Related to Sexual Abuse by Rabbi Who Escaped Criminal Prosecution in Florida
Experienced NYPD Commanding Officer Says Internal Reporting Perilous
WHAT: A sidewalk press conference where advocate for survivors of sexual abuse Asher Lovy and attorneys of a man identified as Anonymous RS will demand reform of the Educational Institute Oholei Torah of Brooklyn’s practice of requiring reports of child sexual abuse to be reported to religious community officials instead of law enforcement. Participants will also discuss court documents where the man requests permission to file a civil lawsuit relating to sexual abuse against the Educational Institute Oholei Torah of Brooklyn and Rabbi Joseph (Yossi) Reizes. A Retired NYPD Commanding Officer will then discuss the perils of reporting child sexual abuse to inexperienced and untrained administrators.
WHEN: September 3, 2019 at 2:00 pm EDT
WHERE: Pedestrian Walkway in front of Oholei Torah School, 667 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213.
WHO: Attorney Patrick Noaker – Attorney for man identified as Anonymous RS.
Timothy Hardiman, Retired – NYPD Commanding Officer 71st Precinct Detective Squad (Crown Heights) and Brooklyn Special Victims Squad – Viceroy Investigations & Consulting LLC.
Asher Lovy – Za’akah (See below).
CONTACT: Patrick Noaker cell (612) 839-1080
Today, a man, identified as Anonymous RS, filed court documents seeking permission to sue the Educational Institute Oholei Torah of Brooklyn Inc. and Rabbi Joseph (Yossi) Reizes for damages relating to sexual abuse by the Rabbi from 1986 through 1992, beginning when the man was a student at Oholei Torah. The man is requesting the Court to allow him to proceed with a civil lawsuit by using the name Anonymous RS in order to preserve the man’s privacy regarding the sexual abuse that began when he was 12 years-old and preparing for his Bar Mitzvah.
The man, speaking through his attorney Patrick Noaker, stated: “I am bringing this lawsuit because children attending Oholei Torah School are still at risk for sexual abuse. It is very sad that what happened to me could still happen to a boy today, because the Oholei Torah School and the Chabad-Lubavitch community refuse to put in place child protection measures like reporting all suspicions of child sexual abuse to the proper civil authorities.”
Here, Rabbi Reizes was the topic of a Newsweek article dated March 3, 2016, where a Florida man reported that he was sexually abused in approximately 1981 by Rabbi Reizes, while the Rabbi taught at a school in south Florida. According to the article, the boy’s mother complained to the school and Rabbi Reizes fled to Brooklyn to teach at the Educational Institute Oholei Torah of Brooklyn. According to the article, Rabbi Reizes was ultimately terminated from Oholei Torah after additional allegations of sexual abuse of children arose. Yet, law enforcement was never notified about Rabbi Reizes’ crimes. Instead, they were handled internally.
According to co-counsel Leander James, “child sex crimes is a specialty even with law enforcement professionals. Even with the best of intentions, when untrained administrators attempt to conduct these investigations, the perpetrators manipulate the investigation and the victim, which allows those perpetrators to escape criminal prosecution and then continue to sexually abuse more children.”
Retired NYPD Commanding Officer of Brooklyn Special Victims Unit, Timothy Hardiman, agrees, saying, “investigating child sexual abuse reports is very complex and shouldn’t be attempted by anyone who has not been highly trained. Only experienced and well-trained investigators should ever question a child or a suspect about a report of sexual abuse. Persons without this training and experience are at risk of missing or contaminating significant evidence and arriving at flawed conclusions and significant crimes undetected.” See ChildFirst Forensic Interview Protocol.
The Plaintiff has filed court documents that request permission for him to pursue a civil case while remaining anonymous. According to Matthew Lombardi, one of the attorneys representing the man, “New York has a long tradition of protecting the identity of victims of sexual assault. The law does not want a situation where a victim of sexual abuse does not report the abuse because they are fearful of public humiliation, therefore allowing a child abuser to go unchecked. This is especially true in this case, where hundreds of children were exposed to Rabbi Reizes and those children may have also been abused.”
Educational Institute Oholei Torah is the premier yeshiva for the worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch Movement, drawing students from around the world and providing a vast majority of the Chabad emissaries from amongst its graduates. The Chabad-Lubavitch movement’s world headquarters is located at 770 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY; just down the street from the Educational Institute Ohoeli Torah of Brooklyn. There are 1,145 Chabad-Lubavitch “centers” in the United States, according to their website, including 207 in New York alone. In total, their website states that there are 4,500 “full-time emissary families” working with more than 3,500 institutions worldwide. Their mission is to use modern technology to unite Jewish people worldwide and “foster a deeper connection to Judaism’s rituals and faith.”
Patrick Noaker is an attorney licensed to practice law in New York, Minnesota and Missouri, with offices in Minneapolis, New York and Chicago who has represented hundreds of survivors of sexual assault across the country. Patrick is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has won multiple jury verdicts and settlements exceeding a million dollars.
Matthew Lombardi is the senior associate attorney with the law firm of Tolmage, Peskin, Harris & Falick in New York. Matthew is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey, as well as the Southern and Eastern districts of US Federal Court. Matthew sits on the Board of directors for the New York State Trial lawyers Association.
Leander James is a founding shareholder of the law firm of James, Vernon & Weeks P.A. He believes legal empowerment transforms lives, and he has committed his career to empowering his clients. His civil litigation and trial practice are focused on obtaining large settlements and verdicts. He helps sexual abuse survivors and the catastrophically injured reclaim their lives. Mr. James was a principal architect of the $166 million Northwest Jesuit sexual abuse settlement that included non-monetary terms for protection of children. His current cases include Catholic abuse cases in New York, Hawaii, Minnesota and other states. He testifies before legislatures, and he has assisted in drafting key legislation, including New York State’s Child Victims Act. His appellate cases have established precedent. His practice is national in scope.
Asher Lovy – Za’akah is dedicated to raising awareness about child sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community, supporting survivors of child sexual abuse, participating in educational events in the community and around New York State, and helping pass legislative reforms concerning child sexual abuse, like Erin’s Law the Child Victims Act.
Timothy J. Hardiman is currently the owner of Viceroy Investigations & Consulting LLC. Mr. Hardiman is a 23-year veteran of the NYPD. He retired as an Inspector serving as the Commanding Officer of the 47th Precinct in the Bronx. Mr. Hardiman has extensive investigative experience having served as the Commanding Officer of the 71st Precinct Detective Squad in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and as the Commanding Officer of the Brooklyn Special Victims Squad. He also served as a supervisor in the Principal Crime Unit of the Intelligence Division. Mr. Hardiman has provided instruction at the NYPD’s Criminal Investigation Course as well as its Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Course. He has been a presenter at numerous seminars dealing with Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigation. Mr. Hardiman is an instructor with the Southern Police Institute’s Sex Crimes Investigation class. In this capacity he developed and teaches three days of instruction. Prior to joining the NYPD Mr. Hardiman served in the United States Marine Corps as a Nuclear Biological and Chemical Warfare NCO.