Camp Mogen Avraham - New York
If you have a photograph of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner (Grandson of Rabbi Chaim Pinchus Scheinberg) please forward it to The Awareness Center
- Camp Mogen Avraham - Incident Report (10/30/1998)
- Victims Statement (12/30/1998)
- Allegations of Camper Abuse - Camp Mogen Avraham (04/02/1999)
- Rabbi Charged In Sex Abuse (02/20/1999)
- Last in a Series: `Conspiracy of silence' fuels rabbis' sexual misdeeds (11/01/1999)
- SUPREME COURT - STATE OF NEW YORK (03/26/2003)
- Jewish Community Grapples With Sex Abuse (05/27/2003)
Please note that the alleged victim's name and the name of the two minor witnesses have been removed from this report.
On October 23, 1998, the Monticello District Office (MDO) was notified by Mr. Brian Devine Senior Sanitarian with the Bureau of Community Sanitation & Food Protection (BCSFP), of an allegation of camper sexual abuse involving a child who attended Camp Mogen Avraham, a children's overnight camp (T. Bethel) in Sullivan County. BCSFP staff were alerted to the allegation by the NYS Child Protective Agency which had been informed of the August 8, 1998 incident through a mandated reporter, from the Peninsula counseling Center in Woodmere, NY, who was counseling the victim.
1. Camp's Response:
Alleged Victim's disclosure camp staff of his experience the night of August 8, 1998 constituted allegations of abuse which warranted notification by the camp to DOH and other investigative agencies. Conclusion is reached regardless of which version of the incident is more accurate (the camp's or alleged victim's). As such, the camp's failure to report to the MDO within 24 hours an allegation of camper abuse is a violation of Section 7-2.8(d) of Subpart 7-2 of the NYS Sanitary Code and will be the subject administrative enforcement action against the camp. It is not believed that the camp's failure to report due to improper information in their written safety plan, which stated that only allegations which determined to be true would be reported. In this case, the allegations was believed to be true, It was only the identity of the perpetrator that was in question.
The camp's failure to prevent Rabbi Weiner from sleeping in a camper bunk the night of the alleged abuse disclosure was inappropriate and placed the camper, especially alleged victim at unreasonable risk to their health and safety including physical and sexual abuse. This unreasonable risk to camper's health and safety is a violation of Section 7-2.5(n)(1) of Subpart 702 and will also be part of administrative enforcement action against the camp. The camp should have placed the well being of the campers above any concern that Rabbi Weiner was being falsely accused and as such, required him to sleep separate from campers until the matter could be thoroughly investigated by the appropriate authorities. Especially assuming that Alleged Victim did not identify his attacker to camp staff. Camp administrative staff should have realized that allowing Rabbi Weiner to sleep in the same quarters as Alleged Victim placed additional avoidable mental anguish on the child who believed that Rabbi Weiner had accosted him based on eyewitness accounts of the two other campers.
The camp's O.D. System as described in their May 8, 1997 written safety plan is not acceptable because it does not provide for continuous visual and/or verbal communication capabilities between campers and staff because the staff to camper ratio (as low as 1:72) is unacceptable to handle emergencies during sleep/resting periods and the camp was not informed that their O.D. System was unacceptable camp implemented it as written during the 1997-1998 seasons. As a result, no administrative enforcement action will be taken for this deficiency.
The camp's policy of housing staff who are not directly responsible for camper supervision in camp bunks is inappropriate. Although addiction staff in the bunks would increase the staff to camper ratio, the benefit of the additional staff is questionable without the staff having specific supervisory responsibilities and training. In fact, this policy allows an opportunistic individual legitimate access to campers on their bunks that might otherwise not be available. Providing a designated staff bunk is the resolution to this problem: however if it is not possible, employing a camp policy which requires two staff be present at all times camper and staff are together would greatly enhance camper safety.
The lack or unavailability of a current employment application (with references) and the alleged perpetrator's failure to attend pre-camp training are both technical violations of Subpart 7-2. How neither is believed to have contributed to the incident because it is assumed that the camp's knowledge and Rabbi Weiner's background and acceptability would surpass that of any reference he may have supplied that he would have gained sufficient knowledge from previous experience at camp to fulfill his job duties as a teacher.
The camp's written policy for reporting allegations of abuse must be modified to indicate all allegations of abuse will be reported to the MDO within 24 hours. Additionally, the written safety plan and staff training must identify indicators of abuse, the camp policy handling an allegation and designate the person(s) responsible for reporting to the MDO.
The camp must revamp its O.D. System for supervision campers to provide continuous and/or verbal communication capabilities between campers and staff, and a higher staff camp ratio to deal with emergencies. Additionally, consideration should be given to mandating "two deep" staff supervision at all times including O.D. to lesson future abuse.
The camp shoujld consider separate housing for staff not assigned specific bunk supervision duties.
SUPREME COURT - STATE OF NEW YORK
|Camp Mogen Avraham|
|Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC|
|Rabbi Sidney Goldenberg|
|Rabbi Yosef Blau|
|Rabbi Dr. Avrohom Mondrowitz|
|Rabbi Baruch Lanner|
|Rabbi Hershel Billet|
|Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb|
|Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum at home prior to his arrest|
|Rabbi Ephraim Bryks|
|Rabbi Matis Weinberg|
|Rabbi Jerome Epstein|
|Rabbi Steven Rosenberg|
|Rabbi Paul Menitoff|