you would lose many interested and loyal supporters. Please reconsider your adamant position on certain Gedolim that you have severely criticized.

Regarding R' Elchanan, perhaps your point could have been that people aren't perfect and that you believe that his advice was wrong and that even Rav Elchonon may have realized this. You could extend that further with the Art Scroll type biographies where Gedolim are superhuman and explain why you believe that is dangerous. But the manner that you attacked him, conveys a message that G-D forbids R' Elchanan is in the same category as a Margulies. This is unequivocally wrong. As mentioned, the blog should criticize and publicize the real abusers - not Gedolim or laymen that make mistakes or are imperfect in one way or another.

To the readers:

It is time to get involved. Following the blog and making clever comments is not very difficult. Meanwhile, UOJ is fighting a one man battle. Are you ready to advocate for the independent board that UOJ has spoken about? Would you dare challenge your Yeshiva if an issue of abuse came up? It is easy to feel comfortable on this blog with UOJ as your super hero. It is convenient to wait for UOJ to "take down" the next molester, but where are the parents? You need to get involved in real life. I believe that UOJ has been saying that of late, but I haven't seen any responses. I'd like to see readers respond by name - no more hiding behind anonymous - and offer to support a parent advocacy group.

Let's continuously examine and reexamine our motives. It is easy to insult those who critique this blog, it is much more difficult to absorb good advice even if it is coming from those that you disagree with.

Let's clean up this blog so that it can be a place that we would be proud to take our children to visit. Let's support UOJ by becoming involved parents. Let's move forward by continuing with the positive aspects of this blog while filtering out the negative aspects that we know in our heart of hearts has no place in our very important dialogue.


The pain that all thinking people feel as well as the outrage, is expressed by myself and thousands of readers of this blog. Going through literally thousands of comments and e-mails per week, I am able to put up only a fraction of the comments and read only some of the e-mails. The one time I took off comment moderation as a test, there were 1030 comments until I started moderating again. Unprecedented in Blog history; Jewish or otherwise.

You do make some excellent points and your sincerity has captured the attention of my non-UOJ persona.

I am guilty...guilty of letting it take years for me to transform my mild mannered personality into the "wild-man" UOJ. I'm watching this Jim Jones like behavior for years while trying gently to make a difference by attending board meetings, writing essays, donating large sums of money, all with the proper intent to get a system in the yeshivas and Rabbanut that is guided by the beauty of our Torah. Not a system governed by individual needs, not beautiful edifices, not ostentatious dinners and conventions...simply a system run by yirei Hashem with no other interest than the needs of the klal first, foremost and only!

Instead, we have a system that is corrupt from the mail-room person up to the decision-makers, and everyone in between. How did we get here? Where did this disease of abuse of power and utter corruption come from? Are we students of our holy Torah or are we just a bunch of people dressed in dark clothing, hats, wigs, and tzitzis? (some fools wear more than one pair at a time)

The answer my friends, is the pass we gave to our rabbis that are no more than mortal humans. They have the same temptations that all of us have, and many of them, not all, fall victim to their humanity. They steal, they cheat, they are corrupt. You know why? There is no system of checks and balances that all humanity requires. They are the rabbis/gedolim...who is going to keep them in check?

We have erred. We have turned our rabbis into Gods..they are not, not at all. They are influenced and corrupted by money and power just as we are. We are scrutinized by our peers, they get a pass.

Therefore the trembling anger I have displayed towards R' Elchonon Wasserman. He was a Torah giant; but he was not God, just a mere human, fallible just like any other human. Was he brilliant in Torah? Absolutely! Therefore what exactly? A student wants to escape Nazi Germany...and he writes him back to stay put? Pikuach nefesh replaces a personal theory or opinion that "Y.U.", R' Yitzckok Elchonon in those days, is more dangerous to his talmidim than Hitler?  Hundreds of visas for his talmidim were obtained for them to come to Torah Vodaath and he says, NO THANKS!?

I was sitting at the hospital bed several years ago of a true "tzaddik gamur"; he was nebach at the end of his life. He was at one of the meetings where his family hosted a reception to honor R' Elchonon in the late 1930's. I was holding his frail, trembling hand as he described to me what transpired after that meeting. The host and the hostess threw themselves at the feet of R' Elchonon in the living room, sobbing and begging uncontrollably...pleading with him NOT to go back to Europe, and to bring his talmidim to the United States.

R' Elchonon was trance-like...he wouldn't budge. "HE KNEW WHAT HASHEM WANTED!" He in fact played God...thousands died against the wishes of Hashem, which commanded us to violate Yom Kippur, Shabbos, Kashrut...do everything one must do to save a single life! For everyone's information, what Art Scroll will NOT tell you, is that Rav Yitzchok Scheiner, the present Rosh Hayeshiva of Kaminetz in Israel, was a talmid of Y.U. at that time. Not too shabby a black hatter I might comment. He was right up there on the infamous list of fools banning Noson Slifkin's works.

So my passion is, in my opinion, well-founded, rooted in common sense and Torah inspired fact. No Chassidic rebbe or any rabbi has Godly powers, they are mere mortals. Remember we are Jews NOT Christians; there are NO intermediaries in our religion. WE have a direct line to God, not one bit less than a person who is wearing eighty pairs of tzitzis, fur hats, round hats, square hats, velvet ones, silk jackets, white Kabbalah coats or any of the cult-like dress that we have succumbed to like children lost in a store full of toys and costumes.

We have let the Pied-Pipers flute us into a generation of meaningless rituals and chumras that are nothing more than the works of dangerous and foolish power grabbers.
Some rabbis do this intentionally, and some are led to this madness by a circle of their leidegayers; people who are human parasites..eating off the flesh of the naive and trusting. When I met with R' Shteinman, to find out that he knew nothing of a virus called herpes, only for him to categorize the New York Dept.of Health as Goyim out to destroy Judaism, I knew this gedolim thing has to go.

When R' Shmuel Kaminetzky responded in the Kolko matter, that we MUST assume Kolko did t'shuva if a recent victim, that was not victimized in the last few months, did NOT come forward, I knew that it was a mitzva to come out with the heavy artillery; lawsuits, secular media, private investigators, the D.A....and anything else I can think of to bring to light the cesspool of leaders that we have selected to guide us through difficult times. When Aaron Twerski disgraces the very essence of our intellect by calling Lipa Margulies an honorable man...there is no stopping me!

So I am upset to the point of being a " crazy person" and every other adjective my detractors can think of. But my accounting will be given to Hashem, not some earthly human; and whenever that day comes, I will go proudly, knowing full well my intentions were pure; no money, plaques, chicken dinners, or any other human reward. I do not want to sully any reward I may or may not get from my Creator.

There will be more...much, much more; this Thursday I will go public with the next yeshiva cover-up and their in-house molester. I will not stop until we have an abuse-free yeshiva system and that includes their enablers.

I will let God judge me and my language; after all, I am human and have shortcomings. I'm willing to take that chance.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Twelve years ago, I was blessed to become a Los Angeles County District Attorney. At the time, I did not fully comprehend why I was placed in that position, but subsequently, it became clear: People began telling me about the abuse they suffered and the revictimization that occurred when they were not believed; when they were silenced; when they were intimidated; when they turned to narcotics.

We Will Miss You Benny! 
Benny Forer

For several years, I have fought the scourge of child sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish Community. I engaged in this battle because all over my world, children were being deeply harmed, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

It was my duty.

Twelve years ago, I was blessed to become a Los Angeles County District Attorney. At the time, I did not fully comprehend why I was placed in that position, but subsequently, it became clear: People began telling me about the abuse they suffered and the revictimization that occurred when they were not believed; when they were silenced; when they were intimidated; when they turned to narcotics.

I then discovered that my friend Daniel was murdered by sexual abuse and I knew I had to speak up.

I knew I had to become a voice for the voiceless, a pillar for the vulnerable.

I also knew that I had a particular profession and training that gave me phenomenal insight into these issues and thus an ability to help solve some of it.

Over the years, I have spoken to hundreds, if not thousands of victims – from hearing them tell their stories to explaining the complexity of the legal system, to giving basic insightful advice, to encouraging them and assisting them in making police reports.

