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Case of Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro

(AKA: Yisroel I. Shapiro, Israel Shapiro, Joseph Shapiro)

Baltimore, MD

The Awareness Center's Press Statement

For Immediate Release

March 10, 2008

Statement by Vicki Polin, Founder and Executive Director - The Awareness Center

443-857-5560

Not Placed On Sex Offender Registry - Case of Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro

Monday, March 10, 2008 -- Judge John P. Miller of the Baltimore City Circuit Court basically gave Rabbi Israel (Yisroel) Shapiro a slap on the hand after entering an Alford plea on crimnal sexual abuse charges.

Shapiro was sentenced to perform 300 hours of community service and to pay $10,800 in restitution to those he criminally sexually abused. In addition, he was ordered by the court to keep away from anyone under the age of 18. The judge also ordered Shapiro to undergo sex offender screening and treatment.

After calling both the Baltimore City Court House and the Baltimore CIty States Attorneys Office, The Awareness Center was able to confirm that Israel (Yisroel) Shapiro will NOT be place on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. The reason is because Maryland is not in compliance with the federal sex offender registry mandate.

An Alford plea allows a defendant to assert his or her innocence, yet admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could probably convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty.

It has been confirmed that Yisroel Shapiro is an ordained orthodox rabbi, yet the title has been downplayed in the news media and the community. Shapiro comes from a rabbinic family, in which his father (the late Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro) and his two brothers are also rabbis.

The allegations made by the survivors dated back to 1987-88 and 1993-94. If any of the survivors of Yisroel Shapiro are under the age of 25, they are still eligible to file a civil suit against their offender and also against those who helped to cover up the crime.

According to Maryland law they do not place convicted sex offenders on the state sex offender registry retroactively. If a survivor came forward prior to 1995-96 and the convicted offender was under supervision in 2001, then the offender would be on the registry. Because the survivors in this case waited until recently to come forward, the case would be considered retroactive. This is a law that needs to be changed and put in compliance with the federal mandate.

If you are a Jewish survivor of a sex crime (incest, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, clergy sexual abuse, professional sexual misconduct) please contact The Awareness Center at 443-857-5560.

For more information on this law or if you would like to communicate with Judge John P. Miller:

Baltimore City States Attorney Office

Tammi Griffin-Lawman

Mitchell Courthouse, Room 310

410-396-5040

Judge John P. Miller

Baltimore City Circuit Court

410-396-5066


Arrested after allegations were made of child sexual abuse. Shapiro is the son of the deceased alleged serial sexual predator - Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro. Yisroel Shapiro was born in 1950.

October, 2004 -- A flyer was posted in the Jewish community in Baltimore as a way to warn community members of the allegations made against Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro.

July, 13, 2007 -- Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro became the target of a State's Attorney's Office investigation, when a few adult survivors filed a police report alleging that they were sexually victimized as children.

December 5, 2007 -- According to Tammy Griffin-Lawman of the Baltimore City, State's Attorneys office, Yisroel Shapiro was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual offense in the third degree, sexual offense in the fourth degree and battery.

March 10, 2008 -- Found guilty of child sexual molestation and given five years probation. Due to the current laws in Maryland Yisroel Shapiro will NOT be on the sex offender registry. At this time the state of Maryland does not comply with the Federal mandate.


Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.

Table of Contents:  

2004

  1. Flyer Regarding Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro   (10/24/2004)

2005

2006

2007

  1. Background History (04/05/2007)
  2. Alleged Molester Investigated Here  (07/13/2007)
  3. Yisroel Shapiro Arrested   (12/05/2007)
  4. City bar mitzvah teacher charged with sex offenses - Incidents involving two boys allegedly occurred more than a decade ago   (12/18/2007)
  5. Accused Of Molesting Bar Mitzvah Students   (12/19/2007)
  6. CALL TO ACTION: Case of Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro - Demanding Transparency and Accountability from our Religious Leaders!   (12/28/2007)

2008

  1. CALL FOR ACTION: Phil Jacob Going Soft on the case of Rabbi Israel 'Yisroel' Shapiro (01/18/2008)
  2. Yisroel Shapiro Pleads `Not Guilty' (01/18/2008)
  3. Maryland: A Sex Offender Friendly state? (03/10/2008)
  4. Shapiro Found Guilty (03/10/2008)
  5. Teacher of bar mitzvah lessons pleads guilty to sex offense (03/11/2008)
  6. Advocates upset over rabbi's plea deal - (03/12/2008)

Also see:  

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Background History

May 28, 2003 -- The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) maintains that reporting acts or suspicions of child abuse is not mesirah and commits itself and its members to reporting acts or suspicions of child abuse as required by civil law. Unfortunately the rabbis of Baltimore have never adopted these policies.

One of the many traditions in the orthodox community of Baltimore is not to report sex crimes to law enforcement or Child Protective Services (CPS). The reason was for fear that doing so would start another pogrom (persecution of the Jewish people).

