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Case of Cantor Michael Segelstein

(AKA: Michael Alan Segelstein)

Chabad of Las Vegas, Nevada

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."  

-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Originally arraigned on one count each of attempted sexual assault, battery with intent to commit sexual assault and open and gross lewdness. He pled guilty as part of a plea agreement to open or gross lewdness, received one year suspended sentence with conditions and court ordered into counseling and was discharged from probation on December 2, 2005. He still faces a civil trial. Last I checked pre-trial was scheduled for April 24, 2006 at 09:30 AM and trial was set for May 1, 2006 at 09:30 AM.

Michael Alan Segelstein is currently on both the Flordia and National Sex Offender registries.


CALL TO ACTION:  Should a convicted sex offender who's on the national sex offender registry be allowed on Purim to be drunk and performing in front of children? I guess the Chabad of Southern Nevada thinks it's ok.

Cantor Michael Segelstein is the one on the right wearing a black suit.

Michael Alan Segelstein is currently on both the Flordia and National Sex Offender registries.

Segelstein was originally arraigned on one count each of attempted sexual assault, battery with intent to commit sexual assault and open and gross lewdness. He pled guilty as part of a plea agreement to open or gross lewdness, received one year suspended sentence with conditions and court ordered into counseling and was discharged from probation on December 2, 2005.

It appears that Michael Segelstein is an honored member of Chabad of Southern Nevada. Please contact Rabbi Shea Harlig and let your voice be heard!

Rabbi Shea Harlig, Director

Email: chabadlv@aol.com

1261 S. Arville Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102


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:

2000

  1. Orthodox in an Unorthodox Place:Jews settling in this not exactly holy land have made Las Vegas the nation's fastest-growing Jewish community  (08/2000)

2001

2002

  1. Temple member faces sex charges (07/25/2002)

2003

2004

2005

  1. Cantor Michael Segelstein is on the Florida and National Sex Offender Registries   (12/15/2005)

2006

  1. Blackstone Civil/Criminal/Probate Court Case Inquiry  (01/09/2006)

  2. Questions for Rabbi Rabbi Shea Harlig of Chabad in Las Vegas (01/09/2006)

2007

  1. In jurisdictional jungle, where does the buck stop in misconduct cases?  (01/10/2007)
  2. Rabbi Shea Harlig Sues Rape Victim of Convicted Sex Offender for Attorney Fees  (04/13/2007)
  3. Rabbi Harlig, Convicted Sex Offender - Michael Segelstein and US Rep. Shelley Berkley (Nevada)  (04/23/2007)
  4. Chabad Motto? If At First You Don't Succeed, Sue the Victim   (06/21/2007)
  5. CALL TO ACTION:  Should a convicted sex offender who's on the national sex offender registry be allowed on Purim to be drunk and performing in front of children? I guess the Chabad of Southern Nevada thinks it's ok.    (11/07/2007)

Also see:  

  1. The Awareness Center's Brochure  

  2. When A Family Member Molests: Reality, Conflict, and The Need For Support
  3. Missionaries, Cults and the Jewish Community
  4. Rabbis Investigating Sex Crimes
  5. Recidivism of Sex Offenders  (U.S. Department of Justice: Center for Sex Offender Management)
  6. National Sex Offender Registry
  7. Rabbis, Cantors and Other Trusted Officials

  8. Offenders: Problems Our Parents Wouldn't Speak Of

  9. Policies Addressing Victimization and Offenders

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Feature

Orthodox in an Unorthodox Place:

Jews settling in this not exactly holy land have made Las Vegas the nation's fastest-growing Jewish community

By Stephen J. Dubner, Photography by Ellen Dubner

Las Vegas Life - August 2000

http://www.lvlife.com/2000/08/features/story01.html

Chazzen Michael Segelstein, reading the megelliah back in 2000.  One year later Segelstein commits a sex crime.

At Rabbi Shea Harlig's Chabad center, men from the Lubavitch congregation prepare to read the Purim story.

Besides being a pair of Brooklyn Jews, Bugsy Siegel and Shea Harlig wouldn't seem to have much in common. Siegel's formative years were spent breaking skulls, running numbers, raping and bootlegging; the teenage Harlig studied in a yeshiva. Siegel became a world-class thug, his charm matched only by his ambition; Harlig became an Orthodox rabbi. And yet, when the two men first laid eyes upon Las Vegas, decades apart, they were seized by the same dream. They did not see, as others saw, a forbidding desert. They saw a shimmering expanse of boundless opportunity, a veritable land of milk and honey.

Siegel's dream ended badly, with gunfire. Shea Harlig's dream, of establishing a foothold for Orthodox Jewry in a most unorthodox setting, has so far played out according to plan.

"When I moved here, in December 1990, I was the only yarmulke-wearing Jew in town," he says. That would seem like lousy odds--one of about 30,000--but it's just what he wanted. He was 25 years old, freshly married and jobless. He had considered posts in Ohio, in California, even Copenhagen. None of them appealed. "You're looking for a place where you can make things happen," he explains, an excited smile flashing beneath his shaggy beard. "I always wanted to go where there were no Orthodox Jews. I was looking to get away, to start my own show."

Rabbi Dovid Lieb Myhill celebrates Purim by dancing with his son on his shoulders.

His show has started and then some. As the overall population of Las Vegas has exploded, so has the Jewish population, to about 70,000, the fastest-growing Jewish community in North America. Which has led to a full-throttle boom: a rash of new synagogues (nearly 20 congregations, up from a handful a decade ago), outreach programs, kosher restaurants and grocery sections; two Jewish Community Centers are also in the works. Rabbi Harlig is hardly responsible for all of it, but more roads than not lead to him. "This is a midbar [desert], and I mean that spiritually, intellectually and in other ways," says Rabbi Louis Lederman, the retired spiritual leader of the Temple Beth Sholom, a Conservative synagogue that is the city's oldest. "He has taken a midbar and brought so much to this community. No offense to the Conservative or Reform rabbis, but he's the only one who has really lifted the Jewish level of this community."

