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August 07, 2014

Updated: Haredi Rabbis, Seminaries, Sued Over Alleged Sex Abuse

Rabbi Elimelech MeiselsSeven named plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Federal Court Monday against Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, Rachel Slanger, Peninim of America, Yaakov Yarmish, Tzvi Gartner and four subsidiary Jewish seminaries in Jerusalem over alleged systemic and pervasive sex abuse by Meisels.

Above: Rabbi Elimelech Meisels

Updated with PDF of lawsuit at 2:12 pm CDT

Haredi Rabbis, Seminaries, Sued Over Sex Abuse
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Seven named plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Federal Court Monday against Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, Rachel Slanger, Peninim of America, Yaakov Yarmish, Tzvi Gartner and four subsidiary Jewish seminaries in Jerusalem, Courthouse News reported.

"From approximately 2004 until the present date, defendant Elimelech Meisels engaged in a fraudulent and unlawful scheme to induce Orthodox Jewish parents from across the United States to send their daughters to various seminaries in Israel that he controlled under the guise of educational and spiritual development. In truth, defendant Meisels' true aim was to fraudulently and unlawfully take thousands of dollars from each of these parents and to induce these girls, by telephone, mail, wire and other means, to travel thousands of miles outside the United States and away from their parents for the purpose of sexually assaulting these vulnerable young girls,” the lawsuit alleges.

For haredi girls, their post-high school year in an Israeli seminary “profoundly shapes and influences their marriage prospects within a quasi arranged marriage system known as the Shidduch (translated literally as Introduction) system.

"This influence is so important that it causes Orthodox Jewish parents to save money for years in hopes of being able to afford the annual tuition that regularly exceeds twenty thousand dollars ($20,000),” the complaint alleges.

"Defendant Meisels, like many other sexual predators, preyed on the vulnerable. He did this by developing mentor-mentee relationships with girls and exploiting these relationships to lure the girls into late night coffee meetings and other private settings and then sexually assaulted them," the suit claims.

"Once the sexual assaults were complete, upon information and belief, defendant Meisels would intimidate his victims by telling them that no one would believe that a rabbi and author with his reputation would have done such a thing.

"Moreover, upon information and belief, defendant Meisels would threaten his victims that if they shared their story with anyone, he would draw on his vast contacts within the Shidduch system to ruin their reputations and ensure that no viable candidate would want to take their hand in marriage.

"It was widely known within the administrative staff of the seminaries that defendant Meisels was regularly taking students to late night private meetings - a fact itself that is forbidden and known as 'yichud' according to the Orthodox Jewish law and tradition. However, certain still unknown co-conspirators within the seminaries were also aware that defendant Meisels was sexually assaulting the girls and assisted defendant Meisels by actively and passively concealing the assaults,” the lawsuit insists.

As reported by FailedMessiah.com last month, a Chicago beit din (Jewish religious court) headed by Chicago’s most senior rabbis, issued a ruling stating that students at Meisels’ seminaries were "at risk of harm.” It turned the case over to an Israeli beit din and then modified its warning to parents when Meisels allegedly agreed to have nothing to do with the day-to-to operation of those schools or their students and would sell the seminaries – which are technically nonprofits that cannot be sold under either US or Israeli law – as soon as possible.

However, the suit alleges that the sale Meisels’ arranged was a sham.

"Defendant Meisels agreed with defendant Yarmish that they would conduct a sham 'sale' of The Seminaries where defendant Yarmish would claim that he now owned the Seminaries and would claim to the class plaintiffs that these institutions were safe for their daughters. The conspirators hoped that this scheme would force class plaintiffs into leaving their daughters in The Seminaries even though that they were not safe because the conspirators would withhold their tuition deposits."

According to the lawsuit, for the last two weeks of July, Yarnish, Slanger, Gartner "and other still unidentified coconspirators then engaged in a flurry of written correspondence and telephone calls with the class plaintiffs to try to convince them that the Seminaries were under new ownership and were now safe. They sought to draw on defendant Gartner's status as a rabbi in Israel and the status of two other unnamed co-conspirators to perpetuate their fraud and assure the class plaintiffs that the Seminaries are safe.…On July 24, 25, and 29, 2014, upon information and belief, defendant Gartner and unnamed co-conspirators had meetings in Israel about how to best cover up the fraudulent and unlawful scheme alleged herein and continue to deprive the class plaintiffs of their money by perpetuating the illusion that defendant Meisels is no longer affiliated with the seminaries.”

