"…After I received confirmation on Thursday morning that Eichler was arrested, the police requested that I be on “standby” for when they would call me. I thought they would ask me to ID Eichler or something, but what came next was very unexpected. I was brought into a fairly small room with three police interrogators, one of them a translator, and was directed to sit in a seat right across from Sholom Eichler where he was sitting with shackles on his feet.…"
Chaim Levin went to Israel in pursuit of a man he calls "the devil." Sholom Eichler, Levin's cousin, fled there with his family after Levin sued him for allegedly sexually abusing him as a child.
Eichler did not contest or answer that lawsuit. He ran.
Tomorrow, a New York State judge will rule on the case, and should decide how much money Eicher owes Levin.
But as I reported last week, this is the least of Eichler's current troubles.
Because last Thursday and Friday, Eichler was in chains.
Here is Chaim Levin's account of what happened after Israel Police arrested Eichler for allegedly sexually abusing him in Jerusalem while both on a family vacation to Israel:
…The Israeli justice system operates quite differently than what I was familiar with in regards to how sexual abuse cases are handled in the US. After I received confirmation on Thursday morning that Eichler was arrested, the police requested that I be on “standby” for when they would call me. I thought they would ask me to ID Eichler or something, but what came next was very unexpected. I was brought into a fairly small room with three police interrogators, one of them a translator, and was directed to sit in a seat right across from Sholom Eichler where he was sitting with shackles on his feet.
The main interrogator read Eichler his right to remain silent and warned him that anything he said would be used against him. I was still absorbing the fact that I was sitting right in front of the monster who took so much away from me, the monster that caused so much damage that no amount of therapy will ever undo, but within two minutes I was able to gain my bearings. According to legal experts in Israel, this process is called “eimut” (confrontation) and is used by interrogators to observe the body language between the victim and the accused. I was instructed to look at Eichler and tell him what he did to me, they were adamant that I describe every incident in detail and not hold back on anything. It was at that moment that I looked at the monster in the eyes and told him exactly what he did to me, where he did it and the painful and sensitive details of the times he abused me.
This “confrontation” was sort of like a court proceeding, after I gave my opening statement Eichler was given a chance to respond to what I said, and without an ounce of shame or remorse he attempted to deny everything that I claimed he had done to me. With every word he spoke, with every lie he told I felt my blood boiling to the point where I thought I was going to explode, but although he was lying, his body language was telling a very different story. He was completely unhinged and was shaking non stop, he sounded like he was on the brink of tears and his attempts to discredit what I was saying were clearly not working. One of the things I confronted him about was about a meeting that he and I had five years ago before he got married in which he apologized to me for what he had done to me. I looked at him and said “how dare you sit right in front of me and call me a liar? How do you live with yourself knowing what you did despite the fact that not only did you apologize to me but also admitted your crimes against me to my older brother and my mother as well?”. Eichler admitted to meeting me five years ago, (something he denied until now) and said “I didn’t apologize for what I did to you, I apologized for how you were feeling”.
I pressed further and recounted in vivid detail how Eichler used to wait on his parents’ porch that was just across the street of my school for when I would be walking home from school so that he can lure me inside to commit those unspeakable acts. I also recounted the times that he abused me in the synagogue that our families attended, in my parents’ house, upstate at the bungalow colony that our families both attended during the summer, and of course, one of the most brutal incidents, the last time, in that hotel in Jerusalem on the fifth floor. Eichler had the audacity to attempt and accuse my older brothers of actually abusing me; and when asked by the interrogators why I would make such claims against him he said that he was the “perfect target”. I responded to that by saying that if i was looking for a “perfect target” I would have gone after one of his older brothers which would have ensured that one of them would be sitting in American prison today because they would’ve been well within the criminal statute of limitations within the American justice system.
Those twenty minutes felt like hours and most of the exact details are quite blurred in my head at this point, but luckily it was all on the record and will surely be used to prove his guilt in criminal court. What I remember was the feeling of empowerment I felt when I looked at this evil excuse for a man in the eye and told him exactly what he had done to me and the look on his face, the expression of guilt and shame, feelings that I felt for far too long because of what he had done to me; the tables had finally turned and for the first time in thirteen years Sholom Eichler finally had to answer for his heinous crimes. After leaving that room, I felt nothing but strength and a certain of closure. As painful and emotional as that confrontation was for me, it reminded me that pursuing justice is one of the most important things that a person could do in his or her life.
Eichler was released on bail the next day, the exact amount is still unknown to me but I hope to find out soon, and it is my sincere hope that he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I hope that others will learn by example that while at certain points the prospect of facing their abuser might seem impossible but the truth is that with the right amount of support, therapy, and healing facing one’s abuser IS possible and the power that abusers enjoy over their victims (the way Eichler had power over me) diminish over time.…