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May 10, 2013

Seattle Day School Teacher Charged With Child Sexual Abuse

Handcuffs Orange Jumpsuit“The defendant is a clear danger to children given the circumstances of this crime,” Spoor told the court. “He abused his position of trust as a first- and second-grade teacher, secretly molesting these girls in class in front of others.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:


A Seattle grade school teacher accused of sexually assaulting two girls in front of other students has been charged with child molestation.

Torah Day School teacher Jordan E. Murray was teaching first- and second-graders at the private religious school in South Seattle late last month when he is alleged to have groped the girls. Murray has since been fired.

Known to students as Rabbi Yaakov Murray, the father of three is alleged to have groped girl students after lifting them onto his lap.

Writing the court, King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carol Spoor noted Murray recently arrived in Washington. Murray could face a 25-year minimum term in prison if convicted as charged.

“The defendant is a clear danger to children given the circumstances of this crime,” Spoor told the court. “He abused his position of trust as a first- and second-grade teacher, secretly molesting these girls in class in front of others.”

Seattle police responded to the South Ferdinand Street school after they were notified of the allegations on April 23.

Speaking with investigators, a 6-year-old girl said Murray put her on his lap and shoved his hands down her pants while he was seated behind his desk, Seattle Detective Michael Moore told the court. The girl had approached Murray to show him her school work.

As he did so, Murray stared at the girls school work as though he was reading it, Moore continued. The detective added that the rest of the first-grade class was unaware Murray was groping the child.

Moore went on to claim Murray molested the girl behind his desk on several other occasions. The girl’s family notified authorities after she reported the apparent abuse.

A 7-year-old girl made similar allegations against Murray, claiming he molested her several times in recent weeks, Moore continued. Like the other girl, she said Murray molested her behind his desk in the classroom.

A third girl said Murray often hugged her and lifted her onto his lap at his desk at his desk. He is not alleged to have molested that girl, though investigators suggest he touched the girl over her clothing.

Murray declined to speak with investigators, according to charging papers.

Investigators note Murray is not actually an ordained rabbi; students at the school called him by that title out of respect. He has no criminal history.

Murray has been charged with four counts of first-degree child molestation. He was briefly jailed on May 3 but was released after posting bond on $100,000 bail.

Fox reports that no background check was done on Murray:

Randy Kessler with Torah Day Grade school confirmed that the school did not do a criminal history check on Murray before he was hired.…

The girls came forward after reading a Let’s Stay Safe book advocating children’s safety, the prosecutor said.

Download Information Charge Sheet Yaakov Jordan E. Murray 5-2013 extra redactions

Comments

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"Murray has since been fired."

Wow ! That's progressive. We should try this here in Monsey.

Luke.

Shmarya, please take down the link to the police report...or if you want to keep it up, please put black boxes over the initials of the victims, and over their birthdates. These are minors and it is illegal to post personal information about minors online, not to mention the sensitive nature of this case. Please help us here in Seattle protect the privacy of the victims, particularly since they are so young.

This is the school that the Lakewood Kollel in Seattle and Larry Russak slapped together and the haphazardness and irresponsibility shows. They said that the cheder wasn't frum enough and it was essential they keep their children safe from the influences of the velt. Boys and girls can't sit together in class but look what they did!

I am surprised the police, DA or courts would release information about minors or about sexual abuse victims.

Seattle is a center of hareidi corruption. From the Chabad guy to the "rabbi" Moses Londinski to this "too-frum-for-thou" crew that's recently emerged, it's an unbelievable cesspool.

H*ll, in Rockland we even let "slap happy" teachers slap away, even to blood, and then walk away. Right, Yossi? If that is the baseline, imagine how sexual abuse is handled? Right, Yossi? Defending the brothers Dym come to mind, Yossi?

Sick and horrendous all at the same time. The kinder mean absolutely nothing but the Haredi image does. Right, Gestetner?

Luke.

Shmarya, thank you. I've commented in the past, so you know we don't always agree. But I appreciate you blacking out the personal information of the victims. Thank you and Shavua Tov.

Jessie –

There was no personal info about the victims in the document as I originally posted it, and the prosecutor makes a declaration in that document stating that and stating that it complies with the law mandating the protection of personal information and identities of sex abuse victims. In other words, your allegation was false and your threat was BS.

Even so, I went in blacked out the prosecutors redactions and anything else I thought might be important.

Now go lie somewhere else. And while your at it, find out why your lovely haredi school hired Murray to begin with without a background check.

Josh,

Really? I mean, seriously. Really?

