20 Mar 2009

Borough Park man Moshe Spitzer charged with years of sexual abuse of teen neighbor

New York Daily News - March 20, 2009

By Simone Weichselbaum | Daily News Police Bureau
A Borough Park man was slapped with a 135-count indictment Thursday after a teen neighbor charged he had endured years of sexual abuse.
Moshe Spitzer, 24, was indicted in Brooklyn Supreme Court for sex acts and sex abuse, and similar charges, a spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.
The victim, now 18, confided to a neighborhood Yeshiva principal about the abuse, said law enforcement sources.
The principal encouraged the victim to speak to his parents about the illegal meetings inside various motel rooms and apartments. Spitzer was 20 when he started taking his younger neighbor out.
"Open lines of communication between communities and law enforcement are essential to fighting crime, and we are pleased that this victim came forward," said Hynes spokesman Jerry Schmetterer.
Authorities are hoping the case will prompt more help from the usually tight-lipped leaders of Brooklyn's Hasidic sects about sexual abuse in their communities.
"The principal did the right thing and didn't try to cover anything up," said one law enforcement source.
In one notorious case, Borough Park rabbi Yehuda Kolko was accused of molesting his students at Yeshiva Torah Temimah. Some victims said the school purposely kept the abuse quiet and hit the yeshiva with multimillion-dollar lawsuits.
"The whole issue is that yeshivas were covering these up," said Orthodox Jewish community child abuse advocate Mark Appel of Am Echad. "Because of the publicity, schools are getting frightened. They don't want to get sued."
Since October, at least five men living in Brooklyn's Hasidic enclaves have been charged with sexually abusing children ranging in age from 7 to 15.
"It is remarkable progress," Appel said.
Investigators said they are seeing more families willing to cooperate and think more abusers will end up behind bars.
"People are starting to realize, teachers and the rabbis, that the only way to stop this is to go to the authorities," said another police source.
"It takes a lot for a teenage boy to stand before a grand jury," the source said. "The system is accommodating to the victim. The district attorney's office and the police department are trying to make it as comfortable as possible."
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