The alleged victims are three boys aged 13 to 14. The sexual abuse took place repeatedly over an extended period of time, and was based on misleading them about their halakhic (Jewish legal) status immediately after their bar mitzvahs.
Today, You Are Not Quite A Man: Haredi Rabbi Arrested And Charged With Bar Mitzvah-Based Child Sexual Abuse
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A haredi rabbi from the port city of Ashdod, Rabbi Avraham Shemesh, has been indicted for allegedly fondling the genitals of young teen boys, Ha’aretz reported.
Shemesh is a teacher in a haredi school in the city. His alleged victims are three boys aged 13 to 14. The sexual abuse took place repeatedly over an extended period of time, and was based on misleading them about their halakhic (Jewish legal) status immediately after their bar mitzvahs.
Shemesh allegedly had private meetings with individual students in the teachers’ room of the school. The students were told the meetings were to tutor them one-on-one to help them learn material they missed while away from school.
Shemesh would lock the door to the teachers’ room and close its curtains. Then he would tell the boys that in for them to be judged halakhicly fit to lead prayers, he had to check to see whether they had pubic hairs (the actual halakhic definition of when a boy has become a man).
In one alleged case, a boy was out of school for several days because he was celebrating his bar mitzvah. When he returned, Shemesh called him to the teachers’ room and explained that according to halakha, to be a prayer leader a boy must have at least two pubic hairs. He pulled down the boy’s pants and underwear and then allegedly caressed and kissed his genitals. Shemesh allegedly did the same thing again four days later, and did it again several months after that.
Shemesh allegedly followed the same pattern with the other boys, as well.