I can't even fathom that the religious group you affiliate yourself with in Seattle would condone or respect your comments. Whatever group it is, you are an embarrassment to it. Are you actually trying to say that the Torah Day School is in any way responsible for this tragedy based on who founded it seven years ago and how it was started? That assertion is preposterous and the fact that you would make it indicates that the city has fallen so far off the derech, that it may never find its way back. The Torah Day School is a professionally run orthodox Jewish day school with 130 students and 20 staff members and has handled this very difficult situation admirably well. Your comments and hatred of Torah are a stain on the city. I do not believe that what you say represents even how a small minority feels about this horrendous situation and that no one else would stoop to such a level. Yes, machlokes over the start of a new day school seven years ago still rages, but it only rages because there are people like you who work so hard to keep it alive.

So, my challenge is this. If you are from Seattle, you feel as I do about Josh's post, and you have had enough of people using anything and everything to keep the school machlokes alive, to the point even of alleging that the sexual molestation of young children should be blamed on any community institution or any individual other than the alleged perpetrator, please simply post below with the words "Enough". If you support or agree with what Josh wrote, simply write "Keep it Going". Please do not write anything else. The purpose of this is not to open this up and have it deteriorate further into a competition of one upsmanship in who can spew more vicious lashon hara.

Lets make this a referendum on whether or not the future of orthodox Judaism in Seattle has any chance at all or if it has already succumbed to the malach hamoves and its inhabitants should start to mourn for all that has been lost.

The "booking" report is signinficant in that it refers to 2 earlier out-of-state charges against Murray. The school will have hell to pay if sued as, according to the president, they did NOT conduct a background check.

Enough!
this is a tragedy- but he had no criminal report (there was mention of one that turned out to belong to someone else) so there was no reason the school could have known.

And who the hell would post the 10K bail for him? That's a shanda of its own.

We should be supporting and thanking the families that came forward. I pray that they continue to fight this in court to ensure this doesn't happen again, to protect innocent children. I pray that they don't get silenced by those who believe we need to keep this an internal matter.

First, Torah Day School should have done a background check. There is no question about it in 2013. It wouldn't have prevented this from happening but it might have prevented its board and administration from being sued for negligence. If I were a board member, I would be livid at the administration that put me, my board and school in such a precarious position.

Second, this man has no education so why was he even teaching at Torah Day School? According to his linked in account he managed a candy company, worked at Alle Processing corp, managed residential/commercial real estate, and worked for a supply company. How was he hired as a teacher?

He came from Minneapolis. I want to know if there was any hint of any impropriety that was swept under the rug.

Third, WAKE UP SEATTLE orthodox community. Haven't we had enough without doing our due diligence?

In the past 10 years - Aryeh Blaut, former Seattle Hebrew Academy teacher, arrested and convicted for the federal crime of child pornography. After spending 2 years in Federal prison, he works for the SEATTLE VAAD - Go figure. He is a mashgiach for the VAAD. Come on Seattle Vaad....Want to give the guy a second chance???? Do it without putting him in the vicinity of minors. I've seen him at school and shul diners. Do you understand how that undermines the authority of the Seattle Vaad?

Next is Zerech Brown - ( http://zerachbrown.blogspot.com) Don't forget this one... Comes into the community, affiliated with the Seattle Kollel and Kosher Kung Fu, a young - 20 something man who entertains young teenage boys at his apt. on shabbat and after school. Parents of this community - IT IS NOT NORMAL FOR A YOUNG ADULT MALE, WHO ISN'T RELATED TO YOUR KIDS, TO WANT TO HANG WITH THEM SOCIALLY and PRIVATELY!!!! Wake up Seattle!

And now this. Shame on whoever posted the $100,000 bail.

Think about the children. Think about these little girls. Think and then wake up Seattle.

Our children are our future. We must do everything to protect them.

Thank you Shmarya for helping to ensure the safety of our children by exposing those who put them at risk.


Seems to me that a school that hired a teacher without doing a background check in today's day & age should be disciplined, possibly even losing it's license to stay open. BTW, just saying "enough" is ridiculous! These issues need to be discussed openly and not swept under the carpet.

Woah! Whatever happened to Innocent until proven guilty? BY NO MEANS am I saying to sweep this under the rug. But this guy has no criminal background, nor were there ever any such issues in previous places..lets let it play out before being so very quick to judgement..

Bottom line is the school did not do a background check. This is gross negligence.

That quote about background checks is out of context. A Seattle news station reported using the whole quote from the school. The school did a criminal background check after he was hired, and it came up clean. The timing was off, but it wouldn't have mattered, cause either way it would have come up clean.

The only person to blame here is the criminal...whose parents bailed him out of prison, by the way.

