Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rav Chaim Flohr's beis din supports abuse reporter Kellner against D.A. Hynes regarding alleged abuser Leibovitz

NYTimes   Five years ago, this gray-bearded and excitable man with a black velvet yarmulke spoke out about the sexual abuse of his 16-year-old son by a prominent Hasidic cantor. As Mr. Kellner helped investigators with the Brooklyn district attorney’s office search for other young Orthodox victims of this man, the Orthodox establishment grew ever angrier at him. The rabbi at his Hasidic synagogue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, denounced Mr. Kellner as a traitor and forbade parishioners to talk with him on the street. Yeshivas barred his sons. His businesses dried up — he pawned his silverware to meet his bills. And he still fears that he will never find a marriage match for his son.  

“I felt murdered and abandoned,” Mr. Kellner said. “I’m ruined.” 

This, however, was a prologue to a worse situation. In April 2011, after the district attorney’s office gained a conviction against that cantor, Baruch Lebovits, the prosecutors turned around and obtained an indictment of Mr. Kellner. They said, based on a secret tape and the grand jury testimony of a prominent Satmar supporter of Mr. Lebovits, that he had tried to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mr. Lebovits. 

District Attorney Charles J. Hynes has shown great deference to the politically powerful Hasidic community over the years, and it has rewarded him with large margins on election days. Even his heralded crackdown on Hasidic sexual abuse was a fist wrapped in the softest velvet, as he took the unusual step of refusing to publicize the names of defendants — even the convicted.[...]

Two weeks ago, I talked with the three-member rabbinical court — known as a Beit Din — in Monsey. These rabbis rarely grant interviews, but spoke now of their moral obligation. Their community for too long has resisted coming to grips with sexual abuse. 

They view Mr. Kellner as a brave pioneer. He did not seek out witnesses at random; rather their court, with the help of local leaders in Williamsburg, gave him the name of a victim. 

“Lebovits is known to have a long history” of sexual abuse, Rabbi Chaim Flohr said. But Mr. Lebovits has powerful supporters, and people are fearful, he added. 

Mr. Lebovits’s lawyers maintain that he is innocent of all charges. 

The rabbis frowned at talk of extortion. Mr. Kellner spoke to them of being offered bribes, and of his determination not to let abusers buy him off. “We are not aware of Mr. Kellner ever asking for money,” Rabbi Flohr said.


  1. The NYT article states, "He did not seek out witnesses at random; rather their court, with the help of local leaders in Williamsburg, gave him the name of a victim."

    Translation: By local leaders they mean the Vaad Hatzinius of Boro Park and the Vaad of Williamsburg.

    So we have a pedophile so prolific that the vaad that usually deals with cases internally, decided that Lebovits had to be prosecuted.

    1. If there was anybody that was in the "kalah de'lo paseck" club, (ongoing rumers) it was Lebovitz.

      Apparently the "gaas" (street) has been saying this about him for THIRTY FIVE YEARS!!!

      For all those years there where victims and families that suffered in silence.

  2. This is a great development, R' Chaim Flohr is known as an extreme right wing extremest (more extreme than Satmar) and a "kanoi". The fact that he is defending a "traitor" like kellner, helps demolish the notion that reporting is not "the frum way" ("Mir tut es nisht").

    The problem is that those that are willing to defend children, are GOING TO LOSE EVERYTHING. We have to stop this terrible trend. Molesters know, make sure you do it in Lakewood or Boro park and the victims family will be forced to cover it up, or face devastating repercussions.


    R' Doniel, as you know the best/only defense is a good offense. You have done unbelievable work in educating the "oilam" about this problem. I suggest you start encouraging your thousands of readers and followers be "mechabade" (Honoring)the families. Let's try when we can to publicly display That we see these people as the real heroes!! (Example: inviting a certain massive Talmud Chachum to come be the featured speaker at a function...).

  3. Has R"Chaim Flohr ever said anything regarding Weberman after all they are both Malochim


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.