Instead the custom has been for rabbis to handle things quietly and discreetly. It's also not uncommon for signs to be posted by concerned community members warning others of the dangers the alleged sex offender poses to children.

This is exactly what happened a few years ago. Allegations were made that a teacher by the name of Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro had molested children. The pious rabbis of Baltimore decided they could handle the "situation" on their own. A decision was reached.  The rabbis at the bet din of Baltimore (Jewish religious court) believed Yisroel was guilty. The agreement was that Yisroel Shapiro would have a career where he no longer had contact with children.  Yisroel Shapiro went from being a teacher at one of Balitmore's private Jewish schools to becoming a butcher.

Israel Shapiro is married and had children living in his home. Child Protection Services (CPS) was never notified, nor was a police report made, making it virtually impossible for there to be an official investigation, possible arrest and or trial. Without the proper law enforcement officials being notifide, it makes it impossible for Yisroel Shapiro ever being listed on the national sex offender registry.

As a reaction, a small group of concerned citizens created flyer's and posted signs in the community in hopes of preventing another child from being molested, yet not much has happened since then.

One of the issues that we all need to be aware of is the fact that Yisroel Shapiro's father was a prominent orthodox rabbi in Baltimore. Besides being a synagogue rabbi, his father was the principal of a the Talmudic Academy of Baltimore. His father was connected to may other prominent orthodox rabbis in Baltimore and worldwide.  Recently one of Baltimore's deep dark secrets was made public. Yisroel Shapiro's father, also had a problem with his "urges". Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro had been allegedly molesting boys for over fifty years. One survivor stated he was sure thate Ephraim Shapiro molested hundreds if not thousands of bar mitzvah age boys.

The way the ultra-orthodox rabbis of Baltimore operate is very similar to the way the Catholic church deals with allegations of clergy sexual abuse.  It appears the rabbis do what they can to silence the victims. It also seems as if they rabbis are more concerned with protecting their own personal images and assets, then they are in keeping the Jewish children of Baltimore safe.

Can you imagine the PR nightmare the rabbis of Baltimore were faced with? How would they do damage control?

Many survivors of Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro have stated that they were sure the rabbis of Baltimore were very aware of that he was an "alleged" child molester.  A few years ago the rabbis were faced with the fact that the son of this prominent rabbi, was also allegedly molesting children.  Instead of doing the right thing and notifing the police and child protective services, they chose to handle the matter on their own.

Keep in mind that Yisroel Shapiro's brothers also hold very prominent positions in Baltimore and around the country. The tradition has always been to protect family members of sex offenders over protecting family members of sexually abused children. As a community we need to understand that family members of both offenders and those who have been sexually violated need support. They are not responsible for the actions of the offender, except if they willingly cover up these crimes -- which could lead to more children being abused. The problem is that all parties involved need counseling.  Sex offenders need to be held accountable for their crimes and can receive treatment in prison and often will need residential treatment after they are released. Survivors of sex crimes need both rape victim advocacy and counseling.

It's unknown at this time if the children who were allegedly victimized by Yisroel Shapiro ever received rape crisis counseling. It is also unknown if Yisroel Shapiro ever received sex offender treatment by a qualified mental health provider.

There is no statute of limitations on crimes against children. It's not to late to file a police report and have him investigation. If you or someone you know was victimized by Yisroel Shapiro please contact your local rape crisis center. They are there to protect your rights and can help you make a police report. Rape crisis center's offer free rape counseling and legal advocacy.

One of the local rape crisis center's near the Jewish community in Baltimore is:

STTAR Center

(Sexual Trauma Treatment, Advocacy and Recovery Center)

Main Number: 410-290-6432

24-hour Hot-line: 866-723-3003

Failure to protect the vulnerable is a violation of the following verse: Thou shalt notstand idly by the blood of your neighbor  (Lev. 19:16) -- "Whoever desecrates the name of Heaven in private will ultimately be punished in public, whether the desecration was committed unintentionally or intentionally." Any conspiracy to conceal information about sex crimes will ultimately be made public, creating an even greater hillul Hashem. -- Despite historic debates and arguments, the consensus of contemporary Jewish religious authorities is that such reporting is religiously mandatory. (Rabbi Mark Dratch).

If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected in the state of Maryland, you should call: (800) 332-6347

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Flyer Regarding Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro

October 24, 2004

The following flyer was posted in the Jewish community in Baltimore as a way to warn community members of the allegations made against Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro.

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Alleged Molester Investigated Here

By Phil Jacobs, Executive Editor

Baltimore Jewish Times - July 13, 2007

http://www.jewishtimes.com/News/6992.stm

Yisroel Shapiro is the target of a State's Attorney's Office investigation.This article is part of a continuing series on sexual molestation in the Jewish community. The names of the alleged victims have been changed.

Two alleged victims of sexual molestation by Yisroel Shapiro of Olympia Avenue in Baltimore City filed a complaint June 8 with the Baltimore City Police Department's Sex Offense Unit. The complaint triggered an investigation by the State's Attorney's Office.