The horrors I heard affected me personally. The stories were so devastating, that there were many nights that I could not eat or sleep. On so many occasions, people reached out to talk at all hours of the day and night. There were many occasions where people came to my house and sat with me discussing their issues for hours. People visited me at all hours, at home, coffee shops and at work. 

In one incident, I came home from work to find a young man sitting on my front yard. He needed to talk to me. I still had my workbag over my shoulder when I sat down on the lawn and conversed with him. My wonderful wife saw and understood what I was doing, so she didn’t interrupt. We sat there for hours. At close to 12 am, I was still in a full suit, workbag still on my shoulder. This wasn't unusual. This wasn't out of the norm.
These were devastating stories.

(Contrary to some assertions), I didn’t do this out of ego, or personal benefit. I am beyond blessed to have two amazing jobs and an unbelievable and supportive family. I am not lacking in my life.

I made “friends” with many people I normally would have nothing in common with. At times, I had to ally with people I would disagree with on every single other issue. The collective goal being much greater than my like or dislike for someone or their perspectives. There were many I didn’t like. But children were being abused, and that was much greater than me.

I once got a call from a shul in another country. A rabbi that had a past questionable history of coverups was coming to speak to their shul about CSA. They asked me if it was appropriate. I asked them if he was going to tell the community that abuse is a problem and that reporting to the police is not against halacha. The community affirmed this. So, I encouraged them to get him to speak. When questioned about this stance, I responded, we need every single voice on this issue; not just the pristine and perfect, but also the filthy ones. Every voice is a voice.

I never took a single penny from anyone to assist them or their organizations. I turned down monetary opportunities when presented. I turned down many many speaking and travel opportunities, despite being offered them. Because it was not and never was about me.

I gave myself over on many occasions, interrupting my work or family so that I could assist another. Thousands of my personal hours were given over toward assisting and attempting to achieve some semblance of justice. I literally never had an uninterrupted vacation during the past 6 years.

Some people felt it was their right to demand my time. And, I gave it graciously. I always tried to be available and kind and appropriate to every person that needed my help. Sometimes, I was swamped at work, in a trial, or grading exams, or preparing for a class. I, nevertheless, volunteered my time as much as I was capable of giving and then some. Demands on my time were unceasing and relentless, and I gave what I could and when I could.

I also never got so much as a thank you card from anyone I helped.

I got hatred from dissenters who disagreed with any number of things. A convicted child molester’s family called my job attempting to harm me. In a twist of ironies, a rabbi that once wrote an op-ed denouncing clerical mandated reporting, called my supervisor complaining and misrepresenting in an effort to harm me.

I was on the receiving end of more than enough hateful glares. So was my family. My children were also affected.

Many known child molesters roaming the community receive/d better treatment.

I gained nothing from this battle, except the knowledge that I have participated in saving lives. And, I did save lives. I prevent a number of people from becoming another Daniel.

I stayed in my lane – I knew what my strong suits were and where I was unknowledgeable or unable to help. I kept politics separate. I kept my personal life separate.

My goal was to get the Right to move more toward the center. To remove the stigma of abuse, to protect the communities, to give victims voices, to achieve justice.

When I first began working on these issues, the opposition was harsh. Mesirah was a thing. Teshuva was another. We were opposed by everyone on every issue. Victims were screwed up or liars. 

Abusers were amazing people. Slowly the truth began to pervade and our community naturally changed. They didn’t thank us for our efforts; they believed that they’ve always believed this way. 

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

At some point, I gave over too much without reserving much for myself.

We have come an incredibly long way. We have achieved justice for many. We have succeeded in areas that many thought would fail. We have protected tens of thousands of children. We have changed a generation’s outlook and perspective on this issue.

There is still a long way to go and there always will be. I am hopeful that the next generation of advocates continues in our holy mission.

Those closest to me know that I have always bemoaned the fact that one advocacy area severely lacking was in the legal field. Not enough attorneys were engaged. In fact, outside of the mental-health industry, very few professionals were involved or put themselves on the line for this issue. I am hopeful that some will step up.

But it is time for me to move on.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Standing idly by: when leaders enable sexual abuse by Dr. Erica Brown

Justice Rush awarded a record damages payout of $1.2 million to Ms Erlich against the Adass Israel School and the award included exemplary damages....

