Friday, August 17, 2012

Police reject allegations of camper abuse

The following is an example of hysteria concerning claims of abuse and abuse coverups that turns out to be false.
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NY Post  A registered sex offender delivering milk to an Orthodox Jewish summer camp for Brooklyn boys was arrested yesterday -- a week after he was caught by cameras sneaking into buildings where kids were sleeping, state police said.

Yoel Oberlander, 31, of Monsey, was charged with trespassing Aug. 8 at Camp Shalva in South Fallsburg between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.

“He knowingly entered and unlawfully remained in the bunk, the sleeping quarters of the boys,” said State Police Capt. Joseph Tripodo.

Tripodo said an investigation found “no allegation of sexual abuse.”[....]

31 comments :

  1. A registered offender was sneaking around a bunk house that's not a reason to get hysterical ???

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  2. Rabbi Eidensohn, Based on my careful reading of all the material on the web and information I have from people inside Bobov I think you called it wrong in your posting title. The Post story starts off with an error and goes downhill from there. Yoel Oberlander was not delivering milk for Golden Flow, he was delivering for his employer Golden Taste an appetizer company. He became a registered sex offender from a misdemeanor guilty plea of unwanted touching of an 11 year old girl when he was 22. It was a plea bargain so it probably involved much more serious charges. The police did not say he did nothing while he strolled trhough a bunk for up to an hour. They just implied they could not get an allegation from a witness. The Bobov videos only cover the hallways, not the bedrooms. He was in and out of bedrooms. The lawyer from a choshuv Bobov family claims there was not enough time for him to do anything. Really! Is the lawyer an expert on how many minutes it takes to touch children. I must have missed that class in law school curricula. The essential fact is that Oberlander was not exonerated. The kids were intimidated into not talking and I hear that the very camp officials who told the kids not to tell their parents sat in on the police interviews of the kids.

    I strongly suspect the truth will come out when the kids come back from camp and get out from under the thumb of a menahel (principal) known for his intimidating, authoritarian style.

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    1. You might be correct - but I can't say otherwise based on the information that I have. Unless there is a complaint then there is no case. It is possible that the kids were intimidated not to talk to the police - but I have no evidence of that.

      It is up to the police to investigate and to be aware of the possibility of the kids being silenced. They issued a statement there was no allegations. What does that mean? You are apparently claiming 1) there was abuse 2) the kids were silenced by the administration 3) the police were persuaded to join in a coverup. Again I don't have any evidence to justify your allegations but will be glad to publish it if someone wants to provide something beyond conjecture.

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  3. AVF:

    The hysteria was pronounced in assumptions of facts, upon which there were strings of allegations and blame. None of the clowns writing these comments on the blogs knew a thing about what really happened. Even the current reports in the media reveal quite little. Meanwhile, the "advocates" continue to spew their messages of hate, without doing a single thing to actually promote child safety anywhere.

    Prior to the summer, there were numerous meetings with schools, yeshivos, and camps to discuss safety plans. For anyone that cares, go back to see who conducted these meetings, made the presentations, and sat down to develop the plans. To the best of my knowledge, none of the "advocates" was involved. But they are all on the internet casting blame at everything that is frum.

    Dear friends, there will unfortunately always be crime and evil in the world. Until Moshiach, we will need to deal with it. Our community has improved greatly in this area, and there is much more to do. No argument. But if these hate-mongers would shut up a bit, listen to the facts, and look to learn lessons from this incident, everyone, adult and child alike, would stand to gain. And this does not require media coverage.

    Rabbi Eidensohn has at least published books and articles on the subject, which can benefit all. He has not used his blog for shmearing reputations of anyone. This is NOT a lashon horah website, and RDE is to be commended for this. As for the mob that yells the loudest at the inkling of anything in this subject, it is hard to find an accomplishment to name. The bast thing to do is sit back, learn the true facts as they emerge, and adapt safety policies to serve the klal better. Is that too much to expect?

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  4. It ain't over till its over and this story is far from over. Just mark my words. As soon as the kids come home a whole new twist of what REALLY happened will emerge.

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  5. It should be OBVIOUS to any fair-minded person that anyone furtively sneaking into bunks in a camp -- in the dead of night -- can only be up to no-good. Can we at least all agree on that?

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    1. And therefore based solely on that observations we declare the campers liars, the camp administration corrupt and the police investigation to be a coverup?!

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  6. I saw with my own eyes a shul youth director fondling an 8 year old boy.

    I went to the police as I was told to do by my posek.

    The police "investigation" amounted to the "detective" asking the perp if he had ever molested anyone and then asking the rabbi if he had ever noticed anything "strange".

