Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson's office has released the names of several haredi sex offenders his predecessor Charles J. Hynes tried to keep hidden, allegedly as a result of a deal Hynes reached with haredi leaders. But is what Thompson has done now enough?
Above: Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson
The NY Post reports:
…David Seff, a math professor at Brooklyn College, asked a female student to meet him in a classroom one late afternoon in August 2011 to help with a “listening experiment.” Alone with the young woman, Seff pounced on her, authorities charged. Seff, now 68 [and a part-time professor at Lehman College in the Bronx], allegedly grabbed her breasts and crotch. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment last September and was ordered to stay away from her for a year.
Israel Moshe, 47, accused in 2010 of raping a 22-year-old woman with cerebral palsy who answered a Craigslist ad. He’s a fugitive with a warrant for arrest.
Alexander Rogalsky, 30, a camp counselor accused in 2011 of first-degree sodomy with a 13-year-old boy in 2003. Under a plea deal with Thompson in February, he copped to second-degree sodomy and got 10 years’ probation.
David Zimmer, 43, a locksmith convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl in 1999 and arrested again in 2012 for taking photos of a 9-year-old girl in Borough Park. He pleaded guilty to failure to register in June and faces sentencing Sept. 13.
Naftolis Schwartz, 57, a Hebrew teacher accused in 2012 of sexually abusing a 13-year-old student. He pleaded guilty in February to endangering the welfare of a child and received no jail time.
Yosef Ederi, 42, a repeat pedophile accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy at their synagogue in 2011. He pleaded guilty to child endangerment in July 2013, was set free, and struck again. In May, he was convicted of molesting an 8-year-old boy and sentenced to a year in Rikers. He’s already out.…
What Thompson has done – release information on 20 cases when asked by the press (the Post did not print information on all those cases) is a good step – but it is not the same as releasing the information without being pressured or trating these abusers like serious criminals rather than giving them easy plea deals.
The Rogalsky case is instructive.
Thompson's office told me about two months ago that Rogaslsky had received a no-jail plea deal, and claimed it was given to him because the victim and his family did not want to go through a trial.
In many cases like this in the past, prosecutors stress how difficult that trial will be for the victim and do everything short of ordering victims to agree to the plea deal.
The fact that Thompson did not announce the deal, and that Rogalsky walked free after trial (all the case information was removed from the court's webiste and no prisoner information could be found, either) tells locals in Crown Heights that Rogalsky got special treatment and escaped true punishment for his crimes.
That Thompson is claiming honesty and equality now, long after the fact, does not change this perception – which, unfortunately, is likely correct.
Similarly, Thompson's office claims to have dissolved former DA Charles J. Hynes' corrupt Kol Tzedek project set up to handle haredi and Orthodox abusers with kid gloves and, in many cases, allegedly cover up their crimes.
Yet the key Orthodox social worker from Hynes' office linked to Kol Tzedek still works for the DA, and Kol Tzedek's special hotline allegedly used to cover up these offenses is still open.
The Post also notes that Hynes' allegedly corrupt haredi Jewish liaison, Henna White, no longer works at the DA's office, which is true. But the Post also notes White was replaced by another haredi, Wolf Sender, who is close to NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind. But my sources tell me that Sender has spent much of his time in office trying to cover up Thompson's failures while at the same time use his position to attack haredi anti-abuse activists like Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg and media that reports on him.
None of this looks good for Thompson, who has repeatedly proven himself to be a disappointment in handling haredi crime.