Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Patients confront doctor who falsely diagnosed them with cancer

The government says a man who took an oath to do no harm instead turned more than 500 of his patients into victims in a shocking case of medical fraud.

Courtroom sketches could not adequately capture the anguish of the victims Tuesday as one by one, they confronted the cancer doctor who prescribed aggressive chemotherapy for patients he knew were not ill, and for those who were, ordering treatments that were excessive while billing medicare $34 million. [...]

Fata has already pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges. A memo from prosecutors demanding a life sentence said Fata would tell his patients they risked death without him. Telling one: "Your life or your money."

From Laura Stedtefeld, whose father died in Fata's care: "You poisoned, tortured and murdered my dad."[..]

A good question is how he got away with this and the answer is Dr. Fata was a well-respected physician backed up by other well-respected physicians and a prominent local hospital. But it was a doctor who worked for him, who ultimately blew the whistle on his actions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Day in the Life of Lipa Schmeltzer, Ex-Ultra-Orthodox Celebrity

“You can never stop wearing masks,” said Lipa Schmeltzer, eyes on everything but the road, “you can only choose what mask you want to wear.” A few hours into a recent day, Schmeltzer had taken off his entertainer mask—through which he constantly posed and smiled and shouted, to make others laugh—and transformed into a proud Columbia University student. (“I never even heard of the Ivy Leagues!” he said.) His love of “secular knowledge” burst forth like a broken dam. Here was Schmeltzer, quoting an important essay about the nature of identity. “That’s from an essay I’m reading, by Wendy Doniger,” he said, referring to her essay “Many Masks, Many Selves.” “I love the way she writes.”

The idea was to capture a typical day in the life of the most recognizable Orthodox Jewish singer in the world, a man whose “Mizrach” music video garnered more than 1.4 million views on YouTube, a Jewish figure who appeals to all types of Jews, regardless of gender, affiliation, belief, or politics. Raised ultra-Orthodox in the Skverer sect, Schmeltzer quietly left his community in 2010, when he moved from New Square to Airmont, New York. He remained Orthodox and observant but no longer follows the strict rules of the sect he grew up in, especially in regard to secular studies and interactions with women and non-Jews, among other lifestyle choices. Now at the end of his second semester at Columbia University—secular higher education remains a rare occurrence for Skverer Hasidim—he was embarking on a new stage of his already storied life, exploring the boundaries and capabilities of a fluid religious identity. [...]

Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children

NY Times   Jane Brody

Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.

Chinese doctors consider this phenomenon a clinical disorder and have established rehabilitation centers where afflicted youngsters are confined for months of sometimes draconian therapy, completely isolated from all media, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated.

n its 2013 policy statement on “Children, Adolescents, and the Media,” the American Academy of Pediatrics cited these shocking statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010: “The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.” Television, long a popular “babysitter,” remains the dominant medium, but computers, tablets and cellphones are gradually taking over.

“Many parents seem to have few rules about use of media by their children and adolescents,” the academy stated, and two-thirds of those questioned in the Kaiser study said their parents had no rules about how much time the youngsters spent with media.

Parents, grateful for ways to calm disruptive children and keep them from interrupting their own screen activities, seem to be unaware of the potential harm from so much time spent in the virtual world.

“We’re throwing screens at children all day long, giving them distractions rather than teaching them how to self-soothe, to calm themselves down,” said Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated clinical psychologist and author of the best-selling book “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.” [...]

Texting looms as the next national epidemic, with half of teenagers sending 50 or more text messages a day and those aged 13 through 17 averaging 3,364 texts a month, Amanda Lenhart of the Pew Research Center found in a 2012 study. An earlier Pew study found that teenagers send an average of 34 texts a night after they get into bed, adding to the sleep deprivation so common and harmful to them. And as Ms. Hatch pointed out, “as children have more of their communication through electronic media, and less of it face to face, they begin to feel more lonely and depressed.”[...]

הרב שמואל אליהו מציג 17 שאלות ותשובות מעמיקות בעקבות פרשת הרב מהצפון. "על פי ההלכה הוא נקרא עכשיו רשע".