The Baltimore Jewish Times did not gain final confirmation of the timeline of the investigation until this week.

Mr. Shapiro, a former bar mitzvah lessons teacher, is being investigated for allegations of sexual molestation of minors. The Jewish Times has read a copy of the filed papers.

Man holding his face ashamed

On June 11, the two alleged victims said they were informed by the city's State's Attorney's Office that an investigation was going forward. A staff person in the State's Attorney's Office familiar with the case confirmed the investigation but was not authorized to release details.

Yisroel Shapiro is the son of the late Rabbi Ephraim F. Shapiro. According to a Jewish Times investigation during the past year, Rabbi Shapiro allegedly molested at least several dozen young boys and girls –– perhaps in hundreds of incidents –– while serving as principal and dormitory counselor at the Talmudical Academy and spiritual leader of the former Agudas Achim Synagogue from the 1950s to the 1970s. Rabbi Shapiro died in 1989.

Local attorney Isaac Klein, responding to a Jewish Times interview request on behalf of Yisroel Shapiro via telephone, said June 21 that although he is not Mr. Shapiro's legal counselor, "I explained to him I could see no benefit for him to talk to you on-the-record or off-the-record. Don't call him back. He doesn't want to talk to you." Another intermediary several weeks ago was informed that representatives of the Jewish Times would meet with Mr. Shapiro and share the contents of this article, in the presence of people he chose to bring. There was no response to that request.

Last April, two of Mr. Shapiro's brothers held a meeting with this reporter and two alleged victims of Rabbi Shapiro –– part of a three-hour conversation prior to the publication of the original Jewish Times article on Rabbi Shapiro. In that encounter, the brothers acknowledged that they had one brother who was removed from bar mitzvah teaching lessons because there were some "questions."

"He was taken away from teaching children," said one of the brothers. "He sought and was given help. Was that not enough? Would it have been better if [they] had taken him out and shot him?"

In the Baltimore City Police Department complaint, one of the alleged victims, Gary, stated, "[Yisroel Shapiro] would shuckle [rock back and forth in prayer], holding me against himself and leining [chanting Torah] out loud while he was feeling me up and touching me."

At another point, Gary reported, "I could feel his erection under me. I would try to get off of his lap, but he'd hold me very tightly. ... I must have been doing something wrong. I thought it was my fault. It was very confusing for me as a child. I just wanted to learn."

Harold, another alleged victim, said that by his second or third bar mitzvah lesson, Mr. Shapiro was putting his hand on his shoulder. By the fourth lesson, Mr. Shapiro allegedly forced Harold to sit on his lap and would inappropriately touch Harold's genitals.

When Harold alerted his mother about what was going on, she sat in on a handful of lessons at which nothing happened other than teaching. She felt the issue had settled down and stopped joining her son at the lessons; the molestation allegedly started again.

How did it impact Harold? "I stopped being frum [observant] for quite a while until I got married," he said. "I try to be a trusting person, but in the back of my mind I'm really not."

When he sees Mr. Shapiro in the community, Harold said he "gets a nasty feeling in my stomach."

He added, "My relationship with God changed for a while. It's stronger now than it was then. I'm Jewish, that's the best way I can describe it. I believe in God."

David, another alleged victim, said his mother believed her son so much that she and her husband approached Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz of Darchei Tzedek, the shul Mr. Shapiro attended. David remembers that his parents were told by Rabbi Horowitz that he would look into the matter. (Rabbi Horowitz declined to discuss this matter with the Jewish Times.) David was allegedly molested at age 7 by Rabbi Shapiro and then at age 12 1/2 by his bar mitzvah teacher, Yisroel Shapiro.

Meanwhile, David's parents warned other parents of bar mitzvah-age boys about Mr. Shapiro, and he was removed from teaching around this time.

"I don't remember anything in terms of him sexually touching me," said Jon, another ex-student of Mr. Shapiro. "But it did impact me that here was this man, who was supposedly teaching me bar mitzvah lessons, [and] instead doing body slams on me [while watching wrestling videos].

"It's freaky," he said. "I didn't like going to him."

Jon added that because he sometimes had difficulty focusing while they were learning Torah, Mr. Shapiro would allegedly squeeze his inner thigh to get him to pay attention.

"What I noticed was his wife was never around ó never," he said. "We so many times ended up going into his bedroom. To this day, I don't like to talk to him. I won't even look at him eye-to-eye when I see him."

Paul, who co-filed the police report, went to see Mr. Shapiro for bar mitzvah lessons as a 12-year-old Talmudical Academy student. Mr. Shapiro, he said, would pick him up, place him on his lap, and rub his back and legs.

"I remember coming home from my first lesson," recalled Paul. "My brother, who also had bar mitzvah lessons from him, said, ëDid he put you on his lap like he did with the rest of us?'"

