A leading Chabad rabbi was arrested yesterday for failure to report the sexual abuse of minors under the age of 15. He allegedly was told by many parents of the Chabad boy's school in Paris that their children had been sexually abused by a school supervisor. The rabbi, however, did not report the abuse to police and allegedly ordered families to remain silent to protect the name of Chabad.
Updated 2-26-2013 at 6:00 am CST
Another Chabad Child Sex Abuse Scandal Erupts – This Time, In Paris
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A 55-year-old Chabad rabbi, Binyamin M., was indicted in Paris yesterday for "non-reporting of sexual abuse of minors under the age of 15-year-old,” a French newspaper, The Parisien, and a French radio station, RTL, reported this morning.
Media reports say the rabbi is a principal at Chabad’s Bais Chana school in Paris, and that he also teaches math there.
But the victims appear to be boys and the rabbi appears to be the principal of Chabad’s boy’s school located at 18 Passage des S. Simoniens – Rabbi Binyomin Mergui – and a Paris source familiar with Mergui and the school confirms that Mergui is, indeed, "Rabbi Binyamin M."
Mergui was told by parents over the summer that their children were allegedly molested by a trusted school supervisor. A school supervisor holds a position similar to a teacher's aide in the US. He watches the children during recess, accompanies them on field trips, and makes sure all the children are where they are supposed to be at any given time.
But when parents told Mergui about the sexual abuse, he did nothing about it.
Then more parents came forward and complained that their children had been molested by the supervisor.
Not only did the rabbi continue fail to call police or report the crimes, but he also warned parents that they were forbidden to call police themselves, because doing so would bring “shame” on the school, the name of Chabad, and the name of the [late] Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
One of the families broke ranks and told police, which led to an investigation. The supervisor was indicted in November. Mergui was arrested yesterday for failure to report the crimes.
A Paris source tells me that in court today, Mergui told the judge that he did not call police or allow parents to do so because in Jewish law it is forbidden to be a moser, informer.
Mergui allegedly was ordered not to call police by Chabad’s head emissary in Paris, Rabbi Shmuel Azimov.
The supervisor was dismissed by the Chabad school, however, and sent to live in Marseille, France with Chabad there. A French source tells me that the supervisor was arrested there today.
Chabad denied any wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for Chabad in Paris, Rabbi Chaim Nisenbaum, "very strongly" condemned the acts the supervisor is alleged to have committed and said that the supervisor had been laid off by Mergui,
and then dismissed.
"[Mergui] did not consider it necessary to file a complaint on behalf of the school because he had met with families who did. He did not want to add [to what they had done]," Nisenbaum claimed. He said Mergui made this decision "alone,' without input from Chabad's national leadership or its International leadership in Brooklyn, New York. "Legally, it is probably wrong, but it is more a moral [issue] than a legal [issue]. [Mergui] in no way tried to dissuade families" from making [police] complaints, Nisenbaum insisted. Nisenbaum also said that he believes that "there was no attempt to hide anything."
Here's the RTL report in French. Please click the gray bar to listen. The report is brief and runs for less than a minute: