By Eric Aiken (The Alegemeiner Journal)
August 23, 2016
Note: This is the first of a two-part article. Part 2 is here.
More than a year and a half ago, I made a Freedom of Information Law request (FOIL) to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. I wanted the photos and arrest reports of 15 Orthodox men who were convicted by the Brooklyn DA of child sex crimes.
Having access to both the photos and arrest reports is important for the public. Parents need a photo so they can identify Orthodox child sex predators in their communities, and keep them away from their kids. In addition, many individuals share the same name. Only a photo can help the public separate the innocent from the guilty.
The arrest report also contains crucial information. Few people realize how disgusting, perverted, and sub-human Orthodox child sex predators can be without having access to this information — as difficult and horrifying as it is to read.
The case of Moshe Friedman illustrates why the arrest report is needed. In a criminal case currently in the Brooklyn court system, Moshe Friedman was arrested on child sex abuse charges. His name didn’t show up on any blog, website, or media report.
A source gave me a redacted copy of Friedman’s arrest report. The report states that Friedman sodomized a young boy with a banana, bit the boy’s penis, beat him and shoved rags into the boy’s mouth. He then put a gun to the boy’s head, threatening to kill him and his family if the boy told anyone what happened. According to the report, this occurred multiple times per month and over the course of a year and a half.
Another source told me that when the rabbis at Friedman’s school were informed of the allegations against Friedman, they didn’t call the police. Rabbis rarely do, no matter how serious the allegations. Someone else reported Friedman to the police.
I forwarded the information I had about Friedman to a network of child victim advocates. One of them knew a reporter who sent a photographer to the Brooklyn courthouse where Friedman was being tried. The result is that I (and now the public) have a photo of him, and that the New York Daily News ran a story on him.
Rabbis and Orthodox officials frequently ignore, minimize, or cover up known Orthodox child sex predators. They do this to prevent the Orthodox community from discovering the humiliating truth about how common and pervasive child sexual abuse is.
When an Orthodox individual is convicted of a child sex crime, few people know what he did because they rarely have access to the arrest reports. If the public knew, I believe that there would be much more outrage about the way that rabbis cover up and protect these dangerous criminals.
The Brooklyn DA’s office told me that they didn’t have the photos or arrest reports of any of the 15 men that I asked about — even though the DA’s office confirmed to me in writing that they prosecuted and convicted them. The DA’s office told me that I should send my request to the NYPD instead.
So I did.
The NYPD refused to give me a single record that I requested. I appealed NYPD’s decision to the FOIL appeals officer, Jonathan David. He made me wait nearly 5 months before he issued his decision — that he wasn’t going to give me a single one of the records that I requested. He made the ridiculous claim that releasing the photos and redacted arrest reports of any of these 15 convicted Orthodox child sex offenders would identify their victims and thereby violate the victims’ right to privacy.
This is nonsense. Releasing an Orthodox child molester’s photo doesn’t identify his victim and neither does issuing a redacted arrest report. But it does embarrass the rabbis who cover up and protect Orthodox child molesters, and run the Orthodox institutions in which the abuse frequently occurs.
Interestingly, Mr. David’s argument that releasing the photos of convicted Orthodox child sex offenders would violate the law doesn’t seem to apply to the 24,000 non-Orthodox registered sex offenders on New York’s public sex offender registry.
New York’s public registry is able to include the pictures and conviction records of 24,000 sex offenders without violating any law, identifying a single victim, or violating the rights of anyone. But for the Orthodox men that I want to know about, the Brooklyn DA and NYPD are adamant that every single one of them must be shielded from public view.
The Brooklyn DA has a long history of ignoring and covering-up rampant child sexual abuse in Orthodox neighborhoods and allowing rabbis to punish victims who testify against their abuser. In the second article of this series, I will show how the current DA, Kenneth Thompson, continues the corrupt legacy of his predecessor, Charles Hynes.
Eric Aiken is the owner of www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.