    Meanwhile this perp was wanted on an open arrest warrant (which the police had) for aggravated child abuse in another State. Since that State would not pay to extradite, the local police could not make the arrest.

    The perp had been run out of Toronto for molesting 2 boys and had been fired from NCSY and Jewish boy scouts yet no one from any of these organizations was willing to talk to the police.

    The rabbi who told the police that he had never noticed anything strange, told another rabbi who is a family friend of ours that he had long suspected something fishy about this guy but that he did not want to "ruin his family".

    As a parent,I am SICK of our children being human sacrifices to the idols of Baal. Few who attend shuls, yeshivos or camps manage to escape becoming sexual sacrifices to the idolatrous gods. There is something terribly wrong with the whole system and the communities that tolerate it and protect the molesters.

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    1. The rabbi "suspecting something fishy" without knowing, is not a basis for him to tell the police questioning him that he saw something.

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  7. How you can even remotely sound critical of people appearing hysterical about someone who has infringed suddenly thinking its normal to be in a bunk for an hour is beyond me.
    Have you lost your sense of perspective?

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    1. I agree that having a sex offender prowling around a camp bunk at night is reason to be upset. But it doesn't justify the claim that were thrown around before the police investigated and are now being thrown around after the police have investigated.

      If you have evidence that there is in fact a major coverup - please produce the evidence and I will be glad to publish it. better yet why not tell the police about it.

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  8. How do you know its false ? This community has a long history of pressuring victims to not report !.

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    1. The police have stated they have not found any evidence to justify the allegations. How else would you characterize an allegation which police fail to find evidence for after conducting an investigation?

      I didn't conduct the investigation nor did you. If you wish to introduce something more substantial than suspicions that the kids, camp administration and police are lying (or incompetent) - please do so.

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    2. Rabbi E,

      Perhaps you're not as familiar with the legal terms used by the police. I am. All that's been said is that there have not been found " any allegations of abuse". That poshut means that no one has told the police they were abused. And that is all it means.

      Given the history of the chareidi community in this regard, the only issue that people are being chosehed is that children have been intimidated into not revealing what truly occurred. The remainder of your contentions about the 'hysteria' are incorrect:

      - No one is saying the children are 'lying'; they're saying they may have been intimidated into silence.
      - No one is saying the police are in on it; they can only make a case if they've been presented with one.

      Again, given the community's history, given that a day and a half elapsed before law enforcement was brought in, and given that statements have been made on the record that indicate a shocking naïveté about the nature of child abuse, commenters here take grave issue with the title of this post.

      Nothing has been 'rejected'. Instead, there is ample reason to be concerned that the police were,nice again, stymied by the well oiled gears of the chareidi community.

      Dan


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    3. So what do you want a post titled "Chareidim coverup abuse again and block police investigation"

      I don't have any evidence for this - it is only conjecture. If you want to present evidence to the police or get others to then do so.

      Your conjecture is possible - but it is still up to the police to determine its validity. As long as they have determined after an investigation that nothing has happened and no one has presented evidence contrary - I have no basis for rejecting the conclusion of the police.

      I find it troubling that despite the fact we have been calling for police and social services to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and not rely on rabbis - but when they do we say we can't trust their competence.

      According to you why don't we castrate and hang all people that someone suspects of being an abuser - and not waste our time on investigation?

      I have no problem with pressing for more evidence - but at the same time it is important to acknowledge that so far the police have rejected the valadity of the allegations.

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    4. Clever retort, but you know full well that I don't want the opposite extreme of a headline. I want a balanced one. As I said, the police rejected nothing; they said there are no allegations.

      And, I find it equally hard to believe that you don't know the history of 'askanus' and its influence with government agencies. That's one additional reason why the abuse issue could be covered up for so many decades. So, stop playing the "but the police WERE called" card. They were called a day and a half too late, which absolutely smacks of a full-blown attempt to do damage control, if not outright coverup.

      And I agree with the poster who notes that when it comes to A Friedman, you're at the front of the line trumpeting the allegations. Interesting.


      Dan

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    5. In the Friedman case there is no one identified as the assailant and I am simply stating that Friedman has filed a complaint with the police. In contrast in the Camp Shalva case you are insisting that abuse happened but is being silenced. At the present time such allegations have no support and have been rejected by the police based on the present evidence. In contrast the police have not rejected Friedman's allegations are currently investigating the matter. Apples and Oranges!

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  9. WTH was he doing, then? Tucking them in???

    I understand that there is no testimony corroborating the suspicions, but to call it hysteria and imply that the reaction to a videotape showing an adult male stranger entering bunkhouse after bunkhouse in the dead of night was unreasonable is really unconscionable. And quite disappointing.