To this day, Paul, now an accomplished area developer and a regular at an Orthodox shul, cannot lein Torah. He attributes it directly to the countless times he was subjected to the back and leg rubs of his teacher.

Like others interviewed for this article, Paul kept the physical contact a secret. But then years passed, and a chance encounter brought him face to face with Mr. Shapiro while in line at the Colonial Village Dunkin Donuts.

He said he reintroduced himself to Mr. Shapiro. He told him he was older now ó 18 ó and could stand up for himself. "I told him that I know what you did to me as a child," said Paul.

Paul added that Mr. Shapiro, caught by surprise, denied any intention of molestation.

Seven years ago, Mr. Shapiro and one of his alleged victims would meet. A tape recording was made of the meeting. The Jewish Times was on hand for a replaying of the tape recently. Had he consented to an interview, Mr. Shapiro would have been asked if he had knowledge of the tape recording. Also, since Mr. Shapiro refuses to talk to the Jewish Times, it is not known if one of the recorded voices is actually his.

"He told me he was teaching for 10 years prior to me, and that he put most of his students on his lap," said a victim's voice on the recording. "He claimed he didn't think he was doing anything wrong."

On the tape, Mr. Shapiro allegedly hinted that he had been abused as "a young child" himself, and that he had recently received 1 1/2 years of therapy. "He thought he was OK," the victim said.

At one point on the tape, the former student said, "A friend even told me that you laid him down and unzipped his pants."

Mr. Shapiro allegedly responded on tape, "That's not true. I'm not that stupid. I would touch students' legs. Sometimes I would do that, but it was not in a sense that I planned it out. As I sit here now, I can tell you I was not fully aware that I was doing something wrong."

The alleged victim then bluntly asked, "You've molested so many children, what makes you think they won't molest their own children? How many kids in this community did you molest?"

Mr. Shapiro allegedly responded, "Maybe more than one."

At another point, Mr. Shapiro allegedly said on the tape, "It's not like I'm a serial killer where I kept records. It wasn't done to do any harm. I'm not that way."

In a recent interview, the victim added, "Nothing really came from the meeting other than him confessing or admitting to putting hundreds of children on his lap. ... So he still walks the streets and lives in my community.

"He has since stopped teaching, but so what?"

Still, the victim said that, if anything, he has worked hard to move on with his life, even though the painful memories remain fresh.

"I'm not mad anymore," he said. "I don't know if I'm hurting anymore. Every survivor at some point has to move on with their lives." n

What Happens To Those Molested?

Barbara Gradet, executive director of Jewish Family Services, has seen more than anyone would care to see on the subject of sexual molestation and children.

When it comes to the issue of what frequency do children who are abused go on to become abusers, she said there is a range of research.

Sexual abuse with girls happens more frequently in the family than out of the family. While with boys, it's more frequent outside of the family.

"Any of the data that is out there you have to look at with a grain of salt," said Ms. Gradet. "This is all so under-reported. But we've found that anywhere from one-third of sexual offenders have been abused themselves. But I've also seen studies that show 10-12 percent of abuse victims become abusers."

She said she thinks the smaller number is likely more accurate.

Also, the numbers of abuse victims who become abusers shoot up when other factors in a person's upbringing are included.

"When researchers study people who were sexual offenders and then learn that they were abused, they then try to find out other factors like family violence, neglect, parental neglect, emotional issues," Mrs. Gradet said. "And when these factors are learned, the likelihood that an abused individual becomes an abuser goes up significantly."

Ms. Gradet described the numbers she has seen as "staggering."

In fact, she has seen studies that report one in six boys experience some sort of sexual abuse. For girls, that number is one in three or four. The average age of an abuse victim, she said, is nine.

Sometimes, she said, the victims do not even know they are being abused as they are not aware of inappropriate touch boundaries.

"It's all dreadful," she said. "This is a public health issue, a mental health issue, a prevention issue. Usually, it's a trusted adult or adolescent. It's that trust factor."

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Yisroel Shapiro Arrested

By Phil Jacobs

Baltimore Jewish Times - December 5, 2007

http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/news/jt/local_news/yisroel_shapiro_arrested/

Yisroel Shapiro has been arrested and charged with two counts of sexual offense in the third degree, sexual offense in the fourth degree and battery.

An arrest warrant was carried out by Baltimore City Police Department detectives at the request of the City State's Attorney's office.

"Mr. Shapiro has been arrested and charged," said Tammy Griffin-Lawman of the City's State's Attorney's office.

Mr. Shapiro, the son of the late Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, himself the center of a Jewish Times investigation of alleged sexual molestation, is a resident of Olympia Avenue in Baltimore City.

An original complaint was filed with the City State's Attorney's office alleging Mr. Shapiro, currently an employee of a local kosher butcher shop, of past molestations. In the Baltimore City Police Department complaint, one of the alleged victims, stated: "Yisroel Shapiro would shuckle or rock back and forth holding me against himself and leaning (chanting Torah) out loud while he was feeling me up and touching me."