Arutz 7

1. כיצד אפשר לדעת מה אירע בוודאות?
כדי לברר את האמת, ביקש אותו רב ממני ומהרה"ג חיים בזק שנבדוק את הטענות ונברר את העובדות. אח"כ הוא יעשה כל מה שנאמר לו. בדקנו והטענות היו נכונות. אמרנו לו והוא הודה בפנינו, בפני הרב אברהם אנגל והרב גד כהן ו"הודאת בעל דין - כמאה עדים דמי".
2. לא נכון היה יותר לסגור את העניינים בין הרבנים?
בתחילה חשבנו שמעשיו הם רק קלקול מוסרי ואין בהם היבטים פלילים, הצענו לו להתרחק מכל מגע עם הציבור ועוד כמה דרישות. הוא קיבל על עצמו את כל התנאים אבל לא עמד בהם. הוא המשיך לשוחח עם תלמידים והצדיק את מעשיו המקולקלים. הרחקנו אותו מהעיר, ההרחקה נתנה אומץ לאשה הראשונה להתלונן אחרי 13 שנה שהיא שמרה את הכאב בליבה. אחריה באו כל האחרות. כשהן התלוננו התברר שיש במעשיו חשש לפלילים.
3. האם אין בפרסום הזה חילול ה'?
בוודאי שיש בזה חילול ה'. אבל לכסות על הסיפור זה חילול ה' יותר גדול. רק השבוע קראנו בפרשת בלק שה' אומר למשה: "קַח אֶת כָּל רָאשֵׁי הָעָם וְהוֹקַע אוֹתָם לה' נֶגֶד הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וְיָשֹׁב חֲרוֹן אַף ה' מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל". בוודאי היה חילול ה' גדול כשהתגלה כי נשיא בית אב לשמעוני חוטא בעריות. בכל זאת הניקוי של ישראל מהתועבה הזאת הוא חשוב יותר. וחשוב שיעשה נגד השמש. זה נותן לאנשים אמונה בכח הצדק.
4. האם העובדה שהוא רב לא גורמת להסתיר את מעשיו?
הגמרא (מועד קטן יז.) מספרת על תלמיד חכם גדול שנפל בעריות. רב יהודה שקל אם ינדו אותו – הציבור יפסיד את חכמתו הגדולה. ואם יכסו עליו – זה חילול ה'. בסופו של דבר החליט רב יהודה לנדות אותו. לפי חז"ל הכיסוי על הקלקול הוא חילול ה'. כאשר לא מוקיעים מעשי זימה של רב גדול זה חילול ה'. מציאות החטא הצועקת לשמים היא חילול ה'. אין לך חילול ה' גדול יותר מחורבן בית המקדש, ואף על פי כן ה' החריבו כדי לתקן את הריקבון שפשט בעם ישראל. שלא יתפשט יותר.
5. הרב, אנו עוברים משבר אמון. כיצד תלמיד חכם מלא בתורה ובהנהגות של יראת שמים יהיה מקולקל? האם התורה לא משפיעה לטובה?
אם תורה לא משולבת עם מידות טובות היא עלולה להיות "סם מוות". חכמינו אמרו על התורה: זכה - נעשית לו סם חיים. לא זכה - נעשית לו סם מוות. לצערנו ראינו לאורך הדורות תלמידי חכמים שהשתמשו בתורה באופן שלילי, ישו, שבתאי צבי ואחרים. איננו אומרים חלילה שהאיש הזה הוא אחד מהם, אבל לצערנו היו אנשים בעלי כוחות רוחניים שנפלו בגלל מידות רעות של גאוה או תאוה או קנאה וכד'.
6. האם הוא נקרא רשע או רב?
על פי ההלכה הוא נקרא עכשיו "רשע". (שו"ע חו"מ לד ב) אם הוא יחזור בתשובה לא רק בדיבורים אלא במעשים, ידונו בזה בעתיד ויחליטו על מעמדו.
7. האם הוא היה תמיד רשע או שרק אחר כך הוא התקלקל?
הגמרא דנה על רבי יוחנן כהן גדול שנעשה באחרית ימיו צדוקי. ושואלת האם הוא היה רשע מעיקרו או שהיה צדיק מעיקרו ואחר כך התקלקל. יש בזה מחלוקת. מסתבר שיכול להיות תלמיד חכם וצדיק גדול שנכנס ויצא לקודש הקודשים שנים רבות, ואחר כך מתקלקל. הגמרא מספרת על נביאי אמת שהתקלקלו כמו חנניה בן עזור. יש חכמים שאומרים כי גם אצל יוחנן כהן גדול היה הרע כנוס בתוכו ולא יצא אל הפועל כל ימי היותו כהן גדול.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Tisha B'av - avoiding "baseless hatred" by accepting all denominations?!