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    1. it is hysteria when accusation that children were in fact molested - based solely on the fact that he was there and that the camp administration must therefore have orchestrated a coverup - because he was there and must have molested kids.

      It is obviously totally reasonable to suspect that children were molested under these circumstances. But not to assert that they definitely were.

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  10. If there was any basis to the allegation of abuse, the police would have found it when questioning the campers. The fact the campers were questioned and told the cops nothing happened to them, is a good basis to believe nothing happened to them. There is no reason to believe anyone threatened the campers to lie.

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  11. Dass torah. Are u suggesting that there is enough raglayim ledavar or not enough to make an accusation? And if there isn't enough what would it ttake in your opion to be considered enough of a raglayim ledavar to make it suspicous enough to arrest him

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    1. Of course there is enough basis to call the police. It is up to the police to investigate and determine whether to arrest the suspect and what charges to press.

      There is a major difference between imagining what happened and verifying. One is a lynch mob and the other is a rational legal system. If you think the legal system is not adequate then please make suggestions for improvement. Again we do not lynch people merely because of the possibility that a crime was committed.

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  12. On vosizneas " The police were first notified about the incident by Survivors for Justice, a group that advocates for victims of sexual abuse. Survivors for Justice said they received word that the male campers had been molested by a trespasser, but that campers were instructed not to contact their parents.".

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    1. Did the one who notified Survivors for Justice speak to the police? If not why and if he/she did then why are the police claim they have no basis for molestation?

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  13. To Daas Torah

    It is so curious how even-handed you are about this investigation whereas with Friedman's alleged assault YOU are the hysterical one making accusations, assuming guilt when the investigation has also not yet verified that an assault occurred. And yet there, you condemn anyone who doubts it until the final report appears as having some ulterior psychological motive. When you want you react when you want you stay cool and you accuse anyone who is doing the opposite of you as hysterical or in denial.

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    1. you are the one who is being hysterical. Please tell me the parties I have I accused? All I have said is that Aharon Friedman has claimed to have been assaulted and filed a police report.

      There are still those who claim that the allegations are false despite the existence of an ongoing police investigation.

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  14. I do know that molestation unfortunately DOES EXIST IN OUR COMMUNITIES, and I also know that as a community we have shamefully put way WAY MORE EFFORT INTO COVERING IT UP RATHER THEN INTO DEALING WITH IT. May Hashem help us find our way in this most difficult challenge; to step up and deal with this issue in a way that truly creates a Kavod Shomayim.
    Having said that, I did originally believe that once again we are witnessing molestation and it’s cover-up in this case. And the fact that the police concur that there are no allegations of molestation frankly means nothing to me, as some other commenters have well expressed; silence the witness and chances are great that you will get no allegations.
    However, after some more thought, I realized there are some questions here that make me feel something doesn’t quite add up, thus perhaps the truth is being said this time.
    Firstly, if one knows the dynamics of a camp bunk, and one knows the dynamics of molestation, I think one would need to question, how exactly did this happen? The perp comes into a bunk full of sleeping boys, goes over to one boy, and starts to molest him. Now if victim wakes up, or any other boy in the room sees this happening, I just can’t imagine that they wouldn’t start screaming to wake their friends and fight off this intruder.
    Also, in my opinion the camp Hanhala is very capable of silencing one victim, or one witness, but not more than one. The boys might go along with the Manahal while they are in his presence, but no way can I see them deciding to never to discuss this between themselves anymore and just pretend it didn’t happen, if they have the support of a fellow bunk mate who also knows the truth.
    And lastly, who did the research that uncovered that the intruder was a registered sex offender? It would seem to me that the Hanhala were the ones who had access to the tapes. They were the ones who identified the intruder, and then they did the research to check the sex offender registry. I believe this is some movement in the right direction, that the Hanhala knew to check, and they actually even knew how to check.
    So this is what I purpose happened.
    The intruder did do his rounds during 4-5 am as reported. I do believe he was up to no good. I assume he was looking for an isolated boy who he could start up with, but he just didn’t find him.
    Some boys were up or woke up and saw the intruder. They were scared. They discussed this between their friends. They decide they need to tell the Hanhala. Hanhala says we will investigate, we have these camera etc, but we think you shouldn’t tell your parents yet until we find out what really happened, because why scare them for nothing?
    They see the camera, identify the intruder, do their research, find out he’s a sex offender, inform his boss to save him from going to other camps, and then also call the police. Hanhala also insist on being present while the police question the boys, which I do think was a responsible thing on their part, given the cultural differences and the language barriers between the police and the boys.
    If this is actually what happened, I do think we have made some progress in this area, and we should applaud Bobov for what they did right, rather than search for what they did wrong.
    I invite anyone knowing the dynamics of a Chassidishe Boys Camp, and the dynamics of molestation to comment on what they think might have plausibly happened.

