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Rabbi at Ultra-Orthodox Private School Arrested on Multiple Sex Abuse Charges

Feb 1, 2013

A rabbi at a private ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in Brooklyn, N.Y., is facing sexual abuse charges after an anonymous tip identified him as having inappropriate contact with three different teenage boys.

According to an Associated Press report this week, Yoel Malik, 33, was arrested and taken into custody this week in Brooklyn. He is charged with 12 counts of sexual abuse, four counts of criminal sexual acts, 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of forcible touching. Police took Malik into custody earlier this week after reports had surfaced that he had been seen at a motel with two students from the school where he worked. Another report indicated he had been seen in a car with another student. These encounters allegedly occurred between March 2012 and up to the week before his arrest.

This is the latest story of sexual abuse against children from inside the usually closed Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. The community houses the largest ultra-Orthodox community outside of Israel around the world. In recent years, allegations have surfaced that the church’s top officials were conspiring to cover-up years of sexual abuse against children. These officials protected themselves from criminal or civil charges by creating a belief within its followers that the mere discussion of sexual abuse was taboo.

Instead of reporting to authorities, people who suspected sexual abuse to children was occurring within the community were told to report this behavior to rabbis, not civil authorities. If these allegations were ever brought to authorities, those making the accusations and their families may have been subjected to abuse, bribes, and intimidation in an effort to get them to drop charges against supposedly powerful rabbis.

The recent case against Nechemya Weberman showed the community what the church was capable of doing but ultimately, the former rabbi and counselor at another school within the community was convicted on charges he sexually abused a teenage girl for years who had come to him when she was believed to have lost her religious way. The victim of Weberman’s abuse and her family were constantly intimidated by those closest to the person accused of abusing her, including offers of a $500,000 bribe to drop those charges.

It’s likely that if charges go forward against Malik, the victims of his abuse and their families may subject to the same form of initimidation. Malik worked at a school owned by his family. It is a private school within the closed Satmar Hasidic community in Brooklyn. The AP reports that the school has been closed for an undetermined amount of time due to financial problems. The students he is accused of abusing attended the school. The report indicates the school handled teens considered “at risk.”

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