Rabbi Harlig belongs to the Lubavitcher movement, a Hasidic group of legendary zeal also known as Chabad. Its aim: to bring every single Jew, no matter how secular, back into the fold. It is Chabad that sends motor homes into the streets of Manhattan, blaring Hasidic music and trolling for curious Jews. It is Chabad that holds Passover Seders in Siberia and Katmandu and Kazakhstan. For decades, the movement was led by the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, whom many Lubavitchers believed was Moshiach, the messiah. To spread his message, Rabbi Schneerson sent Chabad "emissaries"--usually young married couples--to any city that had even a small Jewish population. "I have found two things in every city I have ever visited," a noted Israeli rabbi once remarked. "Coca-Cola and Lubavitcher Hasidim."

Wearing a baseball cap in lieu of a yarmulke, Mayor Oscar Goodman opens a Purim gift, accompanied by three of Rabbi Harlig's children in Purim costumes.

Every city, apparently, except Las Vegas. Rabbi Schneerson had repeatedly vetoed a Las Vegas emissary. The city's secondary vices aside, gambling is plainly anathema to Jewish law: The Talmud states that "one who plays with dice" is unfit to bear witness. And while the city has had plenty of prominent Jewish citizens--Siegel and Moe Dalitz and Lefty Rosenthal among them--they seemed unlikely candidates for Chabad ministry.

On the other hand, Rabbi Harlig never had a shot at them. His missionary zeal is matched only by his entrepreneurial zeal; there are few doors that he hasn't managed to stick at least one foot inside.

Today, for instance, Mayor Oscar Goodman is awaiting his visit. It is Purim, the holiday marking the defeat of Haman, a wicked Persian who tried to exterminate the Jews. On Purim, it is customary for Jews to wear costumes, bestow gifts, donate to charity and get drunk.

Rabbi Harlig, because he is driving a carload of children to the mayor's office, five of them his own, has presumably refrained from this last custom. Nevertheless, he is running late, and the mayor isn't pleased. When the rabbi finally arrives, the mayor tells a secretary to keep him waiting. "Let the kids drive him nuts for about five minutes," he says. "Get back at him."

Students at the Chabad center's Desert Torah Hebrew Day School work together on a puzzle.

Shortly, Rabbi Harlig strides inside, the flock of children in his wake. "No no no, who let you in?" asks the mayor.

"Be nice," says the rabbi.

"No, I'm not going to be nice. I'll be nice to the children but not to you."

Unlike many Chabad donors--that is, Jews who don't know much Judaism but want to keep it alive--Mayor Goodman has strong enough religious credentials to not be cowed into piety. He has belonged to Temple Beth Sholom since he moved to Las Vegas in 1964, later serving as its president. Still, on Election Day last year, with Goodman's name on the ballot, it was Rabbi Harlig's synagogue where he went to pray.

"That was the last time I saw you in shul," says the rabbi.

"Because I go to another shul, because of the wickedness of you, Haman."

Rabbi Myhill prepares to label the kosher chicken packaged by the butcher in an Albertson's store in west Las Vegas.

Most mayors, it should be pointed out, would not call a rabbi "Haman." Most mayors did not make their living defending Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, either.

"Come on, a little yarmulke--you've got to wear something," the rabbi is saying. He wants to recite a Purim blessing but the mayor's head is uncovered.

"Troublemaker," growls the mayor.

It should also be pointed out that Rabbi Harlig gives as good as he gets. "If not for me," he tells the mayor, "you never would have won. Remember the first one in the Jewish community who was there for your announcement? You were able to get three homeless people to show up, and me."

The rabbi hands the mayor some Purim literature and the mayor throws it in the garbage. The children help the mayor unwrap the gifts they've brought him: box upon box of chocolates and hamantashen, a Purim pastry. The mayor seems flustered at the bounty. He offers it around: "As Tony Spilotro said, children, you can only eat one steak at a time."

With the niceties, such as they are, concluded, the mayor scrounges for his checkbook. "It makes me sick," he says, with only half a grin. "I mean, he gives you two dollars' worth of hamantashen and wants a check for ..."--he looks up at the rabbi--"how much, $900?"

The rabbi nods. The mayor scribbles. The children eat hamantashen. From the other side of life, neither Bugsy Siegel nor Rabbi Schneerson can quite believe what they are witnessing.

Rabbi Louis Lederman, once leader of Temple Beth Shalom, now performs civil wedding ceremonies at the MGM Grand.

The religious school at Ner Tamid, the city's oldest Reform synagogue, bears the name of the building's chief benefactor: Moe Dalitz.

This might strike some as incongruous--as if, say, a Justice Department library were dedicated to Al Capone--but Jewish life in Las Vegas has been one long incongruity. Moe Sedway, a Flamingo boss and former Siegel henchman, was the chief fund-raiser for the Nevada United Jewish Appeal. (Like Dalitz, he understood that nothing touched up a former gangster's reputation like charity.) Jack Entratter, who ran the Sands and served as president of Temple Beth Sholom, once showed up for services toting a revolver. When Rabbi Harlig first came to town, he conducted High Holy Day services at the Aladdin. "Here I was, a full-dressed Orthodox Jew walking through a casino for Kol Nidre," he recalls. "I felt so unkosher."

And then there was the time that Temple Beth Sholom, packed beyond capacity for the High Holy Days, held overflow services in a church across the street. The crucifix was dutifully covered with a white cloth. But when the air conditioning vents began blasting, up blew the cloth and there hung Jesus for all to see.

The wives of local business leaders chat during a fund-raiser for the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas.

As the Jewish boom takes hold, however, such unorthodoxy is fading. The crucifix incident, for one, will never happen again, at least not at Temple Beth Sholom. The congregation is building a $10 million complex in Summerlin South, replete with religious school, two ballrooms, two kitchens, a ritual bath and a sanctuary that can seat 1,800. Rabbi Harlig, far removed from the Aladdin, recently opened a $2 million Chabad center on the west side of town, with substantial funding from Venetian owner Sheldon Adelson. (The bathrooms, tiled with leftover Venetian marble, are especially spiffy.) Rabbi Yitzchak Wyne, an Orthodox rabbi from Edmonton, is building a $1.2 million synagogue just east of Summerlin, largely through the charity of real-estate developer Eskander Ghermaizian. "Everybody needs their billionaire," explains Rabbi Wyne. "Harlig has Adelson and I have Ghermaizian."