At another point, the victim reported, "I could feel his erection under me. I would try to get off of his lap, but he'd hold me very tightly. I must have been doing something wrong. I thought it was my fault. It was very confusing for me as a child. I just wanted to learn."

"I'm ecstatic," said one of his victims, who asked to remain anonymous at this time. "Last night ( Tuesday) I had to pick out his photo in a photo line up. They wrote up the warrant and went and picked him up."

Mr. Shapiro will face a bail review, according to Ms. Griffin-Lawman, and the case will then make its way through district or circuit court.

Mr. Shapiro had hinted to one of his victims that he had been abused as a "young child" himself, and that he had received therapy.

In terms of his alleged crimes, Mr. Shapiro said to the victim, "I can tell you I was not fully aware that I was doing something wrong."

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City bar mitzvah teacher charged with sex offenses - Incidents involving two boys allegedly occurred more than a decade ago

By Melissa Harris

Baltimore Sun - December 18, 2007

www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-assault1218,0,4417731.story?coll=bal_travel_util

A former bar mitzvah lessons teacher in Baltimore's Orthodox Jewish community has been charged with sex offenses against two boys that are alleged to have occurred more than a decade ago, according to the city state's attorney's office.

The boys were learning to chant passages from the Torah at Israel Shapiro's home on Olympia Avenue on separate occasions in September 1988 and June 1994 when the offenses are said to have occurred, according to court documents.

Shapiro was charged Dec. 4 with felony child abuse, second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense in both cases. The boys, who are related, came forward in June, according to Baltimore police spokesman Sterling Clifford.

Prosecutors handling the case were not in their office Tuesday, and the men making the accusations did not return phone calls Tuesday.

Accusations against Shapiro were known in the Orthodox community as early as 2004, when alleged victims began circulating a flier with Shapiro's name and picture, according to Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center Inc., which is an advocate on behalf of Jewish victims of sexual abuse in Baltimore.

Polin has posted a copy of the flier on the center's Web site.

According to court documents, Shapiro put the boys, then age 12 and 13, on his lap while they practiced chanting the Torah. One of the victims reported that Shapiro would touch him inappropriately over his clothing, and the other said he was held on Shapiro's lap against his will and touched inappropriately.

Shapiro, 57, works in a kosher butcher shop, according to the

Jewish Times, which reported extensively on the allegations in June.

A phone message left Tuesday at Shapiro's house was not returned.

Arthur C. Abramson, director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, said that the organization recently became aware of the allegations but had not been involved in the matter or Shapiro's removal from teaching.

"The Orthodox community -- that end of the Orthodox community -- tends to be very insular," Abramson said. "Information can circulate very rapidly within the framework of the Orthodox community, and it doesn't necessarily get out into more general circles unless reported by The Sun or the Jewish Times."

In April, amid discussions in the Orthodox community about the allegations, Vaad HaRabbonim of Baltimore, the city's Council of Orthodox rabbis, released a letter on "Abuse in Our Community."

"We feel it essential to discuss this matter directly with you, as the greatest allies of the abuser are ignorance and silence," according to the letter, which was signed by nearly two dozen rabbis.

Shapiro is out on a combined $175,000 bail in the two cases.

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Accused Of Molesting Bar Mitzvah Students

by Adam May

CBS News (Baltimore) - December 19, 2007

Click here to watch video: http://wjz.com/local/rabbi.molesting.yisroel.2.614587.html

PIKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — At a kosher deli off Reisterstown Road in a Pikesville stripmall, Eyewitness News found Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro, a butcher who jumped out from behind his desk and hid from our cameras when we tried to ask him about new criminal charges that he sexually abused two young boys during Bar Mitzvah lessons.

Shapiro never came out, but a coworker did. The man later yelled at Eyewitness News after we walked out the door that the allegations against Shapiro were "fabricated."

City prosecutors say "Over the past several months, police and prosecutors have conducted an extensive investigation that led to the charges."

The alleged abuse took place at Shapiro's home off Olympia Street in 1988 and 1994. Some neighbors caught wind of the allegations a few years back and posted flyers.

One victim tells police he was forced to chant passages from the Torah as he was inappropriately touched.

"The problem is that we don't know if there's more victims. We know a few but not how many there have actually been," said Vicki Polin.

Polin heads a support group for victims of rabbi abuse. She's concerned that some leaders in the Orthodox community keep abusers quiet.

"They're told they shouldn't report it to secular authorities because it could start another holocaust. Unfortunately, it starts another type of holocaust where an accuser has access to hundreds of children and each time they perfect their skills," she said.

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CALL TO ACTION: Case of Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro

Demanding Transparency and Accountability from our Religious Leaders!

