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July 04, 2013

Doctor Accused Of Molesting 13-Year-Old Haredi Girl Acquitted Under Arguably Bizarre Circumstances

Alleged victim 2“It’s hard to assume the defendant, a family man and respected doctor in his community, would take such a great risk and molest a 13-year-old girl sexually while having a conversation of a sexual nature with her in broad daylight in a bustling, public clinic.”

 

Doctor Accused Of Molesting 13-Year-Old Haredi Girl Acquitted Under Bizarre Circumstances
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Late in December, a 13-year-old girl haredi girl went to a medical clinic in the West Bank town of Tel Zion (Kochav Ya'acov) complaining of an ear ache where she was seen by Dr. Alexander Rotnemer, Ha’aretz reported.

Rotnemer checked her ears and then allegedly told her to lie down on her back, put his hand under her skirt, tights and underpants, and fondled her.

“Does this tickle? Does it hurt? Are you having fun?” he allegedly asked.

Embarrassed and confused, the girl replied, “[I’m] having fun.”

“You come to the clinic to have fun, too,” the Rotnemer allegedly responded. And then he fondled her for several more minutes.

“If you come with your mother, I won’t be able to do this to you, she’ll go crazy. Don’t tell her I did this, don’t tell anyone. Nobody needs to know about it. If you want more, tell your mother you’re sick and come. It’s up to you, no obligation,” Rotnemer allegedly said.

When the girl got home she called her mother, sobbing, and begged her to come home. When her mother got home it took repeated cajoling to get the girl to tell her what was wrong. When she finally told her what happened, the mother told police, who investigated.

Rotnemer told police that he touched the girl’s lower abdomen, but he denied touching her genitals for an extended time.

He was indicted and tried not long after.

At trial, Rotnemer was asked to explain the connection between the girl’s ear ache and his lower abdominal exam.

Rotnemer told the court that because it was the girl’s first visit to the clinic, he gave her a “preventive medicine” exam.

On the day molestation, Rotnemer called the complainant at home several times. He told her the medication he had prescribed for her at the clinic was unavailable and he wanted to change his prescription.

The prosecution alleged that Rotnemer’s calls to the girl after the exam corroborated the girl’s story. Rotnemer, the state claimed, was really calling to check to see whether the girl had told her mother about the molestation – the missing medication was, it claimed, only a ruse, even though the pharmacy really was out of the medicine.

Last week, the judge’s verdict was released. 

“The complainant’s account of the event, her police interviews and testimony in court all left a positive and reliable impression…The complainant’s story to the police, court and her mother about what happened and the main details were consistent and almost identical. Her testimony and watching her interviews with the police’s child investigator create the impression that this is an intelligent, decent girl who testifies confidently and eloquently,” Judge Jacob Zaban, deputy president of Jerusalem’s District Court, wrote.

But Zaban did not convict Rotnemer – he acquitted him.

Why?

Because, Zaban wrote, Rotnemer’s version of events was “reliable” and his testimony at trial “left a favorable impression.”

And, Zaban wrote, “it’s hard to assume the defendant, a family man and respected doctor in his community, would take such a great risk and molest a 13-year-old girl sexually while having a conversation of a sexual nature with her in broad daylight in a bustling, public clinic.”

Doctor molestation of patients is not unusual, and many medical societies worldwide have strict protocols requiring the presence of a nurse or family member during exams to prevent molestation or the suspicion of molestation.

Rotnemer did not follow those common protocols and secluded himself with the girl – something that did not seem to trouble Judge Zaban.

Comments

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wow, that's really bizarre!

The perpetrator admits the facts (he checked the lower abdomen and did not touch the genitals for an extended length of time, i.e. he touched it briefly, even repeteatedly) and he gets away with it!

Some stupid judge!!!!

You put a wire on her and let her go to the doctor again. Preferably with a hidden camera inside her bag or a pen camera and have under-cover police outside. Yeah too much CSI but it works.

Posted by: Edith | July 04, 2013 at 05:07 AM

You'd put her in a position where she would be molested by him again? Are you insane?