Orthodox man found guilty of kidnapping and raping his ex-wife - jailed for 14 years

 update: Jewish Chronicle

A strictly Orthodox man found guilty of the kidnap, rape and false imprisonment of his ex-wife has been jailed for 14 years.

The man, in his sixties, showed no emotion as Judge Nigel Peters passed sentence at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday.

In addition to two 14-year sentences for two counts of rape, he was sentenced to seven years for kidnap and false imprisonment. The sentences will run concurrently [....]
Defending barrister Jonathan Goldberg told the judge his client may have acted in the heat of the moment following a discussion with his ex-wife about the paternity of two of their children.

“A husband discovering one and possibly two of his beloved children are or may not be his is grave provocation and mitigation and explains this extraordinary behaviour on the day in question,” he said.

In passing sentence, Judge Peters told the man: “You have planned and committed an act of great degradation and great cruelty in locking up your ex-wife, having tied her down and raped her.”

Judge Peters said the man had lured his wife to his warehouse under the pretext of looking after his granddaughter, before spraying her with mace, tying her up, and bundling her into what was described as a “dungeon”.

The imprisonment of the woman in the warehouse following her rape was, according to the judge, the “major aggravating factor” of what he described as “one of the more extreme and unpleasant cases to come before the courts”.[...]

Jewish Chronicle

A Charedi woman who said her ex-husband raped her retracted the claim because she feared being stigmatised by the strictly Orthodox community, a court heard.

During the court proceedings the complainant has sent several emails from Israel, where she had gone before the trial, withdrawing her allegations.

But prosecution barrister Charlotte Newell told the court that the woman feared the effect a conviction would have on her family in the Charedi community.

Giving her closing argument, Ms Newell said she had “retracted her complaints because to put up with what happened that day is easier and more tolerable to her than the break-up of her family and the effect it had on her.”

In a previous letter the woman had told the court, “I do not wish to proceed with the matter further as it will lead to the break-up of my family. The real victims will be my children.”

 update: Jewish Chronicle

A strictly Orthodox man has been found guilty of kidnapping and raping his ex-wife.

The man was convicted of one count of kidnap, two counts of rape and one count of false imprisonment. [...]

During the trial, the woman had sent emails to the court withdrawing her allegations. The prosecution said she had done so because she had feared being stigmatised within the Charedi community.


 Jewish Chronicle - accused man claims wife had rape fantasy

June 25, 2015

A strictly Orthodox man has denied raping his ex-wife in a "dungeon", claiming the woman encouraged him to act out a "rape fantasy".

Denying allegations of kidnap, rape and false imprisonment, he told a court on Wednesday that the woman had insisted on taking part in "rough" sex sessions.
A jury had previously been told that the woman was knocked out with gas, carried down to what she described as a dungeon, in a warehouse in north London, and was bound and raped twice.

The alleged victim claims she was left in the building with no way of escaping.

The defendant denied her version of events, claiming the "dungeon" was in fact a "safe room" where his family could hide in case of persecution

He disputed the complainant's allegation that they had not had sex since their divorce around six years ago, and said they had continued to sleep together in a double bed at the warehouse.

The man described in detail the sexual demands of his ex-wife and claimed she had insisted on the couple acting out rape fantasies.[...]

On the day the rape is said to have taken place, the defendant told the court the couple had became engaged in a "screaming match" about his unwillingness to give the woman a get. [...]

Jewish Chronicle

A charedi man kidnapped his ex-wife and raped her in a "hidden dungeon" before leaving her there to go home for Succot, a court heard this week.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of one count of kidnap, two counts of rape and one count of false imprisonment on October 15 last year.