December 28, 2007

It's a well known fact in the orthodox community of Baltimore that Yisroel Shapiro daven's (prays) at Congregation Darchi Tzedek synagogue, located on Seven Mile Lane. This is a synagogue in which children can be seen running in and out of. One would think that Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz's first concern would be to make sure the children of his shul were protected and to start asking if any children might have already been molested so that he could assist in them getting help. To this day Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz has never issued public statement warning his congregants of the fact that Shapiro was arrested and charged with child molestation. Unless a parent read The Awareness Center's web page, has been reading blogs or another parent told them, they are unaware that there is an alleged sexual predator amongst them.

The Awareness Center is asking that everyone contact Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz and the Baltimore Vaad HaRabbonim Rabbinical and ask them to:

  1. Make public the plan they established to notify parents in the community of the potential dangers of their children being left alone with Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro.

  2. We are also asking that this statement include the safety plan created when Yisroel Shapiro is davening at Darchi Tzedek or any synagogue. They also need to make public the safety plan they established for Wasserman's and Lemberger," the retail business in which Shapiro is employed and also for any other public location Shapiro may enter.

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer - President

Vaad Harabbonim of Baltimore

410-358-3450

Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz

Congregation Darchei Tzedek

410-653-1688

410-486-0445 (Rabbi Horowitz)

7307 7 Mile Lane

Pikesville, MD 21208

Members of the Vaad HaRabbonim

1. Rabbi Elan Adler, Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation

2. Rabbi Reuben Arieh, Ohr HaMizrach Congregation

3. Rabbi Menachem Goldberger, Congregation Tiferes Yisroel

4. Rabbi Emanuel Goldfeiz, Congregation Beit Yaakov

5. Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, Cong. Shmorei Emunah

6. Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion

7. Rabbi Dovid Haber, KAYTT and Star-K

8. Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, Agudath Israel of Baltimore and Star-K

9. Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, Sheiris Yisroel

10. Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan, Chabad Lubavitch of Baltimore

11. Rabbi Nesanel Kostelitz, Machzikei Torah Congregation and the Community Kollel

12. Rabbi Chaim Landau, Ner Tamid

13. Rabbi Elchonon Lisbon, Bais Lubavitch - Chabad of Park Heights

14. Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger, Ner Israel Rabbinical College and High School

15. Rabbi Gavriel Newman, Beth Jacob Congregation

16. Rabbi Shlomo Salfer, Winands Road Synagogue Center

17. Rabbi Jonathan Seidemann, Kehilath B'nai Torah

18. Rabbi Simcha Shafran, Adath Yeshurun and the Bais Din of Baltimore

19. Rabbi Mordechai Shuchatowitz, Agudath Israel of Greenspring and Av Beis Din of Baltimore

20. Rabbi Shmuel Silber, Suburban Orthodox

21. Rabbi Amrom Taub, Arugas Habosem Congregation

22. Rabbi Y. Zvi Weiss, Bais Haknesses of Baltimore

23. Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg, Beth Tfiloh

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CALL FOR ACTION: Phil Jacob Going Soft on the case of Rabbi Israel 'Yisroel' Shapiro

The Awareness Center - January 18, 2008

The Awareness is thankful to Phil Jacobs, executive editor and the Baltimore Jewish Times for continuing to write about sex crimes in the Baltimore community. The problem is that Phil Jacobs keeps referring to Rabbi Israel (Yisroel) Shapiro as "Mr." instead of using his ordained title of "Rabbi". This is a case of clergy sexual abuse and should be referred to as such. By not doing so takes away some of the influence and status he had over the children he molested.

Rabbi Israel (Yisroel) Shaprio is the son of the late Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro and the brother of two other ordained rabbis. One of his brothers is living in Maryland and the other residing in Massachusetts, both are Rosh yeshiva's (deans) of two different Jewish day schools. His family has a great deal of influence and clout in the orthodox community of Baltimore, which includes connections with the administration at Ner Israel Rabbinical College (and high school), Rabbi Moshe Heinemann and Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer.

Some time ago The Awareness Center put out a CALL FOR ACTION on this case, which you can download at: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/ShapiroYisroel_CallToAction.pdf. It's odd that Phil Jacobs never mentioned any of the following demands in his article:

The Awareness Center is asking that everyone contact Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz and the Baltimore Vaad HaRabbonim and ask them to:

  1. Make public the plan they established to notify parents in the community of the potential dangers of their children being left alone with Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro.

  2. We are also asking that this statement include the safety plan created when Yisroel Shapiro is davening (praying) at Darchi Tzedek or any synagogue.

  3. They also need to make public the safety plan they established for Wasserman's and Lemberger," the retail business in which Shapiro is employed and also for any other public location Shapiro may enter.

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer - President

Vaad Harabbonim of Baltimore

410-358-3450

Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz

Congregation Darchei Tzedek

410-653-1688

410-486-0445 (Rabbi Horowitz)

Considering the fact that Phil Jacobs is the executive editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times, I'm sure he has influence in how long or short a story is in his paper. Please call and or write to Phil Jacobs and ask him why he's going soft on this story.