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    1. Finally a balanced commentAugust 19, 2012 at 8:47 PM

      I applaud someone for contributing a balanced comment. I, too, am concerned with the time delay until police were called. But the steps that the camp took were reasonable and well thought through.

      We should note that the hysteria that shines forth from many of the commenters here and elsewhere is based on a series of assumptions made about what really happened. Among those which rile up the worst of them - that children were told not to speak to their parents. I have been in contact with several parents, and this never happened. We should also note that media was trying to get into the camp to interview children. Who summoned them? The State Police do not ever bring in the media, as this would jeopardize their investigation. The camp did not for sure. The parents did not, and the alleged perpetrator did not either. So by our process of elimination, we have once again caught our favorite "advocates" again utilizing their hateful attitude toward the Torah world, pushing that agenda through the media. When these idiots will realize that chilul Hashem will obliterate any of their best efforts at investing in teshuvah during Elul, maybe they will start to care. Now, who is the real perpetrator?

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  15. If there are cultural differences and u need somebody there while the interview takes place then why was it thhe guy who told them not to talk. Just get anyone that can explain anything in yiddissh. Hahala being there is a conflict of intrest

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    1. Ho'emes Yoreh DarkoAugust 20, 2012 at 2:33 AM

      I verified for the third time. The children were NEVER told not to talk to parents. The problem is that rumors carry an inertia that entices all those who wish to think evil of the camp. Maybe we can have an increased measure of appreciation for the preoccupation of the Chofetz Chaim with the issurim of lashon horah and rechilus. Just mumble a single dramatic falsehood, and it will come to life, traveling the world, provoking the extremes of accusations, creating entire belief systems, becoming its own entity to which mankind falls prey. We watched this with the nonsense about molestation that was strewn about after the Kletzky tragedy when it was completely irrelevant. And it seems that there are some fabricated "facts" here all over again. Such a shame that falsehood lives so well among us.

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  16. Now from a news station
    By MARY MURPHY pix11.com | @murphypix 10:40 p.m. EDT, August 20, 2012 SPRING VALLEY, NY (PIX11)—PIX 11 tried demanding answers Monday from a food company in Spring Valley, about a registered sex offender who was allowed to deliver orders to a “sleepaway” camp for Orthodox Jewish boys in Sullivan County. 31 year old Yoel Oberlander was arrested August 9th, charged with criminal trespassing, after surveillance cameras showed him going in and out of bunk rooms at Camp Shalva at 5 in the morning on August 8th. Some of the boys said they woke up to a man tickling them. Now, one parent is telling PIX 11 that children received strict orders not to speak about the case. “The kids were warned that morning that they should not be talking to each other about the incident,” the father, who wants to remain anonymous, told PIX. The man said he feared reprisals from the Bobover sect in Borough Park, Brooklyn, which runs the upstate camp. Oberlander was on probation for six years, after a 2002 case involving the sexual abuse of an 11 year old girl. Ben Hirsch, leader of the children's advocacy group, Survivors for Justice, said he notified New York State police 40 hours after the incident, after a parent called him with information appearing on a Yiddish chat site. Hirsch claims the camp's first call was to a criminal defense attorney! When we tried to reach one lawyer representing Camp Shalva Monday, we received no call back. We also tried to call the rabbi in charge of the bunkhouse where the 12 and 13 year old boys were sleeping, but got his voicemail. PIX 11 did manage to get inside the Golden Taste foods warehouse in Spring Valley, which produces appetizers and dips, where Yoel Oberlander works. The staff there was not happy to see us. They repeatedly told us to leave the premises, when we asked if they knew Oberlander was a registered sex offender--and whether he should be delivering food to a children’s camp. Outside Golden Taste Inc, in the parking lot, we noticed Oberlander’s 2007 gray Mazda. People who appear on the New York State Sex Offenders Registry are required to list the car they drive and license plate number. A number of Orthodox men went in and out of the warehouse with cell phones, getting into cars and driving around to see where our news truck was parked--and where we were stationed. An aerial photo of Camp Shalva in Sullivan County shows the delivery area for trucks is very far away from the bunkhouse where the 12 and 13 year old boys were sleeping. The lawyer for the camp told one newspaper there was “not enough time for any molestation to take place.” Parents are still outraged, telling PIX 11 “there’s been no addressing of this issue from a mental health perspective.” Copyright © 2012, WPIX-TV

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