An associate is accused of aiding and abetting two acts of rape. Both men deny the charges

Charlotte Newell, prosecuting, told Snaresbrook Crown Court, that the men had sprayed the alleged victim with gas that knocked her out and carried her down to what she described as a dungeon inside a warehouse, in Stamford Hill, where she was bound and raped twice. She was then locked in, with no obvious means of escape.

She eventually cut herself free and phoned the police. [...]

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Schlesinger Twins: Rabbis protest Michael's spiteful mistreatment of Beth and Twins

Re. Beth Alexander

We have followed the case of Beth Alexander for some time and have had the opportunity to hear from her about the dreadful and unnecessary pain that she has suffered following her divorce. In the initial stages of Beth’s separation, her husband was evicted by the police after allegations that he had been violent. The Austrian court only allowed him restricted and supervised access to his children.

Yet many of us have followed the Kafkaesque decisions made by subsequent courts which have granted full custody to Beth’s ex-husband with only limited visiting rights. Beth is naturally distraught over the lack of care being given to her children. They are looked after by paid help who speak little German or English.

Beth is also concerned for the health of her children, especially after dental procedures were performed without her knowledge to remove teeth from both of the boys. What is more perverse is that on top of the injustice in denying Beth’s children proper access to their mother, Beth has had to pay up to 50EUR for each 2-minute handover, failing which, she would have been unable to see her children. This is in addition to the child maintenance she must pay as mandated by the court.

To add insult to injury, Beth finds that the Austrian Jewish community and certain members of the Austrian rabbinate have largely shunned her. She has been told by individuals in the community to keep quiet or go back to England and forget about her children. While we recognise that the court’s decisions must be respected, we are profoundly disappointed that the Austrian Jewish community and leadership have not adequately supported a vulnerable and defenceless young woman, who has been thrust into this intolerable situation against her will.

We are also deeply concerned that Dr. Schlesinger has been given opportunities to make life easier for Beth and the children, and yet appears to have deliberately ignored them. This gives the impression that his children are merely pawns in a spiteful game to make life for Beth a living hell. We therefore request that Dr. Schlesinger takes the following steps to alleviate Beth’s situation for the sake of Sammy and Benji.
• To accept the offer of a simple and inexpensive handover of the children, coordinated by the Chief Rabbi of Austria or others within the community.
• To comply with the Court’s access orders in full.
• To stop cancelling access visits to Beth in defiance of the courts.
• To accept the generous offer of Rabbi Hofmeister to host Beth and the boys for one Shabbat meal a month with immediate effect.
We wish to send the strongest message possible to Dr. Schlesinger that his behaviour is a disgrace and our patience has run out.

Beth Alexander is a warm, kind-natured and generous person who deserves to play a full and active role in bringing up her children. We hope and pray that the natural maternal love that she has for them will ultimately break through the effects of this disgraceful injustice that she and her children have been forced to endure.

We therefore join the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis and our other colleagues who are working to help address the best interests of Beth and her children, and call upon other rabbonim and communal leaders to join us in our endeavours.

Rabbi Danny Bergson, London
Rabbi Boruch Boudilovsky, London
Rabbi Davis, London
Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, London
Rabbi Yisroel Fine, London
Rabbi Dr. Moshe Freedman, London
Rabbi Pinchas Hackenbroch, London
Rabbi Dov Kaplan, London
Rabbi James Kennard, Melbourne, Australia
Rabbi Marc Levene, London
Rabbi Joel Portnoy, Manchester
Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, London
Rabbi Meir Salasnik, London
Rabbi Arnold Saunders, Manchester
Rabbi Zvi Solomons, Reading
Rabbi Gary Wayland, London
Rabbi Nissan Wilson, London
Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg, Liverpool

Understanding why there are rabbis in sex scandals

Rotter Forums Interesting analysis of how things like Berland and Sheinberg happen in Haredi and Dati Leumi world. Seems like its Rabbi Shabtai Sabato Rosh Yeshiva of Mitzpe Yericho Yeshiva, but not sure.

****שיחת ראש הישיבה על הפרשייה הכאובה של הרב המקובל מהצפון:***

לפני שנתחיל את השיעור אני רוצה לגעת בפרשייה האחרונה שמסעירה את כולנו. אני כל פעם צריך לענות תשובות על מקרים כאלו ואחרים. למה אני צריך לקבל עונשים על דברים שאחרים עושים.