Rabbi Wyne, 33, is a quiet but blunt talker, a father of five young sons, and the other major Orthodox presence in Las Vegas. He wears a dark suit, wire-rimmed glasses, his beard trimmed close. His office, synagogue and classrooms are currently housed in a double-wide construction trailer surrounded by chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. An earthmover sits outside, where the synagogue will soon rise.

Batsheva Lederman, daughter of Rabbi Lederman, lights the Sabbath candles as a friend looks on.

He is both an ally and rival of Rabbi Harlig. He calls their relationship "not warm and not cold." Whereas Rabbi Harlig's ambitions are broad and emotional--to bring every lost Jew home and inspire all Jews to perform the Torah's commandments--Rabbi Wyne positions himself as a more cerebral alternative. "From a political standpoint, Harlig will always be the right-wing religious zealot and I will always be the moderate," he says.

Before moving to town five years ago, he phoned Rabbi Harlig. "He said, 'Don't come, no one's religious, no one's Orthodox,'" Rabbi Wyne recalls, "and I said, 'I'm here to make them Orthodox.' ... I said, 'There's 70,000 Jews here. You want them and I want them, so we'll carve up the pie. I'll look at your programs and the ones you're doing, I specifically will not do."

And so the turf was divvied up, rather amicably. Because Rabbi Harlig had started a summer camp for children, Rabbi Wyne geared his programs toward young adults. Rabbi Wyne gladly ceded the kosher-food campaign ("It's a headache," he says) to Rabbi Harlig, who most recently has overseen the opening of a kosher Chinese restaurant, Shalom Hunan; he also persuaded several supermarkets to carry kosher food, including meat, which requires a separate butchering station. And while Rabbi Harlig expanded his outreach, opening two suburban branches and importing four more Chabad rabbis, Rabbi Wyne began building a single Orthodox community, family by family. He has held services in 19 different locations since he arrived, including the health club of an under-construction apartment complex. "The acoustics on the racquetball court," he says, "were great."

Rabbi Wyne's synagogue is aligned with the Young Israel movement--"the McDonald's of Orthodox Judaism," he calls it. He specifically wanted an English name, not Hebrew, since his main targets are single professional Jews. His overriding mission is to halt assimilation, which in Rabbi Wyne's view means halting intermarriage. To that end, he has created singles programs like "Wyne and Cheese" (is the art of the groaner taught in rabbinic academies?) and "Speed Dating." In the latter, men and women pair off for seven "dates" per night, seven minutes each, their quick-fire conversation helped along by a question sheet that Rabbi Wyne provides. For example: "How often do you speak with your parents?" or "Did you think Prince of Egypt was accurate?"

In celebration of Purim, Rabbi Harlig dances with a member of his congregation; as is the custom, men and women dance separately.

His efforts, he says, have produced more than 20 Jewish weddings. But marriage is not enough for Rabbi Wyne. The ultimate success, he says, is for these young couples "to become Orthodox and take responsibility for the Jewish people."

Rabbi Wyne, like most of the rabbis in town, never envisioned himself in Las Vegas. His decision to move here raised eyebrows back in Edmonton. Now that he's recruiting more young rabbis to join him, he finds that the stigma is still alive. "They say, 'Oh man, I couldn't bring my kids to live in that city.' The billboards, the casinos--it just has such a schmutzy, scummy rap."

So how does he persuade them?

Men from Rabbi Harlig's Chabad center read from the Megillah, the book of Esther, which contains the Purim story.

"I tell them that Moshe Feinstein, the greatest rabbi of his generation, lived on the Lower East Side in New York, only six miles away from Times Square. And I"--he pauses expansively--"am 11 miles from the Strip."

The surest sign that the Las Vegas Jewish community has begun to mature?

The bickering.

As the old joke goes: A Jew, stranded for years on a desert island, is finally rescued. It turns out that he has built two synagogues. Why two? "That one," he sneers, pointing, "I don't go to."

Synagogue politics can make Washington seem like a tea party. Rabbi-firings, for instance, are a fact of life. In Las Vegas, trigger fingers are particularly itchy. Rabbi Mel Hecht, who long ago was ousted from Ner Tamid, counts 12 rabbis through the door at Temple Beth Sholom in the 20 years he's lived here. But deposed rabbis are just the start. As the city's Jewish population has multiplied, so have tensions over turf, members, ideology and, especially, funding.

The Jewish Federation of Las Vegas raises money for distribution across the religious spectrum. Last year it took in just $1.3 million, a figure that Rabbi Wyne calls "tragically small." As a result, synagogues and other Jewish institutions must seek out wealthy individuals for large donations. There are several reasons why the Federation figure is so low. For starters, the Las Vegas Jewish community is perhaps the most assimilated in the country. Also, many recent Jewish arrivals still donate in their old communities, or don't see themselves as permanent Las Vegans. But most insiders believe that the Las Vegas Federation is so ineffective because--well, because it is so ineffective. This theory holds that the bar was set way too low in the past, when there wasn't as much need for funds. "People here have been able to buy prominence for what would have been laughed at in other communities," says Rabbi Hecht.

And so rabbis often find themselves battling each other for funding, and the allegiance that goes along with it. Last year, the Las Vegas Sun ran an article about Jewish divorce law. Rabbi Felipe Goodman, a 32-year-old Mexican who is the leader of Temple Beth Sholom, was quoted as saying, "The Talmud can be very sexist. It is a very traditional text. In the times that we live in today, we really need to start changing our interpretation of it."

Rabbi Harlig, the traditionalist, took extreme umbrage. "The sanctity of the Talmud, for traditional Judaism, is second only to the Bible itself," he wrote in a letter to the editor, equating Rabbi Goodman's "offensive" comments with Salman Rushdie's famed critique of Islam.

Rabbi Goodman, in a letter to his congregants, expressed his discomfort with Rabbi Harlig's venomous rhetoric. In closing, he made a plea for his members' souls as well as theirs wallets--since many of them, from the mayor on down, also support Chabad: "I urge you to give thought to the important issue of who we are and how we should channel our support, both moral and financial, to the different religious organizations in our community, and that of course is only for you to decide."