Malka Leifer: Ultra-orthodox Jewish community Adass Israel investigated over accused principal's escape

Victoria Police has confirmed it is investigating members of Melbourne's ultra-orthodox Jewish community, Adass Israel, after community leaders allegedly assisted a school principal to escape to Israel in the dead of night when they became aware she had been accused of abusing girls in her care.

Key points:

  • Malka Leifer accused of molesting girls at the school where she was principal
  • Police investigating the Adass Israel community leaders who helped her leave the country
  • Alleged victim, Dassi Erlich, travelling to Israel to lobby for Leifer's extradition
  • Malcolm Turnbull says he will raise it when he visits Israel next week

Malka Leifer fled to Israel in March 2008 after a psychologist made it known to leaders of the Adass Israel congregation that Dassi Erlich, a former pupil at the community's girl school, had made complaints of sexual assault — including rape — against Ms Leifer.

She is one of at least eight, possibly 15, alleged victims.

Seventy-four charges have been laid against Ms Leifer by Victoria Police.

Ms Erlich, 30, spoke to 7.30 ahead of arriving in Israel today with her sisters, also Ms Leifer complainants, to lobby Israel to allow Ms Leifer to leave the ultra-orthodox community she is being housed in and be extradited to Australia.

"I want to achieve justice, I want to achieve a growing awareness about this case," Ms Erlich told 7.30.

  Photo: Dassi Erlich, with her daughter, claims Malka Leifer abused her while she was at the Adass Israel school. (Supplied: Dassi Erlich)

"I want to ensure as well that there's awareness in Israel about this case, because Malka Leifer's living in a community, around people that are as naive and as ignorant of these issues as I was, when I was growing up."
Israeli courts have deemed Ms Leifer mentally unfit for extradition and Ms Erlich is campaigning for the decision to be reversed ahead of Ms Leifer's next psychiatric panel hearing in January.

'Justice demands she be brought back': Malcolm Turnbull


Dassi Erlich talks to Malcolm Turnbull  

Ms Erlich and her lawyer, Nick Mazzeo, confirmed they had been informed by Victoria Police detectives that members of the Adass Israel community were being investigated for their role in facilitating Ms Leifer's escape to Israel.

"In light of Justice [Jack] Rush's decision, and the evidence that came out, I understand that Victoria Police are looking into whether to charge board members for assisting Leifer to leave the country," Mr Mazzeo said.

In his judgment on Ms Erlich's civil case against the Adass Israel school in 2015, Victorian Supreme Court Justice Jack Rush said: "It is apparent that the persons involved were determined to get Leifer out of the country within a matter of hours of the decision to remove her from her position at the school".
"In such circumstances, the failure of the board to report the allegations to police prior to arranging Leifer's urgent departure is deplorable."
Ms Erlich is being supported in her campaign by former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, who attended a meeting with her and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"The Prime Minister's been on this case for some time," Mr Baillieu told 7.30.

"[We are] all very keen to see Malka Leifer returned as she should be.

"I think there are a lot of people in Israel who want that to happen, there's enormous support in the Jewish community here in Victoria for that to happen as well."

Mr Turnbull said he would raise the matter with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when they meet next week.

"What I'll say is that justice demands that she be brought back to Australia to answer the charges," he said.

'She molested and raped me'

School photo of Dassi Erlich when she was a student at the Adass Israel school  

Adass Israel is a highly secretive community of about 200 families, where boys and girls are strictly segregated from the age of three.

Ms Erlich said that made her extremely vulnerable and naive, so while her abuse commenced at the age of 15, she was, in reality, far more immature than the average teenager.

"We had no connection … even to the wider Jewish community, let alone to the wider Australian community," she said.

"I think I left school with year seven maths and year seven English.