So the judge is one of the following:
1. A moron
2. A fellow molester
3. A bribe-taker
4. One who believes doctors (and probably rabbis) are always holy and always right [see #1 above]

Pick one. I can't think of any other explanations.

the girl's mother should have been present all the time with her at the time of the examination AND NOT LEAVE THE ROOM not even for a second . how dumb those haredi are , with all their ' torey ' teaching and knowledge they r supposed to get . haredi have no brain .

if the girl went for a ear ache , y should she lie down ? .... on her back !

If you're working in a general health clinic, and a 13-year old girl with an earache is a a first-time patient, and you think she should have a full examination (which isn't a bad idea), including pelvic/genitalia exam, you must contact the parents first. Even when they agree, you must have a nurse there in the exam room, explaining everything to the child first, and being there throughout.

We had a similar discussion recently about that OB/GYN doctor in Maryland.

If does seem a little odd that a child would be allowed to go to the clinic without a parent, and the clinic is allowed to treat such a walk-in without the parents there to give consent, even if it's 'just' an ear exam. However, if this is a closely-knit community with the friendly neighborhood clinic down the street, then maybe I can understand the scenario of a child just walking in with an earache.

There is no such defense as "we are too busy and understaffed to have a nurse in the room".

Sarek, there have indeed been cases here in the USA where the judge and/or jury ruled "A doctor would never do such a thing".

DD, I would not blame the frumma for this (shocker!!).

When your child goes to the doctor, you trust that they will do the correct things medically as well as not molesting your child.

As I stated at 8:54, when you are the doctor in a general medical clinic, and a first-time patient comes in for any reason, it is reasonable to perform a general physical examination, with consent from the parents as well as a nurse present in the room at all times.

Imagine if she came in with an earache, also happened to have some significant other disease, but asymptomatic, that you could have found by routine listening to the heart with a stethoscope or a routine exam of the abdomen. If a doctor overlooked such a disease, by only examining the ears, wouldn't that be malpractice? There are standards of care when a patient walks through the door of your general medicine/pediatrics clinic. You are not obligated to do a 'million dollar workup', but you are obligated to provide a basic examination. If it's a patient who already has a regular pediatrician, then ok, just examine the ears, and then send a courtesy letter to that regular pediatrician. That's what a reasonable doctor would typically do.

wow, that's really bizarre!

not really, soso, this was and is the norm in Sodom and Gomora.
Israel as a country has adopted these norms for the whole country.

I must make some comment here. The Dr in question was acquitted because there was no evidence of a crime. He happens to be a wonderful person, while it is known that the family that accused him has many personal issues! Did anyone ask why the child went to the Dr. without a parent. Am I the only person who thinks it is negligent of a parent to send a 13 year old girl alone to the doctor? The trial was conducted, the verdict is in and not ever claim of abuse it abuse!

YBM: For the chareidim it's Sodom and gemara.

Sodom and gemara. :-)

though I must say, YL this behavior is not limited to the Haredis only.
Indeed this kind of behavior is endemic to the entire country. From the office of the former president, to 2 right hands of the PM, to the judiciary, to police officers, unbelievable, like this very case, nothing to do with the haredim. A real shame.

Granted abuse happens unfortunately and it must be stopped, but you are a fool if you believe every claim of abuse. Especially within communities that are so sheltered that any mention of a body part, bodily function or of slight touch of totally appropriate nature in certain circumstances is viewed as bad. Education and speaking opening with our children key and in most Haredi communities these issues are taboo are therefore children do not always know the difference or even how to properly communicate in these instances.

Why do the headline and the article not reflect the fact that the doctor is dati leumi person living in a dati leumi yishuv (kochav yaakov)?

Another point I would like to make is that if the Dr. had prescribed medication for an ear ache without knowing the patient or if there were any visible signs of other medical issues, and it turned out that she did have other medical concerns than the Dr would have been sued for malpractice! Also something that readers may not know is that often in Israel pharmacies do run out of certain medications and it is a concern medical professional that would call the patient to let them know. Especially if the child went to the dr alone, it would make sense that the dr would be concern that the patient understood the situation clearly.

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