New Square Victim Of Sexual Abuse Comes Forward

A New Square teenager is coming forward with his story as a sex abuse victim. Yossi, a Hassidic teenager, who chose to only go by his first name, reported that rabbi Herschel Taubenfeld, a teacher at a yeshiva in the community, sexually molested him at age 15. As a young teenager Yossi had chosen to remove himself from the Hassidic religion, resulting in his family hiring Taubenfeld as a private tutor to help bring him back into the religion. Yossi sated about his four- month period of abuse, “In a way it may be worse than killing someone physically because you stay with the memories, you live with it and it becomes a part of you.” The Vaad, a sex crimes unit set up by head rabbis in the community, apparently told Yossi to go to therapy, and no charges were filed against Taubenfeld. In the Hassidic community it is considered a sin to report sexual abuse, according to News 12, in some cases families and friends of members of the community shun those who have come forward in the past. Yossi stated that the fear of that happening became less important to him than wanting to protect others that this may happen to, and he reported the crime to the Ramapo police department. In December 2011 Taubenfeld confessed to the crime, and was charged with thirty misdemeanor counts of forcible touching, endangering the welfare of a child, and sexual abuse in the third degree. But avoided jail time in return for six years probation. According to Rabbi Nosonleiter of Monsey, the judge’s decision sends a message that other victims cannot come forward. Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe stated to News 12 reporter, Tara Rosenblum, that the deal was appropriate and was a way for the county to keep control over the situation and Taubenfeld for six years. Yossi claims that Taubenfeld is still working for the yeshiva, teaching children and is walking free as a registered sex offender in a neighborhood full of children. Yossi is disappointed with the results, but hopes that his choice to come forward will help other victims do the same.

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