קודם כל אני לא רוצה להתייחס לאדם עצמו, כי לבנתיים הכל שמועות, אי אפשר לדון אנשים ככה. אני גם לא אדבר על השאלות האמוניות שמתעוררות אצל הציבור, שאלות כמו מדוע ה' מביא עלינו מהלכים כאלו? איך התורה מתגלית באדם כזה? וכו'.
אני אגע בעתיד, לא בעבר.

אז מה כן ראוי לעשות?
אני אציין ארבעה דברים שאם נקפיד עליהם לא נגיע לדברים כאלה:

1. דבר ראשון זה תופעת האדמורות:
התופעה הזו עושה המון נזקים. זו הסיבה שאני לא פועל כך. אני לא אדמו"ר ואתם לא חסידים. רב צריך לדבר רק על מה שהוא יודע ועל מה שהוא מבין בו. לכל אדם יש דעת, תבונה ושכל טוב. התפקיד שלנו זה לתת כלים שתהיו עצמאיים ותחליטו בעצמכם. אדם נמדד בבחירה החופשית שלו, בלקיחת גורלו ביד עצמו.

2. דבר שני זה תופעת רוח הקודש.
אין היום רוח הקודש. אין אחד בארץ עם רוח הקודש. אם תאמר שכן- אז איך בזמן החטופים אף אחד לא ידע שהם מתים, להפך- כל מי שמתהדר שיש לו רוח הקודש, אמר שהם חיים ונמצאים במקום כזה או אחר.
היום הקבלה פורחת כל אחד שיודע דבר או שניים, נחשב מקובל. מה זה מקובל בימינו? אדם שיכול לומר לך כמה ילדים יש לך ומהם השמות וכו'.. זה מקובל? יש לך גם גויים שעושים דברים כאלו. הוא אדם מוכשר, אינו מקובל. זה שהוא יודע לומר לך כמה דברים נסתרים שאנשים רגילים לא יודעים לומר, הופך אותו למקושר עם הקב"ה?
אנשים במצוקה, וכשהם במצוקה הם נתלים בדברים כאלו. כשאדם במצוקה הוא עושה טעויות, והטעות הכי גדולה זה לתלות את החלטותיך ביד אחרים.
אני אף פעם לא מורה לאדם מה לעשות, אני מציג לו את שני הצדדים-יתרונות וחסרונות, ונותן לשואל לבחור את החלטתו. אני לא רוצה לקחת את חוש הבחירה שלכם.
וזה ממשיך בסגולות המטופשות שמציפות כל חלקה, כל העין הרע וכו'. כל ההבל וריק שממלאים את העיתונות ואת הדפים של יום שישי. זה אחד הגורמים המכשילים.
גם אצל הרבי מילובביץ', כל הסיפור של משיח, זה לא הסיפור שלו, זה הסיפור של החסידים שלו. הוא עמד מולם ואמר להם שיפסיקו עם כל הדבר הזה. ומזה התלמידים שלו הבינו שהעבודה עוברת אליהם ועליהם להביא את המשיח- שזה בעצם הרבי.
קבלה היא לא משחק, אל תמהרו ללמוד קבלה, יש בזה הרבה סכנות. וצריך לומר את זה שוב ושוב, אנשים לא מכניסים את זה ללב. זה כמו בבני ברק שאנשים משקיעים את הכסף שלהם אצל מישהו ואחר כך הוא בורח עם כל הכסף. זה קורה כל כמה חודשים, והם לא לומדים לקח.
רב קיים בשביל ללמד תורה בדרך ה'. הוא לא בשביל לומר לך עם מי תתחתן וכו'. אתה רוצה להתייעץ איתו- שזה יהיה אך ורק בגדר ייעוץ, את ההחלטות תעשה אתה על פי שיקוליך.
אני יודע שתקשו קושיות, אבל התשובות זה מה שקורה עכשיו, מה שיקרה בעוד כמה זמן. סיפורים כאלו לא ייכלו.
שמתייעצים איתי איזה שם לקרוא לילד, דבר ראשון אני שואל איזה שם אתה רוצה. אם יגיד נמרוד- אני אומר לו שנמרוד לא יהיה כל כך מוצלח. אבל להתחיל לעשות חשבונות, שמות וכו'. אני לא מתיימר לדעת ואף אחד שלא ייתיימר לדעת. תתפכחו.

