Friday, July 6, 2012

Alleged rapist working in Brooklyn Yeshiva - Background check?

NY Daily News   Moshe Pinter, 28, was arrested and charged with a trying to molest a 13-year old boy in 2007, but pled down the top felony charge to a misdemeanor child endangerment offense after the victim declined to testify against him, according to court records and sources.

Pinter was sentenced to three years of probation, but was not barred from working with minors.

For the past year Pinter has been working at Ohr Hameir Yeshiva in Borough Park chaperoning Hasidic teens on weekend getaways while parents had no idea of his criminal past - which also includes two theft convictions.

Child victim advocates said the case highlights the need for private schools to be legally obligated to run fingerprint and background checks on employees and for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to publicize the names of convicted perpetrators in the Jewish community.


  1. The guy was never convicted of any sex crime whatsoever. What is this, a nazi state that prevents and punishes and embarrasses people based upon accusations alone?

    1. The halacha doesn't require a conviction to fire someone from a teaching job - and surely to prevent the hiring. It just requires strong consistent rumors or reasonable suspicions. So this has nothing to do with a nazi state - it is taking commonsense precautions to protect the children. Please study the Shoel u'meishiv and Rav Silman in Yeshurun 15

    2. Daniel: Halacha does require actual guilt be established before spreading information. No guilt has ever been established here.

    3. Rav Moshe Sternbuch (5:398): I received his letter and I was very upset at the outrageous behavior of the principal who refused to listen to the claims against the teacher concerning alleged disgusting deeds – because he said it was lashon harah. Now the accusations against the teacher are increasing and the principal still stubbornly insists that there is not adequate evidence in the matter and therefore it is better to be concerned with the prohibition of lashon harah – then to investigate the matter. The assertions of the principal are total nonsense and they provide an opening for destruction – G d forbid. It is a fundamental obligation for a rosh yeshiva or principal to listen to all rumors and suspicions concerning that which occurs in his domain. That is because the first obligation he has is to guard the souls of his students. Therefore he has to be concerned with everything – even if it turns out to be a false alarm. So even though the teacher is presumed to be a good person – nevertheless whatever issues that are related to the protecting of the students – if there is even the slightest possibility that something might harm the children or young students – the principal is obligated to investigate to determine whether the suspicions are valid and/or to make a special effort to keep the suspected teacher under close observation. It is important to keep in mind that the essential prohibition of speaking or listening to lashon harah is when it is said by a person who is an enemy or is jealous of the person being talked about and thus his motivation is not pure. However when the negative information is from a person who has pure motivation it is necessarily to be concerned with each and every claim or rumor in order to prevent someone being harmed. A suspicion which is suppressed by the prohibition of lashon harah could possibly be critical knowledge that is need to prevent harm to many people. Once I was visiting the Gerrer Rebbe and he asked me about a certain young man. Since he was concerned that I might have objections about revealing the information because of lashon harah he said to me, “You should know that there is no prohibition of lashon harah in this house because everything spoken here is for a beneficial reason. And everything that I hear I use for beneficial purposes and with G d’s help it will always be done for a beneficial reason.” I heard about the rabbinical conferences attended by the holy Chofetz Chaim who gave a talk about lashon harah. At the end he asked the rabbis that were present to sign a pledge to be careful from lashon harah. Rav Chaim Ozer refused to sign. There are various versions as to the reason for this. According to what I heard, he replied that the city rabbi has to know and listen to everything – even if there is just a remote possibility that it is true and to investigate whether the assertions and concerns are true. He was afraid that as a consequence of signing the document he would be more strict and more cautious regarding lashon harah than he should be - and that this would cause many to suffer. Therefore he felt that it was better that they make a decree to learn the halachos of lashon harah – than to agree never to speak or hear lashon harah. The bottom line is that it is an important mitzva to communicate every single suspicion and the principal needs to listen to each suspicion and to be concerned and to be careful to protect the students. If he is negligent in this matter he is included in the curse against those who do G d’s work in a false way. Today there are many different types of opportunities to corrupt the youth and therefore it is necessary to be exceedingly careful in protecting these holy ones – the students who are engaged in studying G d’s Torah. (As is expressed by the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Shemita and Yovel).

    4. David I suggest you reread the article - He was convicted of child endangerment as a result of a plea bargain when the victim refused to testify in court. He was alleged to have attempted rape. I assume you would also hold that the information could not be communicated to others because he was not tried in a beis din and there weren't two frum male adult witnesses and even if there were - there it apparently was only attempted rape - so no crime was actually committed so you would hire him to tutor your children - right?

    5. Daniel: How can you so blatantly misuse and misinterpert teshuvos and halachas?? You are falsely claiming or implying that once anyone accused someone of a sex crime, you can spread rumors and claims against that person for the rest of his life even if the charges are dropped or he isn't convicted, etc.

