Vos Iz Neias
June 18, 2013
Brooklyn, NY - The embattled Orthodox Jewish father of a sexual abuse victim, who saw the conviction of his son’s abuser overturned after he, himself, was charged with extortion, says he continues to move forward in his search for the “truth,” but wonders what his future holds even if he succeeds in proving his innocence.
In profiling the five-year legal journey of Sam Kellner, the NEW YORK TIMES (http://bit.ly/16DQhlv) takes an in-depth look at chronology of his struggles, which began with his controversial decision to assist authorities in prosecuting a prominent Hasidic cantor, all the way up to his current status, which has him preparing to defend himself against charges brought by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office.
Kellner comes across as, more or less, a “pawn” caught in a political chess match between the political power-wielding factions of Hasidic hierarchy and members of the Monsey rabbinical court who express a deep commitment in defending the rights of sexual abuse victims.
And at the heart of the matter lies a controversial tape recording, which prosecutors allege clearly proves “witness tampering” by Kellner, but which advocates for Kellner say is “ambiguous” at best.
One of Kellner’s main advocates continues to be Rabbi Cheskel Gold, a member of the rabbinical court of Monsey, the authority that originally granted Kellner permission to assist authorities in the first place.
Rabbi Gold warns that a Kellner conviction could have serious long term ramifications in the fight against child sexual abuse.
“If he’s convicted, no one will ever come forward again,” said Gold. “No one.”