"The word 'sex' was never, ever mentioned. We were covered, basically from our necks down to our feet. We had to stay covered the whole time.
We didn't talk about our bodies at all, we didn't discuss anything to do with our sexual identity."
Ms Erlich said Ms Leifer took advantage of that, and also the fact she had come from a dysfunctional family, grooming her with the appearance of being a loving mother figure.
"She approached me with the intention of someone of, you know, a person of support. Someone that could help out with what was going on at home. Someone that could listen and care," Ms Erlich said.
"And over time she molested and then raped me."
Justice Rush awarded a record damages payout of $1.2 million to Ms Erlich against the Adass Israel School and the award included exemplary damages.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Child abusers are consummately skilled in identifying vulnerable kids and knowing exactly what to say and do to accomplish their goals. Little is left to chance. They use their positions of power to cajole, knowing, for example, that praise and hints of special treatment are necessary in order to begin the process of initiating control...

Harvey Weinstein's alleged pattern of harassment echoes that of child sexual abusers

There are many striking aspects to the breathtaking fall of Harvey Weinstein — the volume of women who have come forward, the number of years his alleged behavior remained an open secret, the sheer brazenness of that alleged behavior and, now, the ripple effects it is having well beyond Hollywood.

But as an attorney who has represented scores of victims of child sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual harassment across the country, here’s what I find most remarkable: The similarities between the pattern of harassment that Weinstein allegedly engaged in, and the patterns of abuse that emerge in an entirely different context — namely, the sexual abuse of children in trusted institutions.

Although the specifics are different, the psychological and behavioral dynamics at play among the perpetrators and victims are virtually identical. The way in which Weinstein allegedly wielded power and relied on institutional silence echoes the manner in which Catholic priests were able to perpetrate grievous wrongs against generations of children.

Child abusers are consummately skilled in identifying vulnerable kids and knowing exactly what to say and do to accomplish their goals. Little is left to chance. They use their positions of power to cajole, knowing, for example, that praise and hints of special treatment are necessary in order to begin the process of initiating control.

With the obvious difference that Weinstein’s alleged victims weren’t children, he reportedly employed similarly manipulative tactics to achieve his ends, promising movie roles and attempting to normalize such propositions by rattling off the names of other actresses who had purportedly complied.

Some child molesters engage in overtly violent assaults, but it is far more common for the abuser to begin with seemingly innocent touches — the stroke of a knee, a rub of the shoulder, the casual tussle of the hair — before moving on to more invasive physical acts. Predators perfect their modus operandi through the exploitation of multiple victims, learning along the way how to break down a child’s boundaries and resistance.

Although Weinstein allegedly used more of a shock-and-awe approach — the unbelted robe at the business meeting — he, too, appears to have homed in on a certain kind of victim and fine-tuned the process by which he allegedly lured them into rooms, enlisting the help of what a female executive at his company called a “honeypot” of assistants and others to lend such meetings legitimacy.

Fifteen years ago, the dirty secrets of the Roman Catholic Church exploded in big cities and small towns across the country. Since then, we have learned that the church is far from the only place where child molesters turn up. Almost no type of major institution serving children has escaped this shame: Public schools, including the Los Angeles Unified School District; private schools, including the Marlborough School in L.A. and elite New England boarding schools, such as Choate Rosemary Hall, Phillips Exeter and St. Paul’s School; the Boy Scouts of America and the Boys and Girls Club; USA Swimming and USA Gymnastics. The list goes on and on.

The perpetrators in these settings do not rely merely on the silence of their victims. They can also count on the inaction and complicity of others around them, including co-workers and superiors, for whom the avoidance of scandal and institutional humiliation is a strong motivator to look the other way. Tragically, this only strengthens the abuser’s sense of omnipotence and reinforces the victim’s fear and isolation.

While there is no doubt that child victims of sexual abuse are in an infinitely more vulnerable and powerless position than adults subjected to sexual harassment and assault, it is equally true that, with the exception of very young children, both groups of victims react in remarkably similar ways to their treatment and exploitation.

In the vast majority of these situations, victims do not react by physically or verbally resisting the offender, reporting the offender or even fleeing at first touch. Rather, victims become psychologically and emotionally paralyzed, overwhelmed by a combination of fear, self-blame, embarrassment and confusion. They become gripped by an emotional maelstrom in which unanswerable and destructively self-critical questions play over and over again in their minds, often for years on end: Why me? How could I let this happen?

As time goes by, without treatment, these feelings corrode the victim’s self-esteem and dignity, and remaining silent becomes their default coping strategy. The perpetrators not only rely on such silence, they deliberately act to engender it.