No it is not just a single criminal. The school is shoddy and was arrogantly thrown together by people who think they are more pious with street smarts and now it is blowing up in their faces. It has been known for over a year that he has been putting little girls on his lap. For months a school employee has been told information by students and as a mandatory reporter it was her role to report this to CPS - I'll bet none of the teachers and employees are appropriately trained. And it is well known in the cities he has lived before how he behaved towards children. All of this compouded with no background check = gross negligence. We all know that whatever Larry builds lacks a firm foundation.

Note that this school that was started, in part, because of their leadership's refusal to recognize a woman- who is an internationally recognized Orthodox Jewish educator- as head of the Seattle Hebrew Academy, has given Mr. Murray the 'honorary' title of "Rabbi" , as the placard outside his classroom door stated. Just points to the mindset of the leadership and financial backers of TDS.

While I feel very sorry for the girls and their parents, I feel it is poetic justice that this happened to TDS. They started this school out of hatred for Rabbi Kletenik. His wife Rivy runs the Seattle Hebrew Academy and does a very good job as head of school. Larry Russack aka the trust fund baby, could not tolerate the fact that Rivy was head of school because he HATES Rabbi Kletenik. The frummies wanted their own school and didn’t like the fact that a woman was head of school, so they started TDS. Seattle is a small community and cannot support three orthodox day schools. It is a terrible drain on the community. Chabad also has their own school.

Larry Russack hates Rabbi Kletenik because in 2001 right after 9/11 Larry got stuck in Vancouver before Shabbos. He chose to drive home Friday night rather than be inconvenienced. I understand that, but it is against Halacha. It was just before Rosh Hashana. Rabbi Kletenik correctly told Larry he was not allowed to blow shofer because he broke Shabbat. Larry has had a vendetta against R.Kletenik ever since. So far, Larry the trust fund baby, has managed to get the rabbi fired, will not even allow him to be called rabbi emeritus, and is even not allowing him to teach on Shavout night.

This is "min hashamim". This school was started out of sinat chinam and is therefore min haShamiym that this has happened to this school.

Again, I sincerely feel very bad for these girls and their families. I hope this guy is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

It's really gross that people are using this tragic event as a "told you so" against TDS. This isn't politics, this is the innocence of two little girls. You should be ashamed of yourself "Sarah Stein." There is nothing "min hashamaim" about little girls being abused. That is the most vile thing I've ever heard.

Newsflash: this happens all over the private school circuit, from progressive to chareidi. It all comes down to hiring people who aren't certificated teachers to teach in our schools. Until we value our children's education enough to put only the highest qualified teachers in their classrooms, we'll continue to see shoddy results. Best case scenario is that our kids aren't well prepared for post-secondary life and worst case scenario is unfortunately stuff like this.

As a parent in Seattle, I encourage all of you who are sickened, nauseated, and disgusted by what happened to be a part of reforming our schools. Instead of bashing TDS, applaud them for doing the right thing without hesitation when these accusations came forward. Applaud Seattle parents for teaching our children about their bodies and how to stay safe and who to tell if someone violates your privacy (I don't know that I would have been as brave as that 12 year old who reported what the girls said to their mom right away!). More importantly, applaud these little girls who SPOKE OUT instead of letting it rot inside of them.

I was not saying that it was min hashamiym that an alleged pervert worked at the school or that those poor children were abused. I thought I made that pretty clear. What is min hashamiym is the shonda and the poetic justice of a school that was started for hateful reasons has an evil done it in return. What goes around comes around.

Sarsh

I really thought that religious institutions would have learned a lesson from the death of that poor child, Leiby Kletsky in Boro Park by a "frum" yid.

I am very disappointed and concerned as a Seattle parent that this lesson wasn't learned. I know it is natural to trust someone from the same culture and background. I completely understand and relate to that. But, after Leiby I think we've lost our innocence to an extent. For example, I know I am more careful about who I allow to stay in my home for shabbos. It has always been the norm to allow perfect strangers to stay for shabbos because they didn't really feel like perfect strangers but more like extended family. It is so unfortunate that we can't live like we once did. But, it's an unfortunate reality. And, all the schools, TDS included just have to be more careful. There's really no choice.

Rachel Greenberg
North End, Seattle

Sarah Stein:

Please call the shul and check your facts. The Rabbi and Rivy Kletenik informed the program director a few weeks ago that they would not be giving any classes on Shavuot night. That was their choice. Kind of an odd one since the Rabbi is still employed and being paid by the shul to be its Rav, but I guess he didn't feel he or his wife should do so this year for some reason.

Signed,

Only Emes

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