With such fireworks, it is tempting to keep score between rabbis, synagogues, denominations. Cooler heads, however, have no patience for the infighting. "The commonality and the goal here is to engage people, and use Judaism as a vehicle to become a better person," says Ed Bernstein, the ubiquitous lawyer and talk-show host who is now running for Senate. "Any way you can bring people into Judaism is OK with me if they weren't there before, and if egos are going to get hurt because somebody's going from Orthodox to Reform to Conservative, or from this temple to that temple, I really don't care. I don't see this as a struggle internally as to which team is winning."

Bernstein, 50, takes his Judaism seriously. During an interview in his office, he interrupts himself to give his new campaign aide (a non-Jew, imported from Massachusetts) a lengthy and pointed exegesis of The Jew in the Lotus, a book about Judaism and Buddhism he says he has read three times. Growing up in Philadelphia, Bernstein wanted to be a rabbi. He fell away from Judaism but then reconnected in his mid-30s; he has since served as president of Temple Beth Sholom and is the Nevada chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Rabbi Harlig got him in the habit of laying tefillin, a daily ritual in which a Jewish man prays while wearing on his arm and head two small boxes containing Biblical verses, held in place with leather straps. "I lay tefillin every day and I meditate every day," he says. "Occasionally I meditate with my tefillin on. It's a great experience, but as you've noticed, I don't have a lot of hair, except in the back. With tefillin, when you're meditating, during that extra 20 minutes of meditation, the strap on your head leaves an indentation in my hair that lasts me four hours--so I've learned to not meditate with my tefillin on."

Toward the end of the interview, in wander Bernstein's wife, Nancy, and one of their daughters, 5-year-old Eden. Bernstein calls Nancy a "Jewban"--she's a Cuban-American who converted to Judaism. Nancy studied for years, she explains, "to the point where I knew more Judaism than Eddie did."

Eden Bernstein, meanwhile, is being queried on the origin of her name. Who lived in the Garden of Eden?

"Adam and Eve," she answers.

What did they do wrong?

"They ate from the Tree of Knowledge."

And then what happened?

"They got vanished."

Where?

Eden thinks, hard. "I don't know." She turns to her father for help. "Where?"

"To Las Vegas!" he laughs, as if it were the most obvious answer in the world.

It is the day after Purim. Rabbi Harlig is looking back over his 10 years in Las Vegas. His accomplishments notwithstanding, it hasn't all been smooth. He admits that the more liberal Jews consider him "out there" and "brainwashed." The mayor's treatment of him, though half tongue-in-cheek, was hardly an aberration. "When Federation heard that Chabad coming to town," he recalls, "it was like the Russians were coming."

He doesn't much care. He sees himself as doing God's work. Thus are dulled the slings of man. Just now, sitting in his office at the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Chabad Center, he grins with satisfaction as he talks about something that happened in his synagogue two nights ago.

On Purim, it is incumbent upon Jews to gather and hear every word of the Book of Esther, which tells the Purim story. It is the most freewheeling Jewish holiday: Haman's name is lustily booed at every mention; the Jewish victory is cheered; afterward, there is eating and dancing.

Rabbi Harlig drew a sizable, rambunctious, motley Purim crowd, typical of Chabad: devout Jews and first-timers, Hasids and hippies, young parents and widowers. Among them was the author Naomi Ragen, in town from Israel to speak at a Federation fund-raiser. Ragen had begun the night at Temple Beth Sholom. When she found, however, that the Purim reading there was being abbreviated to speed things along, she dashed to the Chabad synagogue.

This is the kind of story that fuels Rabbi Harlig, the Brooklyn exile who discovered in Las Vegas a chance to build from scratch something that neither politics nor fashion can tear down. When asked if he's had to compromise his Orthodoxy to fit this unorthodox city, he practically scowls. "There's nothing I would do to bend," he says. "We teach traditional, authentic Jewish values without any compromise. Because once you tear a few pages out, the whole book falls apart."

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Temple member faces sex charges

By Kim Smith

The Las Vegas Sun - July 25, 2002

A member of a local Jewish temple will face three felony charges alleging he tried to rape a fellow temple member, according to the Clark County District Attorney's Office.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Doug Herndon said Michael Segelstein , 44, will be arraigned August 22nd on one count each of attempted sexual assault, battery with intent to commit sexual assault and open and gross lewdness.

Segelstein and the 46-year-old alleged victim both attended the Chabad of Las Vegas and the Temple Beth Sholom in April 2001, Sgt. Russell Shoemaker of Metro's sexual assault unit said.

The incident is alleged to have taken place that month in the parking lot of the Temple Beth Sholom.

Segelstein may have been a cantor at the Chabad, Shoemaker said. A cantor serves as the musical voice of a Jewish congregation. "According to Rabbi (Menachem) Harlig, no. According to the victim, yes," Shoemaker said.

Court documents state that the alleged victim told police that Segelstein accosted her as she was leaving the temple on April 4, 2001. She said he pushed her up against the car and she fell while trying to escape. Segelstein is alleged to have kissed and groped her against her wishes, telling her in crude language he wanted to have sex with her.

"Due to her religious beliefs, (the woman) went to her rabbi, Rabbi Harlig, to report this incident," the court document states. "(The woman) is an Orthodox Jew. (The woman) says that Orthodox Jews are encouraged to keep matters pertaining to other Jews within the Jewish community." The alleged victim told police that Segelstein apologized for his behavior, but she took the matter to the Chabad's national headquarters in New York.

"Apparently she wasn't satisfied with the resolution," because she reported the incident to Metro in April 2002, Shoemaker said.

The alleged victim could not be reached for comment. Segelstein and his attorney, Jeffrey Shaner, did not immediately return phone calls. Harlig could not be reached for comment either.

According to court documents, Harlig and Segelstein declined to speak with police when they were contacted in May, referring all calls to Shaner. Harlig did eventually speak with police, Shoemaker said. "Rabbi Harlig, once he understood the nature of our investigation, cooperated fully," Shoemaker said. "I believe he initially felt we were investigating something that had already been investigated and resolved by the church."

Segelstein posted $16,000 bail after spending one night in the Clark County Detention Center, Shoemaker said.

Segelstein is the second religious figure in the Las Vegas area to have sex-related charges filed against him in recent months.

The Rev. Mark Roberts faces two felony counts and seven gross misdemeanor counts in connection with allegations made by five young men who claim they were sexually and physically abused by the Catholic priest over a five-year period.