It is widely believed by those of us who spend our careers working with victims of sexual abuse that most take their secrets to their graves. When survivors do gather the strength to come forward, it is typically only after someone else has publicly accused the same person, and even then only a minority speak out.

The majority of victims will never get any justice. Except in a handful of states, the statutes of limitations for sexual abuse, assault and harassment are draconian. For sexual abuse and assault, the time limits are generally just a precious few years. These fleeting windows of time do not take into account irrefutable evidence about the long-term effects of sexual abuse and trauma. We need to reexamine these laws even as we dismantle the institutional and corporate environments in which abuse and harassment are allowed to persist.

Paul Mones is an attorney in Los Angeles who represents victims of sexual abuse and assault.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Shivering, sniveling, gutless cowards who actually have been positioned for years and years to take down this pig. Had they done so, they could have spared dozens more women the shame and trauma of subsequent Weinstein assaults and outrages. But they were too cowardly to endanger their stations in Hollywood. Dared not speak out against a mogul, a “God.”

Approximately 15 years ago, I had a really sweet and cushy job. The job was easy. The hours very reasonable. The pay comfortable six figures. And, for people who did not know what the work environment was like, the job actually was quite prestigious. People begged me to help them get interviews there, to meet the power behind the throne, even just for phone access — just, please, the phone number.

The problem was that I had to get out of there. The environment of the workplace was amazingly hostile to women. I actually saw women there crying. Those among them who knew that I also am a rabbi spoke with me privately, women of varied backgrounds and faiths, asking me to do something. I did what I could. I pressed as far as I could press. And then, six months into a job that I had anticipated I would cherish for years, I decided that, since I was having no impact on the corporate culture, I just had to get the hell out of there.

I did. I left that job. I just walked out. On the way out, I counseled and advised one more time, and I encouraged others to keep my phone number and, meanwhile, to consider getting out, too. Some did. Some didn’t.

Five years later, I found myself employed in a significant role within a very different kind of corporate structure where, it came to my attention, one of the Board members, a singularly powerful figure in the body, had been harassing women. Two separate women came to me privately, each separate from the other, each telling me her respective account — and their accounts were verifiable. I went home and said to my wife: “I think I am in another one of these spots. If I report to the rest of the Board what I now know, there is no doubt in my mind that they will have no choice but to demand the guy’s immediate removal from all Board influence, and they never will be able to let him on that Board again. But I also have no doubt that, once that dust settles, they will come after me for blowing the whistle. So I have to make a decision.”

My wonderful wife looked at me with eyes that essentially said: “So what’s the question? You know what you have to do.”

And she was right. There was no question. I am no feminist — au contraire — but this was not about the politics of vagina hats and burning bras. This was a matter of human decency and the spiritual holiness that exists in every person. I knew what I had to do.

I blew the whistle internally. The Board appointed an internal committee to investigate independently. The committee came back affirming my report. The harasser’s role as an influential Board powerhouse ended. He never returned to that Board, and he was demoted and sanctioned severely beyond that.

Soon after, predictably, his friends’ backlash against me hit hard from within. I ended up leaving that place of employment.

Best thing that ever happened to me.

I have returned to thinking about those days amid the current Harvey Weinstein scandal. And my mind is struck — not by Weinstein but by the extraordinary cowardice that permeates and oozes through every pore of the slime that we call Hollywood. The revelation that Weinstein is a pig is no surprise. Just look at his donations to Democrats, to liberals, to feminists up-and-down the left. It is like listening to Bill Clinton preaching about treating women respectfully or Hillary Clinton, after getting a child rapist off the hook and giggling about it, rebounding to preach about how she deserves to run the country because she is a woman.

What hits home the sharpest amid this Harvey Weinstein scandal is the duality between the leftist feminist, on the one hand, publicly attacking Donald Trump — or George Bush (either) or Ronald Reagan or any decent conservative voice or judge or lawmaker — and, on the other hand, standing up to a true pig like Harvey Weinstein, albeit a liberal pig whose grease funds liberals and Democrats, first and foremost among them the Clintons.

