The AP quotes Avrohom Mondrowitz's wife Raizel:
"People can come up 25 years later and say all kinds of things about anybody. No one's had any complaints about him for the last 25 years. This is all old stuff," she said.
First of all, Mondrowitz was exposed in Brooklyn almost 28 years ago because Italian abuse victims and their families went to police. Jewish victims and their families, loyal to the omerta of the haredi community, refused to come forward. Later, as those abused haredi children grew into adulthood and got out from under the thumb of their families and community, and as tensions within the haredi community in Brooklyn over corruption and coverups grew, they began to speak out.
Israeli haredim are culturally behind their American counterparts. They live in truly closed societies and, because of the reluctance of haredi men to work, are financially dependent on haredi leadership. Literally, their bread comes from that leadership and from state welfare. Without either, Israeli haredim would starve.
Further, the social pressure to conform is even greater in Israel than it is in Brooklyn. Those haredim who are seen as different face not only ostracism from their communities and from the haredi financial trough, but they face the very real likelihood this ostracism will extend to their children and even to their grandchildren.
Parents are faced with the following choice. 1 of their 9 children has been sexually abused by a rabbi. It is this young child's word against the word of a community leader. If the parents break omerta and go to the police, they face the following scenario:
- Their other children may immediately be ostracized by their teachers and peers.
- Their other children may never get a good shiduch (match) because the family as a whole is now viewed as damaged goods.
- The father may be removed from kollel.
- The family will fall deeper into poverty with no foreseeable way to recover.
So families must choose between protecting their other children on one hand and doing the correct and (secularly) legal thing on the other.
It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Israeli haredi victims of Mondrowitz, if they exist, have not gone to the police.
Mondrowitz was found in possession of four child porn movies. These movies are made illegally. To make them, real live children, often as young as three years old, are sodomized and raped as camera roll. He was also selling fake university degrees in a county, Israel, that pays employees based on degrees obtained. That means a holder of a BA makes more than an employee with no advanced degrees, even if the job is not based in any way on that academic degree. In the same way, a holder of a MA makes more than a holder of a BA and a holder of a Ph.D. more than a holder of a MA. Selling fake degrees is a major fraud in Israel.
Do you really think a "hasid" with a heavy background in child rape, who is found to be in possession of child porn and who sells fake academic degrees for substantial profit is someone who can be viewed as reformed?
Raizel Mondrowitz may be blinded by her love for her husband. The power of denial is often unusually strong in cases like this. But make no mistake about it – Mondrowitz needs to face justice for what he did to little children. He needs to own up for the lives he ruined, apologize to those who survived it (at least one of his victims reputedly committed suicide), and be removed from society to a place where he is no longer a threat to children or free people.
More than this, the rabbis who covered for Mondrowitz, who helped him escape justice in America, who fought his extradition and who made no attempt to help his victims need to be exposed and – if possible – tried in a court of law.
Haredi society must be made to understand that looking the other way while its religious leaders rape children is not acceptable behavior. It must learn that sending a child rapist away from one community to rape freely in another is not correctly "dealing" with the problem. It must assume the responsibility their leaders have irresponsibly shirked.
The haredi code of omerta must be broken and the men who ruthlessly enforce it must be punished. And haredim need to understand that getting your child a "good" shidduch does not take priority over saving other children from the hands of a child rapist or abuser.
(Look at it this way. If you could stop a murderer from killing by calling police, but choose not to do so because breaking omerta would result in less desirable shidduchim [matches] for your children, would your inaction be correct? Is your child's "better" shidduch more important than the victim's life, a life you do not have the power to restore? If this question is in any way difficult for you, you're in the wrong species. Check your lineage for apes.)
Haredim need to learn that it is never proper to protect child abusers, even if those abusers are community leaders or rabbinically well-connected, even if they are talented teachers of Torah or its wealthy benefactors, and even if exposing these deviant men makes it harder to find a "good" shidduch for one's children.