Gartner was a member of the Israeli beit din that supposedly investigated Meisels and compelled him to sell the schools.

The lawsuit as a PDF file:

Download Filed Complaint_Miller v Meisels_8 4 14 redacted

Related Posts:

UPDATED: Haredi Kiruv Rabbi Accused Of Having “Unwanted Physical Contact Of A Sexual Nature” With Female Students.

Haredi Kiruv Rabbi Removed From All Control Or Contact With Seminaries He Allegedly Used To Sexually Abuse Students, Beit Din Claims.

Comments

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I have been saying this for YEARS now....the only way that the sexual abuse and sexual assault that is routinely committed in this community (and routinely covered up and/or rationalized away) is going to stop is if the perpetrators are hit in the wallet/bank account.

Yes, I know that this community does not have a "command central" the way the Catholic Church does, but regardless....when more and more of these rabbis/yeshivas/whatever they are are sued, and large sums of money are paid out...then, and only then will you see a behavioral change in this community.

The accused predator is obviously in need of being kept far away from young girls in any capacity.

The Israeli bet din headed by Malinowitz of Artscroll fame http://tzedek-tzedek.blogspot.com/2014/08/beit-din-leaks.html
are adding fuel to this fire by running cover for the school administrators who covered up and enabled the abuse.

I am surprised the school administration is not named in the suit, unless I missed something.

The school administrators should not be "unkown." I guess the evidence against them is weak?
Odd

No. You presume a level of transparency at those seminaries which in reality is allegedly lacking.

i wonder if rabbi meisels would make the women go to the mikva before abusing them? boys r different they dont have to go to the mikva. i think rabbis font have relations with women when they r in nidda but they usually dont abuse women and children either...so what do i know

I have been following the Meisels debacle. on both blogs, yet do not know who Rachel Slanger is????? Guessing she might be principal at one of the other seminaries, not Pninim?
SR???

Cool! Now Jews are into white slavery.

And we thought these guys wanted to be separate from main society. We were wrong, they learned a lot from it.

What does a Jewish pimpmobile look like, anyway?

yehuda fulda @1:39:
i am assuming that you jest. on the off chance that you think meisels has some redeeming characteristics, adultery, rape, violating niddah, using his authority to violate pure b'not yisrael, many more. Some percentage (unknown at the moment and perhaps never will be known) were clearly raped. You don't fn ask the young lady in the back of your van at 3AM to quick run to the mikveh. NLOL, is the mikveh open all night for those who were too busy, and now are horny as all hell?

Also, no one has mentioned his family, the wife. Where did his wife think he was out at all hours of the night? fn the sheep??? sorry, could not resist the woody allenism, albeit he is anathema.

I applaud the plaintiffs and families who had the courage to bring the abuse to a civil court. They need our prayers, encouragement and support.

Leah,

Silence!

FM posters who are anti-orthodox are given tremendous latitude by Master Shmarya to make off color, offensive, obscene and even completely vile remarks.

Only Haredi readers must be on their best behavior.