Phil Jacobs, Executive Editor

pjacobs@jewishtimes.com

Phone: 410-752-3504

Fax: 443-451-6025

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Yisroel Shapiro Pleads `Not Guilty'

Israel Shapiro Gets April 1 trial date for multiple molestation charges.

By Phil Jacobs

Baltimore Jewish Times - January 18, 2008

http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/news/jt/local_news/yisroel_shapiro_pleads_not_guilty/

"Not guilty."

This was the plea entered into court record by Israel Shapiro before Judge John Miller Tuesday morning in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Mr. Shapiro made his plea in response to charges of three counts of child sexual abuse, three counts of third degree sexual offense, three counts of fourth degree sex offenses and six counts of second degree assault. The charges were brought to court by the State's Attorney's Sex Offense Unit.

Unless a plea deal is made, Mr. Shapiro will appear in court for an April 1 trial.

The allegations made by plaintiffs dated back to 1987-88 and 1993-94.

Mr. Shapiro, a former bar mitzvah teacher, currently works in a local butcher shop.

An Orthodox Jew, he appeared in court wearing a gray suit and gray blue tie, but without wearing any sort of kippah or head covering. He kept his hands on his knees before rising to face the judge.

That omission of a kippah or yarmulke was noted by the plaintiff.

"When I saw him walk in without his yarmulke on, I thought, `What a hypocrite.' He didn't take his yarmulke off when he was molesting me. But before a judge in a court room, he doesn't have it on," said one of two plaintiffs.

Mr. Shapiro was represented before Judge Miller by local attorney Isaac Klein.

Mr. Shapiro was arrested and charged in early December. He is the son of the late Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, himself the center of a BALTIMORE JEWISH TIMES investigation of a alleged sexual molestation.

Before ascending the steps to the fourth floor courtroom in the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse, one of the plaintiffs in the case, visibly emotional, said, "I'm feeling sick."

When asked what he wanted to come from the charges, his answer was simple: "I want him to go to jail," he said.

In the courtroom, the plaintiff, who was just a young teen when the allegations took place, held hands tightly with his wife.

In the charging documents, the plaintiffs wrote that "Israel Shapiro would shuckle [or rock back and forth] holding me against himself and leining [chanting Torah] out loud while he was feeling me up and touching me."

At another point, the victim reported "I could feel his erection under me. I would try to get off his lap, but he'd hold me very tightly. I must have been doing something wrong. I thought it was my fault. It was very confusing me as a child. I just wanted to learn."

On Tuesday morning, there was no doubting the serious nature of the situation. Upon entering the courthouse, visitors had to look at an electronic monitor directing them to the appropriate court room. It was like searching for one's flight on the video departures board at the airport. But instead of departures and arrives, the board was divided into misdemeanors and felonies.

There on the felony side of the board was Mr. Shapiro. And before a courtroom of people awaiting their time with Judge Miller, Mr. Shapiro's case was the first one called. The entire not guilty plea took only minutes.

"It's good there's a trial date," said the plaintiff. "It's a step in the right direction."

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Maryland: A Sex Offender Friendly state?

The Awareness Center's Press Statement

For Immediate Release

March 10, 2008

Statement by Vicki Polin, Founder and Executive Director - The Awareness Center

443-857-5560

Not Placed On Sex Offender Registry - Case of Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro

Monday, March 10, 2008 -- Judge John P. Miller of the Baltimore City Circuit Court basically gave Rabbi Israel (Yisroel) Shapiro a slap on the hand after entering an Alford plea on crimnal sexual abuse charges.

Shapiro was sentenced to perform 300 hours of community service and to pay $10,800 in restitution to those he criminally sexually abused. In addition, he was ordered by the court to keep away from anyone under the age of 18. The judge also ordered Shapiro to undergo sex offender screening and treatment.

After calling both the Baltimore City Court House and the Baltimore CIty States Attorneys Office, The Awareness Center was able to confirm that Israel (Yisroel) Shapiro will NOT be place on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. The reason is because Maryland is not in compliance with the federal sex offender registry mandate.

An Alford plea allows a defendant to assert his or her innocence, yet admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could probably convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty.

It has been confirmed that Yisroel Shapiro is an ordained orthodox rabbi, yet the title has been downplayed in the news media and the community. Shapiro comes from a rabbinic family, in which his father (the late Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro) and his two brothers are also rabbis.

The allegations made by the survivors dated back to 1987-88 and 1993-94. If any of the survivors of Yisroel Shapiro are under the age of 25, they are still eligible to file a civil suit against their offender and also against those who helped to cover up the crime.

According to Maryland law they do not place convicted sex offenders on the state sex offender registry retroactively. If a survivor came forward prior to 1995-96 and the convicted offender was under supervision in 2001, then the offender would be on the registry. Because the survivors in this case waited until recently to come forward, the case would be considered retroactive. This is a law that needs to be changed and put in compliance with the federal mandate.

If you are a Jewish survivor of a sex crime (incest, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, clergy sexual abuse, professional sexual misconduct) please contact The Awareness Center at 443-857-5560.

