Rabbi Manis Friedman
After he made offensive, hurtful and idiotic remarks about child sexual abuse victims and the nature of child sexual abuse itself, claiming that pedophilia itself doesn't injure children and that whatever damage children appear to get from child sexual abuse was already there, "collateral damage" that victims need to just "get over," Rabbi Manis Friedman issued a clarification that conflicted with his previously released remarks and offered no clarity.
Then late last night, Friedman issued an apology, emailing it to a newspaper in Australia and to the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.
But when Australia's The Age reported the story today, it contained this rather curious assertion:
"After The Age reported Rabbi Friedman's remarks on Friday, Chabad Lubavitch said Rabbi Friedman was not a Chabad emissary, as reported, but a Minnesota-based teacher who did not speak for Chabad."
I checked to see if Friedman still appeared on Chabad.org's official list of Chabad representatives in Minnesota, where he has lived for decades.
He does. Note the time and date stamp at top right of the screenshot. Please click to enlarge:
Here's Friedman listed on Lubavitch.com, the official website of Chabad's International Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York:
In other words, Chabad lied.
But which Chabad?
Because of the timing of the article and the location of the journalist and the paper, the Chabad office that lied about Friedman is almost certainly Chabad's Australia and New Zealand headquarters in Melbourne – in other words, Chabad's Yeshivah Centre, the rabbis who are accused of covering up child sexual abuse and protecting pedophiles.
The massive scandal surrounding Chabad's Yeshivah Centre has been national news in Australia where police have openly condemned Chabad community leadership for what we would call in the United States obstruction of justice. Several of these community leaders – including Chabad's top rabbis – could eventually be prosecuted for their roles in the coverups of this child sexual abuse and for attempts to intimidate victims and their families.
As it is, one Chabad pedophile with at least 12 known victims vetted by police is due to stand trial this summer. Another was recently extradited from the US. In all, there are allegedly several more pedophiles in Chabad yet to be arrested. And there are many more victims.
It isn't unusual for men who face the very real possibility of prosecution and prison to do what they can, including lie, to protect themselves.
Rabbi Manis Friedman is an official Chabad representative and has been continually since the late 1960s. He's internationally known and is a household name in English-speaking Chabad households worldwide, including in Melbourne.
And there is no chance whatsoever that Chabad in Melbourne – or Chabad anywhere else – did not know this.