      How else can you justify doing in this case with Moshe Pinter, considering it is years later and all sex charges were dropped?? Are you gonna nail this guy to a cross for the rest of his life?

    6. Innocent people plea guilty to reduced irrelevant charges every day, to avoid a possible false conviction or going through a multi-year criminal court fight with prosecutors that will cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars potentially.

      Child endangerment is the kind of charge when a mother runs into the drugstore and leaves her child in the car while she grabs her prescription.

    7. I suggest you familiarize yourself with halacha before accusing me of misue and misinterpreting halacha. You also might want to speak to someone in chinuch whether they would 1) hire such a person 2) would want the information conveyed to them

      I assume that you know that a person accused of such a crime typically does not change? I assume you are aware that such a person is considered a rodef? I assume that you are aware that a sofek rodef is considered as a rodef?

      I assume that you would also welcome Mondrowitz into your home - even though he has never been convicted of a sex crime and it is many years after he fled America to avoid a trial?

      Please bring your proofs that circumstantial evidence can't be used to protect yourself or that it is prohibited to inform people that there is a significant reason to suspect the charges are true and that therefore you should protect your family and others?

    8. So you will not nail him to sex crimes, that he was neither convicted of nor pending against him, since you feel the charges may have been dropped despite you feel he may be guilty??

    9. *"not" should have read "now"

    10. Sho’el U’Meishiv (1:185): Rumors spread about a certain teacher who had lived in that city for 8 years. Children that he had taught while they were young and now were 13 years or more older testified that he had sodomized them when they were younger. The previous summer a certain G d fearing man found out about this and was outraged and informed the rav of the community. However the rav did not want to accept this testimony… However the Maharik and the Terumas HaDeshen wrote and the Rema rules in Shulchan Aruch that in a situation where kosher witness are not necessary - then even a woman or child is believed. If so, in this matter it is definitely impossible for there to be adult males and it is impossible for there to be testimony in the matter. That is because without a doubt this man – even if he is wicked and dissolute – keeps his deeds secret and he only amuses himself with small children and claims he is only playing with them. Therefore it is obvious that they should be believed. However we are not trying to disqualify him from being a witness or making an oath but we only want to be able to say whether he perhaps did this. Our Sages said in Nida (61) that while it is prohibited to believe lashon harah, the concern aroused by it is required. And in Mo’ed Koton (18) they said that regarding bad talk – at least some of it is true. Therefore woe is to us that in our days such a thing happened that a man like this should be a teacher of children who are pure creatures and there is concern that he violated them. Therefore in my opinion it is appropriate to remove the crown of teacher from his head. They need to be concerned for their souls until he completely repents with appropriate afflictions and only then can he considered a full member of the community and it will be an atonement for his sins. Furthermore as long as he hasn’t confessed his sins then repentance is not possible as the Tevu’os Shor wrote in siman 2…. But in this case where there is testimony – even though it is not from kosher witnesses it is worth more than rumors and it is obvious he should be prevented from getting students to teach.

    11. Chofetz Chaim (Rechilus - Tziyurim 11): If you know that the family of the groom is licentious then it is necessary to reveal this information and surely if you know that the groom himself is a heretic. But it is not necessary to go into detail. Furthermore even if you don’t know this information yourself but you have heard it from others it is still necessary to reveal it. But it is necessary to convey the fact that you yourself don’t know it directly but say, “I have heard such and such information and even though you can’t believe it absolutely nevertheless you need to be concerned and investigate the matter further.”

  2. Why on earth would any school want to hire someone with a criminal record, for theft, let alone one for child endangerment?

    And, Dovid: Did the boy refuse to testify
    1. Because shame over what happened caused him to be unwilling to testify?
    2. Because his story wouldn't hold up in court?
    3. Because overt threats against his family (another crime, by the way) made him afraid to testify or willing to sacrifice himself for his family's welfare (shidduchim &/or acceptance to yeshiva, etc.)
    4. Because of communal pressure from living in a culture which holds to particular a halachic shita about going to the authorities and after the police were involved his family got cold feet?

    Only #2 or maybe #4 would truly justify your position; #4 justification requires the cost/benefit analysis coming out that sometimes people (including children) must suffer to maintain beneficial social norms and institutions. In the USA, exposing the years of inattention to child molestation in the community led to questions about the judgement of the rabbinic leaders who had maintained the status quo; the Agudah admitted to the inattention but raised the question of whether keeping an unknown number of children from being attacked was worth the social cost of diminishing respect for the Rabbis.

  3. Yanky MelishevskyJuly 8, 2012 at 6:29 AM

    Just to set the record straight, in this case.

    This article is very misleading, and i will explain why.

    The alleged crimes took place 7 years ago, when Moishy was 21 years old, and the victim was 17 years old (Not like the article states 13) - This info can easily be verified on E-Courts Online.

    He was never convicted of rape, and the victim declined to testify because he was less then 5 years older then the victim and there was no force involved.

    In regards to the grand larceny charges, this once again goes back 7 years ago, and once again he plead guilty and made an agreement to pay off all the money, he has already paid off 40% of the money.

    He has since then went for professional help, and has changed drastically, i know him personally so i can vouch for that.

    It is my belief that everyone deserves a second chance no matter how far they went, as long as they acknowledge, understand, and fully regret their past bad actions and take it upon themselves to change for the better.

    Now as a side point, to make sure some readers understand the exact circumstances:

    There is no such yeshiva as Ohr Hameir, its more less a hangout, they have maybe 5 Bucheim (teenagers 3 of them are over 19) who come there because they were thrown out from yeshiva, and have no where else to go.

    The only role Moishy had was to bring food for the bucherim, he wasn't an authority figure to anyone there, other then that the writer should of made better research before he wrote this story, there is more then one misleading and inaccurate info, he wasn't employed there and there was nothing wrong with him bringing food for them.

    In this case the alleged abuser is not a Child Molester!

    Child molesters never get healed, because they will always have their sick preference for a child.

    But here this is not the case, the alleged abuser & victim were less then 5 years apart, and there was no force involved, so there should be no reason after professional help to move on in life.

    The writer is looking for some publicity by writing this article, but this is very wrong and extremely misleading.

    Looks like he got some enemies who will stop by nothing to bring him down.

  4. I'm sorry to bust the bubble of the passionate advocates for children (who I accuse of having agendas other than child safety). The "yeshiva" listed in this article is, as the earlier commenter noted, not a real yeshiva, but a hangout. No one is required to come, but some do, just to have a place. It is one of several such "establishments" where there is an environment made available where some kids can "hang out" that is undoubtedly better and safer than the clubs and discos where many would otherwise go. There are really no madrichim or counselors here. There are no employees, and no one would have done a background check anyway. The goings on are completely casual, and there is really no one with formal responsibility. If we are worried about anything occurring, the environment is not less safe than the streets of Boro Park, and we had a Leiby Kletzky tragedy just a year ago. This Pinter kid went through the court system, and they did what they could. There was no intimidation that stopped anyone from testifying, just the societal stigma of the victim wanting to keep the information from others.

    Nothing untoward will occur here. But the media will drool over a non-story like this, and some of the so-called advocates will yell their accusations at Agudah for causing this.

    May we be zocheh to have true advocates working on behalf of our children, not the fakers who have their own agendas of rage and revenge.

    1. A rather bizzare defense.

      If an environment is not a "real" yeshiva - we don't have to be concerned about pedophiles? When trying to help kids who are having difficulties with the system - many of whom have been abused - we should not be concerned that there are sexual predators in the enivronment? That we should not be concerned to make sure that someone is responsible for what happens in that environment?! If someone has gone through the secular court system on charges of sexual molestation and larceny - we should assume that the court system " did what they could " and we shouldn't have any further concerns?!

      Your defense of Pinter is an embarrassment to him as is your attack on "so called advocates."

      Yanky Melishevsky's defense posted above is much more to the point and raises important issues - your "don't look" and "no need to be concerned" defense is what got us into trouble in the first place.

    2. How about going to see this "yeshiva"? You'll find the hangout that is not "staffed", but involves volunteers who lend a hand (no pun intended). I favor background checks, and could not fathom a real yeshiva hiring Pinter, or even allowing him to volunteer. While I am not interested in defending the guy, I also perceive an outcry here that is less concerned for actual protection or safety of anyone - just in the throwing of dirt and spreading of accusation.

      My attack on the "so called advocates" is not a defense for Agudah or the "establishment". It is a painful recognition that those who have chosen to be the spokespeople for the victims really do not do anything useful to save children or promote safety. Their activities are limited to the use of mass media in ways that do not help children, only baschmutz many whom they do not even know and have not spoken to. We all know that the "establishment" has failed in the past. It is also ignorant, unfair, and incompetent to state that there has been no progress, as these "advocates" consistently claim. There is undoubtedly much more to do, and the oppositional stance with the anti-chareidi attitude so often screamed by these "advocates" has not helped and will not help. I will attack them every time they misdirect their energy from being helpful to being destructive. I fight abuse all the time, and so do many others. The headlines of the Post and NYT are not the arenas to hold this fight. The shameful parading of these issues will not create additional awareness. It will only create more chilul Hashem than we can bear.

      I do not advocate "don't look" or "no need to be concerned".


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