3. הדור הזה נכנס לכיוון של אהבת ה', וזה טוב. אבל שכחו שיש גם יראת ה'. וזו בעיה. אני מדבר על זה קרוב ל30 שנה. יראת ה', שזה מתבטא בהרבה דברים, גם בין היתר בלבוש של אדם, בעמידה מול ה'. ואם רואים שהרב עושה משהו שלא נראה, צריך לשאול אותו למה. יש פה יראת ה', צריך לשאול. תורה היא, וללמוד אנו צריכים.
אף אחד אין לו רשות לעבור על מצוות ה'. גם לא מקובלים!!.
ברגע שאדם רואה שיש משהו לא בסדר הוא צריך לשאול, חייב לשאול. לא להתחיל לעשות חשבון. לעשות את זה מתוך כבוד והערכה. לא מתוך טיפשות. אני אומר את זה כבר שנים.
אם יש זמן תפילה, אי אפשר לקום ב10 ולהגיד ה' אוהב אותי. זו אהבה בלי יראה. כך אמרו נדב ואביהוא ונשרפו באש. יראה ואהבה ביחד ימנעו הרבה נפילות, לא רק של תלמידים, אלא גם של רבנים.

4. יש אמירה שהיא לא נכונה במציאות של ימינו, והיא הייתה נכונה במציאות של פעם "ושמרת לעשות ככל אשר יורוך: על פי התורה אשר יורוך ועל המשפט אשר יאמרו לך תעשה לא תסור מן הדבר אשר יגידו לך ימין ושמאל". זה נאמר על הסנהדרין. גם הם יכולים לחטוא, פר העלם דבר של שגגת עיני העדה. היום בוודאי שאין סנהדרין אין דבר כזה 'על שמאל שהוא ימין'. ואם מישהו יגיד לכם- תאמרו לו שיסביר לכם ואם זה נכון, אז בסדר.

אני פעם שמעתי את אחד הרבנים מירושלים שביקר בישיבה תיכונית ונתן להם שיחת מוסר- חשוב שתהיו כל היום עסוקים בתורה ותאמרו סברות. לא משנה איזה סברות, לא משנה אם הם שקריות או אמיתיות. אני כמעט התעלפתי ששמעתי את זה.
שימו לב שכמעט 90 אחוז ממה שאני אומר זה מופנה כלפי הציבור. כי זה מתחיל מהאנשים. אם אנשים ישמעו לדברים האלו אז רבנים לא יפלו.

מה שאמר משה רבנו "הצור תמים פועלו כי כל דרכיו משפט אל אמונה ואין עוול צדיק וישר הוא". אנו לא יודעים את כל התמונה. כמו שאני תמיד אומר לכם על ספר קהלת.
כל דבר כזה שמתגלה הוא מרפא את האדמה כדי שלא יהיה שפך דם של נקיים. דברים כאלו שמתרחשים בסתר זה חילול ה' לכן יש הרוגים ופצועים. כשזה מתגלה, זה נפסק. חילול ה' יותר גדול כשזה נעשה בסתר. כשזה בסתר יש כעס על הארץ, ואנו לא יודעים למה יש פצועים והרוגים ואז יש כעס על הקב"ה. כשזה נפסק יורד הדין מעל עמ"י.
אני מקווה שאנחנו, תלמידים חברים, ציבור, נשמע את הדברים הללו ונמנע נפילות.
עד כאן לנושא הזה.

הבהרה: לא מדובר ברב חיים סבתו

Teenager’s Jailing Brings a Call to Fix Sex Offender Registries

NY Times   Until one day in December, Zachery Anderson was a typical 19-year-old in a small Midwestern city.

He studied computer science at the local community college. He lived with his parents and two younger brothers in a sun-filled home on the St. Joseph River, where framed family photos hang from the walls and a pontoon boat is docked outside.

And he dated in the way that so many American teenagers do today: digitally and semi-anonymously, through apps where prospects emerge with the swipe of a finger and meetings are arranged after the exchanges of photos and texts.