Roberts, who has been suspended from St. Peter the Apostle Church, is scheduled for trial May 19.

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Cantor Michael Segelstein is on the Florida and National Sex Offender Registries.

Florida: http://www3.fdle.state.fl.us/sopu/index.asp?PSessionId=290072223&

National: http://www.nsopr.gov/

Source: Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement

Received: 01-15-2004

Type of Address: Residence

Date of Photo:05-02-2003

Michael Segelstein

Alias: Michael Alan Segelstein

Status: Supervision

Department of Corrections #:            Date of Birth: 05-25-1958

Race: White          Sex: Male             Height: 5' 11"

Hair: Brown         Eyes: Green           Weight: 240 lbs.

Last Reported Address: Las Vegas, NV

County: Clark

Date Address Entered: 01-15-2004

Qualifying Offense(s):  Sex Offense-Other (Nevada)

Segelstein is a Sex Offender under Florida law. Positive identification cannot be established unless a fingerprint comparison is made.

If further information is needed, please contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Sexual Offender/Predator Unit at (1-888-357-7332) between the hours of 8am and 6.30pm, Monday through Friday

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Blackstone Civil/Criminal/Probate Court Case Inquiry

District Case Inquire - Case Summary

http://courtgate.coca.co.clark.nv.us/

Criminal Case:

Case 02-C-187064-C               Just Ct. Case# 02-F -08938         Status CLOSED

Plaintiff State of Nevada           Attorney Roger, David J.

Defendant Segelstein, Michael       Attorney Shaner, Jeffrey I.

Judge Mosley, Donald M.            Dept. 14

Filed Date 10/01/2002              Closed Date 01/06/2003

Last Hear 01/14/2003              For MINUTE ORDER RE: RELEASE

____________________________________________________________________

Filed Date 10/01/2002         Closed Date 01/06/2003

Last Hear 01/14/2003         For MINUTE ORDER RE: RELEASE

Outcome

Next Hear For

Pre-trial Trial

Disposed Disposition

Consolidated

Filed Date Description Performed

12/02/2005 ORDER HONORABLY DISCHARGING PROBATIONER 12/02/2005

For Segelstein, Michael

Filed By State of Nevada 1 page

01/24/2003 ORDER ADMITTING DEFENDANT TO PROBATION AND FIXING THE TERMS THEREOF 01/24/2003

For Segelstein, Michael

Filed By State of Nevada 2 pages

01/09/2003 ORDER OF INCARCERATION 01/09/2003

For Segelstein, Michael

Filed By Segelstein, Michael 2 pages

01/14/2003 MINUTE ORDER RE: RELEASE 01/14/2003

01/06/2003 JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION - PLEA OF GUILTY 01/06/2003

Outcome GRANTED

For Segelstein, Michael

Filed By State of Nevada 2 pages

01/06/2003 GENETIC TESTING FEE 01/07/2003

For Segelstein, Michael

Filed By State of Nevada

01/06/2003 ADMINISTRATION/ASSESSMENT FEE 01/07/2003

For Segelstein, Michael

Filed By State of Nevada

12/19/2002 CASE (RE)ACTIVATED ON

11/22/2002 REPORTER'S TRANSCRIPT UNCONDITIONAL WAIVER OF PRELIMINARY HEARING 09/26/2002

For Segelstein, Michael 4 pages

10/17/2002 GUILTY PLEA MEMORANDUM/AGREEMENT

For Segelstein, Michael

Filed By State of Nevada 7 pages

Filed Date Description Performed

10/17/2002 SENTENCING 12/19/2002

Outcome GRANTED

For Segelstein, Michael

10/10/2002 ARRAIGNMENT CONTINUED 10/17/2002

For Segelstein, Michael

10/01/2002 CRIMINAL BINDOVER

For Segelstein, Michael

Filed By State of Nevada 15 pages

10/01/2002 INITIAL ARRAIGNMENT 10/10/2002

For Segelstein, Michael

10/01/2002 INFORMATION Fee $0.00 10/01/2002

2 pages

Count Charge Minimum Maximum

Fine Place

Sentence

Consecutive / Concurrent

0001 201.210 1 Year 1 Year

$0.00 Clark County Detention Center

SUSPENDED

0001 201.210 3 Years 3 Years

$0.00

PROBATION WITH CONDITIONS

0001 201.210

$0.00

COMMUNITY SERVICE

0001 201.210

$0.00

COUNSELING PROGRAM

0001 201.210 1 Week 1 Week

$0.00 Clark County Detention Center

0001 201.210

$25.00

ADMINISTRATION FEE

Count Charge Description

Offense Bail Plea Negotiated

Disposed Disposition Sentenced

0001 201.210 Open or gross lewdness

Gross Misd. $0.00 Guilty No

12/19/2002 PLED GUILTY 12/19/2002

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Civil Case:

Case 03-A-466121-C                        Status ACTIVE

Plaintiff (Survivors Name Removed)         Attorney ## Unknown ##

Defendant Segelstein, Michael A             Attorney Pro Se

Judge Adair, Valerie                          Dept. 21

Filed Date 04/11/2003                        Closed Date

Last Hear 10/24/2005                         For DEFT'S MTN TO CONTINUE TRIAL; MTN FOR TRIAL SETTING

Outcome GRANTED

Next Hear 01/09/2006                        For PLTF'S MTN TO DISCHARGE ATTY BRUCE GALE OBTAIN                                                           POSSESSION OF ALL FILES /19

Pre-trial 04/24/2006 at 09:30 AM             Trial 05/01/2006 at 09:30 AM

Disposed                                      Disposition

Consolidated

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Call for Action:  Questions for Rabbi Shea Harlig of Chabad of Las Vegas

Please write or call Rabbi Shea Harlig, and ask him the following questions:

January 10, 2005

http://ww.chabadlv.org

Michael Segelstein was originally arraigned on one count each of attempted sexual assault, battery with intent to commit sexual assault and open and gross lewdness.

On December 19, 2002, Michael Segelstein pled guilty to open or gross lewdness, in which he received one year suspended sentence with conditions and court ordered into counseling. According to court documents, Segelstein's probation was successfully completed.  He has since been discharged.  A civil suit is currently pending.

