By Shamrya Rosenberg (Failed Messiah blog)
August 17, 2012
A man creeps into a bunkhouse of a hasidic boys camp at approximately 4:00 am. He is seen on security camera footage in the bunkhouse hallway, going in and out of the rooms where 12- and 13-year-old boys are sleeping. He spends a few minutes in several of these rooms. Bobov waits almost 32 hours before reporting the incident. And Bobov claims that the man could not have abused the boys because there was "not enough time to commit an act of molestation." This claim is clearly false, but police seem to be accepting it as true. Why?
You may recall that I had an extensive report on the incident at Camp Shalva in South Fallsburg a week ago.
The convicted sex offender mentioned in that post was arrested yesterday and charged with…trespassing.
That's right. Trespassing.
Why wasn't Yoel Oberlander charged with abusing children?
State Police Capt. Joseph Tripodo told the NY Post yesterday that its investigation found “no allegation of sexual abuse.”
However, sources in the hasidic community allege that the kids were forbidden by the camp administration to tell police about being touched by the intruder. They were also allegedly forbidden to call their parents and tell them about what happened, leaving the kids at mercy of the camp's administrator, Rabbi Bakon, who is, these sources claim, cruel and sadistic.
These hasidic sources also claim that investigators interviewed the children in the presence of Bobov camp officials, including Bakon, and the kids could not speak freely as a result.
E. David Scharf, an attorney acting as Bobov's spokesperson – himself a member of a prominent Bobov family – claims that the intruder didn't spend enough time in the rooms to sexually abuse anyone.
The intruder was seen on security camera footage of the bunkhouse halls “going in and out of the sleeping quarters. with not enough time to commit an act of molestation,” Scharf told the Post.
It takes just a few seconds for a sex offender to grope a boy's genitals or to fondle other body parts. If the intruder was in a room 30 seconds or more – and Oberlander was, spending several minutes in rooms according what a Bobov source told me last week – there was enough time for a molestation to take place.
Some of the kids from the camp disregarded Bakon's order not to tell parents or friends about what happened, and their stories were circulating in a Yiddish chat room less than a day after the incident took place. The boys said that the intruder "tickled" them, using Hebrew/Yiddish terms for the spot(s) "tickled" that translate as "foot," "arm," and "leg" but which are euphemisms sometimes used in rabbinic literature in place of "penis," "testicles" and "genitals." (And even if the intruder "only" fondled the boys' feet, in the context that the incidents took place, that itself is sexual abuse.)
Bobov failed to report the abuse for well over 30 hours, and when it did "report," it did so to a former district attorney who now works as a defense attorney, not to police. That "report" came after Survivors for Justice had been told of the abuse by its own sources and had reported it to the Office of Children and Family Services 20 minutes after being told. (SFJ had to find the correct agency to report to for abuse taking place in Sullivan County in a camp, not in a school. Otherwise the report would have been made seconds after being told of the abuse.)
Bobov sources tried to justify their 32 hour reporting delay, as you can see from my report last week, by claiming that it took time to determine who it should report to. What took SFJ 20 minutes to do took Bobov about 32 hours. And even then, Bobov "reported" to a defense attorney – not to the Office of Children and Family Services or to police.
Oberlander should be facing years in state prison. But because of Bobov's misbehavior and questionable behavior by state police, he's only facing a slap on the wrist.