In December, Mr. Anderson met a girl through Hot or Not, a dating app, and after some online flirting, he drove to pick her up at her house in Michigan, just miles over the state line. They had sex in a playground in Niles City, the police report said.

That sexual encounter has landed Mr. Anderson in a Michigan jail, and he now faces a lifetime entanglement in the legal system. The girl, who by her own account told Mr. Anderson that she was 17 — a year over the age of consent in Michigan — was actually 14. [...]

As an Indiana resident, Mr. Anderson will most likely be listed on a sex offender registry for life, a sanction that requires him to be in regular contact with the authorities, to allow searches of his home every 90 days and to live far from schools, parks and other public places. His probation will also require him to stay off the Internet, though he needs it to study computer science.

Some advocates and legal authorities are holding up Mr. Anderson’s case as the latest example of the overreach of sex offender registries, which gained favor in the 1990s as a tool for monitoring pedophiles and other people who committed sexual crimes. In the decades since, the registries have grown in number and scope; the nearly 800,000 people on registries in the United States go beyond adults who have sexually assaulted other adults or minors. Also listed are people found guilty of lesser offenses that run the gamut from urinating publicly to swapping lewd texts. [...]

“The whole registry is a horrible mistake,” said William Buhl, a former judge in Michigan who has publicly argued that laws governing registries ought to be relaxed. “I think it’s utterly ridiculous to take teenage sex and make it a felony. This guy is obviously not a pedophile.”[...]

“No computer for five years, no smartphone? He can’t have an email address,” his father said. “To me, that’s wrong. That’s like taking away electricity or heat or gas to somebody, in today’s world.”
With their son’s release from jail set for Thursday, they were scrambling to find him a new place to live and satisfy the sex offender restrictions on housing. Their own house is less than 1,000 feet from a public boat launch, which is considered a public park under state law.[...]

For additional information see the linked articles from Prof Franklin Zimring

MacArthur Foundation Research
An American Travesty:  Legal Responses to Adolescent Sexual Offending by Prof Franklin Zimring

During the 1990s, all 50 states enacted new laws aimed largely at protecting children against sexual predators. Under many of these laws, adult sexual offenders are regarded as more dangerous—and controlled more severely—if their victims are very young. This seems rational when dealing with adults who prey on young children. But in enacting laws aimed at adult sexual predators, legislators, whether deliberately or thoughtlessly, often used language broad enough to encompass offenders in early adolescence. Should a child or young adolescent who commits a single act of sexual aggression against another child be treated the same way as a 30-year-old man who assaults an 8-year-old girl? Legal scholar Franklin Zimring calls it a travesty of justice—a policy that ignores the developmental stage of young sex offenders in determining their legal fate.

In An American Travesty: Legal Responses to Adolescent Sexual Offending Zimring argues that Meganʼs Laws and other responses to these youths are based on certain assumptions about adult sex offenders—assumptions that donʼt apply to adolescents. He finds there has been virtually no scholarly literature or research on the topic of adolescent sex offending: few scientific studies of sexual misconduct among children and adolescents, no rigorous assessments of strategies that address it, no dialogue among legal scholars or judges. Zimringʼs book organizes the knowledge that does exist and considers the implications for policy and for further research—“a down payment on the debt scholarship owes the topic.”

An image breeds an industry Adult sex offenders—especially those who use force and those who prey on children—are viewed by the public with special outrage and fear. Even professionals consider many of them a breed apart from other criminals, with very particular characteristics:fixed, abnormal sexual proclivities; a focus on sex offenses to the exclusion of other crimes; at high risk of repeating their offenses. It is this image, controversial but widely held, that underlies Meganʼs Laws and related policy. This pathological image has now been extended to adolescent offenders as well, giving rise not only to new laws but to an industry of specialized treatment programs for sexually abusive youth. While juvenile sex-offense arrests have remained remarkably stable over the past two decades or more, the number of treatment programs has mushroomed: from 20 in 1982 to several hundred today.