There was Ashley Judd, less than a year ago, at a “Women’s March.” It was a “Women’s March” that barred and disenfranchised the whole huge swath of American women who do not share the radicals’ leftist agenda. Speaking to those attending, Ashley Judd ripped into President Donald Trump. She became profoundly obscene, reciting a “poem” that bore fantasized intimations of perversion and incest. Oh how brave she was — “speaking truth to power” — by regaling a leftist crowd, whining men and women and whatever pronouns now are persondated (not “mandated”) in California — with a hateful radicalized leftist attack on the Republican President.

That is not “courageous.” That is not “brave.” There is no downside for a Hollywood figure to attack conservatives, Republicans, Christians, the Catholic Church, or Orthodox Jews before one of their hooting echo audiences. Those audiences lap it up. They love it. They reward such attacks with adulation and iconization. It is the “courage” of late-night talk hosts lambasting the President or the Republicans to their self-selecting echo chambers of leftists, while knowing full well that the conservatives and the Republicans are not in the Stephen Colbert audience or viewing on television when they instead can be watching Fox News or reruns of Last Man Standing or Quick Pitch on MLB or the cooking or other food channel or a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu or reading a book or even going to sleep at 11:30 p.m. because, as many conservatives do, those people have to get up in the morning the next day to go to work for a living.

There is no courage in attacking the President or the conservative justices of the United States Supreme Court or Republicans in Congress at Academy Awards night or Emmy night or Tony Awards night or Grammy night. There is no courage in mocking the traditionalists on Saturday Night Live. When a person arises amid an echo chamber of same-minded Eloi in a time machine that is stuck in an Obama era that has passed, and sneeringly feeds the clods who get their news from Comedy Central their liberal mantras, he or she simply is feeding fish to clapping seals. That is not courage. That is pandering.

Instead, courage is when an Ashley Judd is pawed by a Harvey Weinstein who has power over her career — and she decides that, whatever may be the price to be paid, she will stop this pig here and now by blowing the whistle. And that is the kind of courage that a coward like Ashley Judd lacks. Courage is not when Meryl Streep at a Hollywood Awards ceremony mocks President Trump’s perceived approach to women, based on the brash person he was decades earlier, while she extols Roman Polanski as an artist who has suffered far too long, even as she calls Harvey Weinstein “God.”

Rather, courage is when the same Meryl Streep wins the confidence of women in her field who can go to her, as women came to me in my less famous role, to tell their horrific reports of sexual assault and violation, knowing that she will leverage her voice in Hollywood to extirpate the pig from the public arena. And the coward Meryl Streep does not have that courage — not unless it is printed out for her in dummy cards for her to read emotively into a camera.

In all these cases — the phony cowards like the Ashley Judds, the Meryl Streeps, the Hillary Clintons whose political races and foundations have been greased by pigs like Harvey Weinstein whose identification with Bill Clinton is all-too-comprehensible — the cowardice is overwhelming.

Shivering, sniveling, gutless cowards who actually have been positioned for years and years to take down this pig. Had they done so, they could have spared dozens more women the shame and trauma of subsequent Weinstein assaults and outrages. But they were too cowardly to endanger their stations in Hollywood. Dared not speak out against a mogul, a “God.”

Shivered, kept silent, perhaps endured silent nightmares and cold sweats. But nary a word. Because, while safely “speaking truth to power” from safe distances, they never would risk their own tuxedoes and glittering dinner gowns, their jewels and diamonds, and their access to invitations to the next Hollywood gala. Too dangerous. Too risky. Better to tweet a dismembered bloody head depicting the duly, lawfully, and democratically elected President of the United States.

And then at the Awards ceremonies and the “Women’s marches” they congratulate themselves for their courage to wear vagina hats and obscene tee-shirts, to recite filthy “poems” and to speak of blowing up the White House.

That is not “speaking truth to power.” It is the courage of cowards. And it is the sniveling, shriveling, shivering cowardice that even the Wizard of Oz could not heal.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

מש׳ח צ׳׳טאן

או׳ מה ׳ה׳ה לנו  נפלה עטרת ראש׳נו

In the past five years there has been a positive deluge of victims speaking out — an uncountable number that represents not just the acute trauma of an unwanted touch or a dehumanizing comment, but the invisible ripples of confidence lost, jobs quit, careers stalled, women’s influence diminished, men’s power entrenched...