  1. Considering Michael Segelstein was originally arraigned on one count each of attempted sexual assault, battery with intent to commit sexual assault and open and gross lewdness, later plead guilty to the lessor charge -- and a case is still being heard in Civil Court -- do you think it's appropriate for Chabad of Southern Nevada to have a photograph of him on their web page celebrating you fifteenth anniversary?  

  2. Are women safe in your shul? Does anyone monitor Segelstein when he is in your facility, or in the parking lot?

  3. What sort of support has Rabbi Harlig and the congregation of Chabad of Southern Nevada offered to Segelstein's survivor (especially after Segelstein entered a guilty plea)?

  4. What sort of education or training does Rabbi Harlig have in working with survivors of sexual violence and or sex offenders?

  5. Is Chabad of Las Vegas a haven for alleged sexual predators?

Please contact Rabbi Shea Harlig and let your voice be heard!

Rabbi Shea Harlig, Director

Email:  chabadlv@aol.com

1261 S. Arville Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102

(702) 259-0770     fax (702) 877-4700

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REINING IN ABUSE

In jurisdictional jungle, where does the buck stop in misconduct cases?

By Richard Greenberg

JTA - January 10, 2006

http://www.jta.org/page_view_story.asp?intarticleid=17473&intcategoryid=4

NEW YORK (JTA) American Judaism is not a monolith, and that may have implications in the fight against clergy sexual abuse.

On one hand, the mainstream rabbinic organizations have established in-house panels to handle cases of suspected sexual misconduct and other ethics violations by their members. On the other hand, Judaism is highly decentralized, which means individual congregations are largely free to decide how to police themselves in this area.

Consequently there is no guarantee that misconduct cases arising at the synagogue level will find their way to the ethics committees dockets. Even so, several sources said they were confident that serious cases would probably be brought to the attention of denominational-level officials, or the police if necessary.

Whether or not that is actually the case, reactions varied widely to the notion of congregants deciding a sexual misconduct case involving their own rabbi.

That uncomfortable prospect was one of several examined by JTA in this three-month-long investigation of policies that have been drawn up over the past several years to rein in rogue rabbis and others who sexually exploit congregants, students or others.

Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly, said although shul-goers would probably be too lenient when asked to judge their own rabbi, "they generally understand what must be done."

Psychotherapist and author Charlotte Rolnick Schwab, who believes that most aspects of Judaism's internal adjudication system are dysfunctional, said the prospect of a congregation deciding a rabbi's professional fate is especially troubling.

"The problem of dealing with rabbi-perpetrators of sexual abuse is compounded by the fact that individual synagogues have sole power over hiring and firing their rabbis," Schwab wrote in her 2002 book "Sex, Lies, and Rabbis: Breaking a Sacred Trust." The book continued: "The rabbinic organizations can suspend them from membership, can recommend that they resign. They can also recommend that the synagogues fire them for cause. It is shocking that many of these synagogues, even in the face of several women accusing the rabbi, vote to keep him on."

That said, controversies stemming from allegations of rabbinic abuse are not always clear-cut. They are sometimes complex, shaded with ambiguities and subject to varying interpretations.

In one case, for example, the board of the largest Conservative synagogue in western New York, Buffalo's Temple Shaarey Zedek, voted conditionally in March 1999 to keep its rabbi, A. Charles Shalman, after several female congregants reported that he had touched them inappropriately and had made sexually suggestive comments to them, according to press accounts.

Early the following month, the R.A.'s ethics committee, which had investigated the case, summarized its findings in a letter to Shalman that was obtained by the Forward. The letter said in part: "It is painfully clear that you have violated several principles of rabbinic conduct which have caused harm to certain of the women counseled or taught by you."

The letter continued: "Normally, given the nature of the conduct, we would expect you to withdraw from your congregation." But the committee relented, the letter explained, after learning that the synagogue's board, in its March 1999 vote, had decided to permit Shalman to keep his post "under very strictly defined parameters."

The committe, echoing the board's decision, decided that as a condition of his continued employment at Shaarey Zedek, Shalman must undergo therapy with an R.A.-approved practitioner and report regularly to a rabbinical mentor. It also prohibited him from teaching or counseling women on an individual basis without the permission of the ethics committee.

On Aug. 19, 1999, four months after the R.A. decision was handed down, the membership of Temple Shaarey Zedek voted 232 to 87 to keep Shalman. The text of a motion issued in conjunction with the vote clearing Shalman to remain on the pulpit said in part, as reported in the media, that Shalman had been unjustly victimized by "anonymous allegations and subsequent rumors" after having tried to comfort those "in need of such assistance."

Contacted in late December by JTA, Meyers of the R.A. said Shalman had fulfilled all the requirements mandated by the organization's ethics committee. The case was declared closed in July 2001 and Shalman was "restored to full rabbinic status in the Rabbinical Assembly," according to an R.A. document provided by Shalman. When contacted, he declined comment on his case.

Not just rabbis

Rabbis are not the only religious authority figures who may be accused of victimizing congregants. Cantors, among others, have committed sexually abusive acts, as indicated by several cases, high-profile and otherwise.

In one instance, a woman who was interviewed by JTA, reported being sexually assaulted by her cantor several years ago in a parking lot following a communal event. The woman, who asked that neither her name nor the name of her assailant be used, said she initially did not report the incident to the police after being advised by an acquaintance "to keep it quiet, and keep it in the community."

But as word of the incident spread, the woman said she and her son were soon ostracized by members of the religious community that had once embraced them. They became the targets of a harassment campaign, according to the woman, that included pointed intimations that she and her son might not be Jewish.

"They destroyed my son spiritually," said the woman, now in her mid-40s, her voice breaking. "They ripped the heart of Jerusalem from him and I had to watch it."

Eventually the woman's Jewish bona fides and those of her son were confirmed by an Orthodox beit din, a rabbinic court, sitting in New York, which also advised her to report the sexual assault to the police.

"They did everything right," she said of the beit din.

Felony charges were filed against the cantor, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count, according to authorities. He was given a one-year suspended sentence, three years probation and was ordered to undergo domestic violence counseling.

Although procedures for adjudicating sexual misconduct complaints against cantors differ from movement to movement, none of these cases are handled by the denominational rabbinic organizations unless perhaps the cantor is also an ordained rabbi.