Many of these programs take a unique approach to therapy. In place of the core mission of the juvenile justice system—to serve the childʼs best interests—their primary goal is prevention of sex crimes. Therapists in these programs consider their client to be not the youth but the community, and they form an adversarial relationship with the adolescent offender. The therapist serves as investigator, prosecutor, and probation officer; her tools include polygraphy and confrontation, and she has no obligation to protect the youthʼs confidentiality.

The adversarial approach grows out of a report issued in 1993 by the National Adolescent Perpetrator Network, a vocal and well-organized network that is part mental health treatment group, part victimsʼ rights lobby. The report, published in Juvenile Judge’s Journal, was the longest publication devoted
to juvenile sex offenders in at least half a century. At its center are 387 unproven assumptions about adolescent behavior, dangerousness, appropriate justice system responses, and the impact of various interventions on long-term development and life opportunities. The Task Force behind the report included no physicians, no specialists in program evaluation and policy analysis, no experts in juvenile justice, and only one attorney, a former prosecutor. Yet the report has stood for more than a decade, virtually uncriticized and tremendously influential. [...]

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Iran nuclear deal: The worst agreement in US diplomatic history

Telegraph     By

The devil is not in the details. It's in the entire conception of the Iran deal, animated by President Obama's fantastical belief that he, uniquely, could achieve détente with a fanatical Islamist regime whose foundational purpose is to cleanse the Middle East of the poisonous corruption of American power and influence.

In pursuit of his desire to make the Islamic Republic into an accepted, normalised "successful regional power," Obama decided to take over the nuclear negotiations. At the time, Tehran was reeling – the rial plunging, inflation skyrocketing, the economy contracting – under a regime of international sanctions painstakingly constructed over a decade.

Then, instead of welcoming Congress' attempt to tighten sanctions to increase the pressure on the mullahs, Obama began the negotiations by loosening sanctions, injecting billions into the Iranian economy (which began growing again in 2014) and conceding in advance an Iranian right to enrich uranium.

It's been downhill ever since. Desperate for a legacy deal, Obama has played the supplicant, abandoning every red line his administration had declared essential to any acceptable deal.[...]

Taken together, the catalogue of capitulations is breathtaking: spot inspections, disclosure of previous nuclear activity, gradual sanctions relief, retention of non-nuclear sanctions.

What's left? A surrender document of the kind offered by defeated nations suing for peace. Consider: The strongest military and economic power on earth, backed by the five other major powers, armed with what had been a crushing sanctions regime, is about to sign the worst international agreement in American diplomatic history.

How did it come to this? With every concession, Obama and Kerry made clear they were desperate for a deal.

And they will get it. Obama will get his "legacy." Kerry will get his Nobel. And Iran will get the bomb.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A disturbing postscript to the Sanhedria allegations of Satanic abuse

This morning while attending a family simcha I had the opportunity to speak with relatives who live in the Sanhedria community. In particular I was interested in the status of the wild allegations of Satanic child abuse ring which created panic and fear in that community - after Rav Berkowitz went public with his claims and "evidence".

One response I got was something I never expected. It came from a kollel member. After listening to the discussion I was having with another relative - he commented the following.

"What are you getting involved in this matter. It is none of your business. Rav Berkowitz is great talmid chachom who knows his community very well. You are not part of the Sanhedria community, You have no children there. Why are you getting involved? Rav Berkowitz has consulted experts, he has gathered testimony. You have no basis to disagree with him.

I pointed out that the Satanic abuse accusations have been made hundreds of times over the last few decades - and not one case and been proven to be true. That alone should give pause to any responsible person from make such accusations. In addition I noted that I have in fact spoken to people regarding the evidence - including professional in the field of abuse. None of these people believed Rav Berkowitz' claims.

He responded, "Just because no proof has been found so far - it doesn't mean it there is no such thing. Rav Berkowitz has seen the evidence and he clearly disagrees with you. What are you getting involved in this issue for?

I responded - "The mitzva of not standing idly by the blood of your fellow" says nothing about having to belong to a community in order to get involved. Rav Berkowitz is a wondeful person but he is not an expert in these matters and the people he has consulted don't seem to be experts either. The experts seem to be afraid to get involved in this matter in a public fashion"

I obviously had no influence on him. The discussion continued for sometime - but I was struck by the incredible blindness to reality and reliance on rabbinic authority (when it clearly was inappropriate and even harmful)