Yes, This Is a Witch Hunt. I’m a Witch and I’m Hunting You.

Setting aside the gendered power differential inherent in real historical witch hunts (pretty sure it wasn’t all the rape victims in Salem getting together to burn the mayor), and the pathetic gall of men feeling hunted after millenniums of treating women like prey, I will let you guys have this one. Sure, if you insist, it’s a witch hunt. I’m a witch, and I’m hunting you.
My social media feeds have been glutted for the past three days with stories of degradation, workplace harassment, rape — people, mostly women but also nonbinary and male survivors, using the hashtag #MeToo to demonstrate the staggering breadth and ubiquity of sexual predation. Similar surges of personal storytelling followed Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape, the flurry of accusations against Bill Cosby and Elliot Rodger’s 2014 murder spree, in which he explicitly aimed to punish women for rejecting him sexually.

In the past five years there has been a positive deluge of victims speaking out — an uncountable number that represents not just the acute trauma of an unwanted touch or a dehumanizing comment, but the invisible ripples of confidence lost, jobs quit, careers stalled, women’s influence diminished, men’s power entrenched.

I keep thinking about what #MeToo would look like if it wasn’t a roll call of people who’ve experienced sexual predation, but a roll call of those who’ve experienced sexual predation and actually seen their perpetrator brought to justice, whether professionally, legally or even personally. The number would be minuscule. Facebook’s algorithm would bury it.

So, Mr. Allen et al., I know you hate gossip and rumor mills, but unfortunately they’re the only recourse we have. We wish it was different too. In a just system, Weinstein would have faced career-ruining social and professional consequences the first time he changed into a bathrobe and begged a horrified woman for a massage. In a just system, the abuse wouldn’t have stayed an open secret for decades while he was left free to chew through generation after generation of starlets. Weinstein’s life, like Cosby’s, isn’t the story of some tragic, pitiable downfall. It’s the story of someone who got away with it.

The witches are coming, but not for your life. We’re coming for your legacy. The cost of being Harvey Weinstein is not getting to be Harvey Weinstein anymore. We don’t have the justice system on our side; we don’t have institutional power; we don’t have millions of dollars or the presidency; but we have our stories, and we’re going to keep telling them.


Friday, October 20, 2017

A few weeks later, Jake locked himself in a bathroom at home and tried to drown himself in the bathtub....

Why Are More
American Teenagers
Than Ever Suffering
From Severe Anxiety?




Parents, therapists and schools are struggling to figure out whether helping anxious teenagers means protecting them or pushing them to face their fears.

The disintegration of Jake’s life took him by surprise. It happened early in his junior year of high school, while he was taking three Advanced Placement classes, running on his school’s cross-country team and traveling to Model United Nations conferences. It was a lot to handle, but Jake — the likable, hard-working oldest sibling in a suburban North Carolina family — was the kind of teenager who handled things. Though he was not prone to boastfulness, the fact was he had never really failed at anything.Not coincidentally, failure was one of Jake’s biggest fears. He worried about it privately; maybe he couldn’t keep up with his peers, maybe he wouldn’t succeed in life.

 The relentless drive to avoid such a fate seemed to come from deep inside him. He considered it a strength. Jake’s parents knew he could be high-strung; in middle school, they sent him to a therapist when he was too scared to sleep in his own room. But nothing prepared them for the day two years ago when Jake, then 17, seemingly “ran 150 miles per hour into a brick wall,” his mother said. He refused to go to school and curled up in the fetal position on the floor. “I just can’t take it!” he screamed. “You just don’t understand!”Jake was right — his parents didn’t understand. Jake didn’t really understand, either.

 But he also wasn’t good at verbalizing what he thought he knew: that going to school suddenly felt impossible, that people were undoubtedly judging him, that nothing he did felt good enough. “All of a sudden I couldn’t do anything,” he said. “I was so afraid.” His tall, lanky frame succumbed, too. His stomach hurt. He had migraines. “You know how a normal person might have their stomach lurch if they walk into a classroom and there’s a pop quiz?” he told me. “Well, I basically started having that feeling all the time.”Continue reading the main story