The Orthodox Union, which has approximately 450 member synagogues in North America, has behavioral standards covering hundreds of organizational employees, but it has no congregational ethics guidelines applying specifically to non-rabbinic clergymen, such as cantors.

"It's a big gap; I can't defend it," said Rabbi Mark Dratch, who chairs the Task Force on Rabbinic Improprieties of the O.U.'s companion organization, the Rabbinical Council of America.

Conceding that such a jurisdictional loophole does exist, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president of the O.U., added in an e-mail that "the OU does not have jurisdiction over cantors, or over non-rabbinic members of individual synagogues who may misbehave, but urges synagogue leadership to educate itself about such matters and bring breaches of sexual conduct to legal authorities when appropriate, or to appropriate mental health or social service agencies when necessary."

If not the O.U. or the RCA, it was not immediately apparent which Orthodox organization would in fact have jurisdiction over a sexual misconduct complaint involving a cantor. Orthodox cantorial organizations do exist, but their representatives said they are not equipped to handle ethics complaints of this type.

As for the other denominations surveyed, the Reform and Conservative movements have cantorial associations that rule on ethics complaints against their members.

Over the past five years, five complaints alleging sexual misconduct have been filed with the Conservative movement's Cantors Assembly, resulting in the expulsion of three cantors from the organization. The Reform movement's American Conference of Cantors has received one complaint of sexual harassment since 2004. That complaint was investigated and found to be without merit.

The Reconstructionist movement does not yet have a full-fledged cantorial association and, as a result, most cantors working in that denomination's synagogues belong to either the Conservative or Reform cantorial groups, according to a Reconstructionist spokesman.

Justice delayed

Several of the denominational codes have specific deadlines for promptly dealing with accusations of misconduct, but they apparently are not always followed. In fact, Rabbi Rosalind Gold, chair of the ethics committee of the Reform movement's Central Conference of American Rabbis, identified procedural delays as one of the chief flaws in the system a glitch in the CCAR mechanism that was evident when JTA first investigated rabbinic sexual abuse in 1996. The delays can penalize both victims of abuse and rabbis who are unjustly accused.

In one recent case, a woman maintained that she had waited six months before receiving word that her complaints against a rabbi would be investigated, despite what she characterized as a two-week reporting requirement mandated by the CCAR. The rabbi vigorously denied the allegations against him.

"Things just take too long," Gold said. "Trying to get nine rabbis together for a meeting is really hard. I've seen delays hurt both complainants and rabbis. It puts them through hell."

In the woman's case, the ethics committee following its routine procedures suspended its investigation after it learned that there was litigation involving the rabbi and the complainant.

"We don't want our ethics process to be used as evidence in a court case," Gold explained. "It's not written in the code; it's been the practice since the code was put into place" in 1991. "It doesn't happen often, and usually it involves a divorcing couple with a rabbi spouse."

Regardless of the rationale behind the rule, Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney who has handled hundreds of sex abuse cases against religious organizations, including at least one Jewish institution, said it is simply bad policy.

"If to investigate and get to the bottom of it is the right thing to do at any given point in time, it's the right thing to do at all points in time," Anderson said. "To suspend it because of a civil suit makes it the wrong thing. There's no right way to do the wrong thing."

Still, Gold defended the work of her ethics committee.

"There is no glory in it and a lot of grief," she said. "Our committee is really committed to finding rabbis who shouldn't be practicing. Our process isn't perfect, but there's no old boys network anymore."

But there is a potential downside to the climate of increased vigilance now emerging in the Jewish world.

"Sometimes, somebody doesn't like the rabbi and makes something up to get the rabbi fired," said Susan Grossman, a rabbi at Beth Shalom Congregation, a Conservative synagogue in Columbia, Md.

Grossman cited the instance of a colleague who "wound up getting hauled in and fired" after innocently applying suntan lotion to children.

To guard against such episodes, it is important for denominational decision-makers to be flexible and use common sense, said Meyers of the Rabbinical Assembly.

"You can't always find that in written ethics guidelines," he said, explaining that sexual misconduct "cannot be generalized."

Activities that might disqualify a rabbi for the pulpit cover an enormous range in terms of severity.

"People keep looking for black-and-white solutions to these situations," said Meyers, "and that's not how human relations work. Each situation is different."

Gauging the system

In general, policies on sexual impropriety reflect the intentions of "people of good character and integrity who seem to take the issue seriously," Dratch said. "But sometimes even these people can mishandle cases."

The guidelines, he adds, are "only as good as the people involved in that particular case, and that's part of the problem. They're often not aware of the policies or they're not well trained in this area."

Schwab, the psychotherapist author, said she recently conducted an informal poll of scores of congregants at Conservative and Reform synagogues in Palm Beach County, Fla., and found that none of them were aware of their congregations' policies on sexual misconduct.

Yet even when all parties are well-informed and the system functions "optimally," it does not always dispense justice, according to Reform Rabbi Drorah Setel, an anti-abuse scholar and activist. She argued that when sex abuse victims file complaints against revered communal figures, they always run the risk of being vilified.

"To name the problem is to create the problem," Setel explained. "That's the mentality. Anger is directed at the victim rather than the perpetrator."

The situation might improve, Setel added, if ethics panels had more lay people or more women, or if victims' advocates played a more prominent role in the proceedings anything to redirect the therapeutic focus away from the rabbis themselves. Several denominational policies, for example, encourage rabbis to seek moral rehabilitation through teshuvah, or heartfelt repentance.

"The policies are silent on teshuvah for the congregation," Setel said. "What happens if the congregation shuns the victim? Does the congregation have to do teshuvah? There's a whole process of reintegration into the community that is not even addressed."

Ironically, the role of teshuvah in sexual misconduct cases was raised recently by prominent Reform Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, who himself had been found by the CCAR to be in violation of the organization's guidelines on "sexual ethics and sexual boundaries."

A former CCAR president, Zimmerman was suspended for two years by the CCAR in 2000. He then resigned as president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, but went on to become executive vice president of birthright israel and then vice president for Renaissance and Renewal of United Jewish Communities.

Zimmerman's post-suspension hires drew both criticism and praise. He no longer works for UJC.

The CCAR did not disclose full details of the case involving Zimmerman, but several sources interviewed around the time of his suspension said it is believed he had what was characterized by one publication as an "extramarital affair" with a congregant 15 years earlier while he was the rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York.