For more information on this law or if you would like to communicate with Judge John P. Miller:

Baltimore City States Attorney Office

Tammi Griffin-Lawman

Mitchell Courthouse, Room 310

410-396-5040

Judge John P. Miller

Baltimore City Circuit Court

410-396-5066

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Shapiro Found Guilty

By Phil Jacobs

Baltimore Jewish Times - March 10, 2008

http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/news/jt/local_news/shapiro_found_guilty/

Former bar mitzvah lessons teacher Israel Shapiro was found guilty of child sexual molestation and given five years probation last Monday morning, March 10, in an Alford plea entered before Judge John P. Miller in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

With an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit to a crime and asserts innocence but admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could probably convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty.

Emotions ran high in the packed courtroom as Mr. Shapiro, a resident of Olympia Avenue in Upper Park Heights who currently works in a butcher shop, was also sentenced to performing 300 hours of community service and paying $10,800 in restitution to his victims. In addition, he was ordered by the court to keep away from anyone under the age of 18.

The charges were brought to the court by the State's Attorney's Sex Offense Unit. The allegations made by the plaintiffs dated back to 1987-88 and 1993-94.

Mr. Shapiro was arrested and charged in early December. He is the son of the late Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, who was the center of a BALTIMORE JEWISH TIMES investigation of a alleged sexual molestation.

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Teacher of bar mitzvah lessons pleads guilty to sex offense

He faces suspended prison time, probation on child abuse charges, prosecutors say

By a Sun reporter

Baltimore Sun - March 11, 2008

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-abuse0311,0,2955160.story

A former bar mitzvah lessons teacher active in Baltimore's Orthodox Jewish community pleaded guilty yesterday to sexual child abuse and a third-degree sex offense after having been accused of abusing two boys more than a decade ago, according to city prosecutors.

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge John P. Miller sentenced Israel Shapiro to a suspended five-year prison term and five years of probation. The judge ordered Shapiro to stay away from the victims, to have no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, pay $10,800 in restitution to one of the boys and perform 300 hours of community service.

The judge also ordered Shapiro to undergo sex offender screening and treatment, but he will not have to register as a sex offender with the state because the registry was not in existence when the crimes occurred.

Police have said in charging documents that the abuse occurred on separate occasions in September 1988 and June 1994, when the boys were 12 and 13 years old. Police said the boys were learning to chant passages from the Torah at Shapiro's home on Olympia Avenue.

Accusations against Shapiro were known throughout Baltimore's Orthodox community for years when the victims circulated fliers with his name and picture. One of the posters was posted on the Web site of the Awareness Center Inc., an advocacy group on behalf of Jewish victims of sexual abuse in Baltimore.

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Local

Advocates upset over rabbi's plea deal

By Luke Broadwater

The Examiner - March 12, 2008

http://www.examiner.com/a-1273316~Advocates_upset_over_rabbi_s_plea_deal.html

BALTIMORE - A group of Jewish advocates against sexual assault is angry over a plea deal for a Baltimore City rabbi who pleaded guilty to abusing young boys but avoided jail time.

"I'm very upset about it," said Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center in the city.

"He should go to jail. I'm also very upset that he won't be on the sex offender registry."

Israel Shapiro, 57, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of sexual abuse of a child and one count of third-degree sex offense before Baltimore City Circuit Judge John Miller and was sentenced to five years of probation.

He must stay away from his victims and have no unsupervised contact with children, under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors said.

Shapiro also was ordered to pay $10,800 in restitution to one of the victims, undergo sex offender screening and treatment.

He is also prohibited from using a computer to contact children.

Shapiro was not required to register as a sex offender because the incidents occurred before the sex offender registry was created.

Lawmakers in Annapolis are working on a bill that would make the registry retroactive.

Baltimore City State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy said in an interview Monday she was hoping to get the law changed to make Maryland residents aware of the those living in their neighborhoods who committed sexual offenses prior to the creation of the registry.

A statement of probable cause is not in Shapiro's court file because Shapiro was charged by a grand jury indictment.

But Polin said the abuse dates back to 1988 and involves 12- and 13-year-old boys whom Shapiro taught.

The Awareness Center posted a photo of Shapiro on its Web site to make the Jewish community in the Baltimore region aware of the allegations against Shapiro, she said.

But Polin said she worries that without Shapiro registering as a sex offender, there won't be enough scrutiny on him.

"This guy goes into a synagogue where there's tons of little kids, and no one is monitoring him," Polin said.

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Networking and Self-Help Groups for the Awareness Center This link will bring you to a list of different mailing lists offered by The Awareness Center. We offers several different email groups,which include our general mailing list, press-releases, Jewish survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Jewish Survivors of Clergy Abuse (by Rabbis and Cantors), Parents of children who were molested, Family members of sex offenders, etc.


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Some of the information on The Awareness Center's web pages may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.

We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this update for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Last Updated:  03/11/2008

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

--Margaret Mead

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