TY, megalomaniac watch,
for sure i am not charedi,, neither super highly negative charedi, save for some of the disgusting members of our religion, i.e. satmar, skver. etc. YM"S yes, they are an abomination.
i am somewhere in between. I even mostly like chabad, with certain specific reservations, i.e. monetary fraud, and messichistim. two huge subjects, yet, I have soft spot in my heart for them. say what you will i have had enough contact, enough experience with them to reach my state of accceptance. lamrot the rotten part. they do so much good, and SR may be having a cardiac reading this, sorry SR, and i do commiserate re your experience with the rebbe small r, re the ethiopians. i do. everything in life is checks and balances. in the scheme of things, really, compared to naturei karta, satmar, skver Y"S" may the arsonist be imprisoned with his hausboy, i still amongst the choices, have a soft spot for chabad. and i know many, many, rebbeim, many. and i am NOT now a big toremet. although once i was, not now at all..
back to my original question, is anyone following the disgusting meisels case, as i have, who the heck is this rachel stranger person???> i expect that many other lawsuits of various other natures will ensue. but at the moment, SR, can you tell me who the Rachel person is? gartner i know is one of the 3 IBD, others are parents, i get that, but who is this rachel? inquiring minds want to know, and i apologize me'rosh for my still, basically positive view (within many predefined restrictions) of chabad. i do respect your stance, i do. and in your place, i would most likely agree. that not being the case, chabad, is a light unto the jewish people, if only the non-messichistim could overpower the messichistim who are over the top. belligerent, davka, overreact to all attempts to restrain them. i know this. i believe this. i do not know percentages, but the super messichistim are an abomination, afilu to sha'ar the chabadnikim. anti chabad people whose minds are made up, will think my writng is a pile of charah. and i a female, od yoter, lacking credibility. chaval, chaval al am yisrael.
so, back to my question, SR should be able to answer, who is the plaintiff stranger? TIA

Why are there not also criminal charges?

yup, i totally believe that there will be. savlanut. meisels is going under... sooner rather than later, but in any case, he is going under, l'gamrei.
L'et ata, i am wondering re the current plaintiffs

Zachw,
as follow on, just for the record, i have no personal involvement in this debacle. no skin in the game, no dog in the game. Just an anti-abuse person, re all creeds and all sexes. may meisels be locked away sooner rather than later.....
I would be astonished if there are not multiple lawsuits, of different varieties, toch zman katsar.

This story is better than a book, and it's a page turner. You can follow it from the beginning, starting on July 11th at this website:

http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/

ABRACADABRA,

ABRACADABRA,
HOW right you are. a veritable circus, soap opera, bunch of clowns, many lying. yeah, i have actually followed it through from day one. it makes me ill. For my own sanity, I am going to stop following it, as i said before i have no dog in this fight or skin in this game. Altruism has it's limits. no more donations either. let me out of here. really. lying ibd, selective blogs, DT??? et al, publishing private emails btw two BD rabbis, one in israel and one one in US. the whole thing stinks from the head. bloggers selectively choose what comments to print, and which not. I am resigning from my involvment. the show will go on, the soap opera, the circus, enjoy it, but not I, guess i am too thin skinned to get pleasure from this crap. and as such, i will not get to see it, to read it, to translate it, zilch nada, go'al nefesh. have fun, NLOL.

Wow i can't believe what i just read!! Omg wow!!

Of course lets about the real problem - Shmarya! You see, if Shmarya wouldnt report this then there would be no problem!

Also i think halakah states that it's automatic womans fault under rape. Cant remember.

This seems to be a class action initiated by parents who want a refund for their downpayment for next school year. It does not look as if the real abuse victims were involved yet, but they might join the class action.

Brillant idea... The Shafran Beith din thought they could play games... now it looks as if they ruined the institutions... Brilliant move on Meisel's part to sell the sems, now the buyer will have to stand up for the losses...

@sarek August 07, 2014 at 01:49 PM:

What does a Jewish pimpmobile look like, anyway?

It looks like the car driven by
Mordechai Jefferson Carver in the movie "The Hebrew Hammer".

Rachel slanger is a sister of meisels , who lives in Lakewood down the street from the rav who was tossed out of Lakewood by the BMG thugs for sticking up for his son who was molested by kulko.

Thank you hocker. Chaval that the integrity of that rav did not permeate down the street....
Also, re the above references to the "sale" of the semenaries, Yarmush is a sham, you cannot sell a non-profit. This entire case has so many intricacies of fraud, abuse, corruption, and of course, the violation of our precious daughters b'not Yisrael, who, sach hakol, were allowed to attend semenary with Meisels for the express major matarah of finding a shidduch with yichus. How so very very sad, my heart bleeds for them. Meisels needs to pay, amongst other things, for many many years of therapy for these young ladies whose trust he abused. and then threatened them with ruining their reputations for a decent shidduch. Meisels is EVIL INCARNATE.

Only qualified women should be allowed to run,administer, and teach in seminaries for the female gender worldwide, for the same halachik reason that only men teach in all male seminaries.

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