In 2005, Zimmerman published an article in the CCAR Journal in which he reflected on his case and on his efforts to rehabilitate himself with the help of CCAR-mandated teshuvah "mentors." Praising some aspects of the teshuvah process and criticizing others, Zimmerman wrote that his family "needed and failed to receive communal and collegial care and support."

Attempts to reach Zimmerman for comment were unsuccessful.

Despite these and other criticisms of the still-evolving mechanism for dealing with clergy sexual misconduct, several sources said they see evidence that concern over the problem is beginning to pay off.

Attorney Anne Underwood, for one, said she detects a change in the mind-set of institutional Judaism.

"What I don't hear anymore," said Underwood, who has helped various faith groups formulate ethics policies, "is What do we do to legally cover our asses?: What I'm hearing now is, "What do we do to keep congregations safe and rabbis and cantors healthy?""

On a more practical level, workshops addressing the issue are becoming more commonplace across the denominations. The O.U., for example, featured such a session at its recent biennial convention in Jerusalem. A special beit din has been created in Chicago to adjudicate cases of sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, denominational leaders are placing greater emphasis on education and prevention as effective tools in combating the problem of sexual misconduct among clergymen and other trusted figures. The Union for Reform Judaism, for example, in its May 2005 leadership briefing advised board members of its congregations to ensure the safety of congregants "and reduce your risk of liability" by considering rigorous background checks of employees.

In addition, several rabbinical school curriculums now include courses on sexual misconduct and how to steer clear of it. Yeshiva University is one such school.

"I've seen it work," said psychologist David Pelcovitz, who teaches at Y.U. "I've had young rabbis in the field call me and tell me how they've been able to recognize situations they wouldn't have known how to handle before. I've gotten several calls like that over the last couple years, and it felt great."

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Rabbi Shea Harlig Sues Rape Victim of a Convicted Sex Offender For Legal Fees

State of Nevada, County of Clark - April 13, 2007

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Rabbi Harlig, Convicted Sex Offender - Michael Segelstein and US Rep. Shelley Berkley (Nevada)

Jewish Survivors of Sexual Violence Speaks Out - April 23, 2007

http://jewishsurvivors.blogspot.com/2007/04/rabbi-harlig-convicted-sex-offender.html

Rabbi Shea Harlig has been doing everything in his power to support his friend - convicted sex offender, Cantor Michael Segelstein and discredit a rape surviovr. Segelstein is listed on the National Sex Offender registry in the state of Florida.

Dear Rep. Berkley,

I was shocked and disappointed to see the video of Rabbi Harlig praying on the House Floor of Representatives. You know what he has been involved in during the last 5 years and still he is honored.

A civil lawsuit proceeded with a criminal conviction and all the victim has gotten is revictimization over and over again the past 5 years and Harlig has been at the helm driving this horrific experience even deeper into the depths of hell. Someone allowed a perpetrator to pray on the House Floor. Victims have been asking to speak on the House Floor for years.

When is it our turn?

When will we ever get justice within the court systems in the United States? Justice comes few and far between - like in Segelstein's conviction but justice must come every time for victims of sexual assault.

Giving Harlig the opportunity to pray on the House Floor was an insult to victims. Whoever orchestrated that fiasco should be ashamed of themselves. I would like to know who invited Harlig to pray and would also like to know a date when I could come and pray on the House Floor for victims of sexual assault by clergy. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Peggy Warren

Wichita, KS

www.educatingtoendabuse

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Chabad Motto? If At First You Don't Succeed, Sue the Victim

Failed Messiah - June 21, 2007

http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2007/06/chabad-motto-if.html

A Chabad man serves as the hazzan of a Chabad synagogue. Several years ago, outside another synagogue after a community event, the Chabad hazzan sexually assaults a woman who is a member of the Chabad synagogue. He is eventually arrested and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lewd conduct. He is sentenced, serves a very brief time, is given probation and community service.

Meanwhile, the victim civilly sues Chabad, in part because she claims Chabad sheltered the hazzan. Now Chabad has sought a judgment against the victim for more than $175,000 in attorneys' fees, and a judge is about to grant that.

The Chabad? Las Vegas, Nevada. The Rabbi, Shea Harlig. The hazzan, Michael Segelstein. As Jewish Survivors notes:

Rabbi Harlig is attempting to sue a rape victim for attorney fees. This is a rape victim of a convicted sex offender who is on the national sex offender list.

Immediately after the arrest, Rabbi Harlig falsely claimed this victim – who worked in the synagogue's kitchen – was not Jewish. She went to the RCA's beit din. They investigated and found Rabbi Harlig's claim false. The woman is the daughter of a Jewish holocaust survivor from Vienna, Austria. The beit din issued her a document verifying her Jewishness. But, during the time the beit din was investigating Rabbi Harlig's false claims, this woman's teenage son – a very active synagogue goer and participant – was forced to sit in the back of the synagogue. He was banned from receiving aliyot or leading services. And he was shunned by other members, as was his mother, apparently at the direction of Rabbi Harlig.

And the man who attempted to rape this woman? He is a proud member of Chabad to this day, leading services and fully participating in synagogue life.

A double standard? You bet it is. And that double standard is sanctioned by and orchestrated by Chabad-Lubavitch.

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CALL TO ACTION:  Should a convicted sex offender who's on the national sex offender registry be allowed on Purim to be drunk and performing in front of children? I guess the Chabad of Southern Nevada thinks it's ok.

Cantor Michael Segelstein is the one on the right wearing a black suit.

Michael Alan Segelstein is currently on both the Flordia and National Sex Offender registries.

Segelstein was originally arraigned on one count each of attempted sexual assault, battery with intent to commit sexual assault and open and gross lewdness. He pled guilty as part of a plea agreement to open or gross lewdness, received one year suspended sentence with conditions and court ordered into counseling and was discharged from probation on December 2, 2005.

It appears that Michael Segelstein is an honored member of Chabad of Southern Nevada. Please contact Rabbi Shea Harlig and let your voice be heard!

Rabbi Shea Harlig, Director

Email: chabadlv@aol.com

1261 S. Arville Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102


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Last Updated:  11/07/2007


"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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