EXCLUSIVE: ‘Vigilante Justice’ in Jerusalem; Avrohom Mondrowitz, Fake Rabbi, Shrink Alleged to Have Molested up to 300 Children, Beaten by Unknown Assailant (VIDEO)
Avrohom Mondrowitz, a notorious fake rabbi and child psychologist who fled US arrest warrants for child molestation in 1984, was attacked and beaten by an unknown vigilante assailant last week in Jerusalem, according to cellphone video footage of the incident released exclusively to The Algemeiner.
“Isaac,” a 22-year old American studying in Jerusalem who recorded the scene, asked that his full name not be used and that his voice be altered in the footage.
Isaac, recognized Mondrowitz from a newspaper report last year in which he was labeled the “Bin Laden of pedophiles,” and said he first called out to him by name. “He stopped, turned around and responded ‘yes’ with a heavy New York accent,” he said.
The video begins shortly thereafter with Issac following from a distance, then, loudly, calling Mondrowitz a “molester,” and telling passersby that Mondrowitz “molested 100 kids in New York.” At that point, an unknown vigilante, who appears to be at least six feet tall and well-built, also apparently recognizing Mondrowitz, grabbed the hat from the fake shrink’s head, beat him with it, then let him escape, briefly, before racing after him, catching up to him, and throwing Mondrowitz to the ground.
WARNING: THE VIDEO WHICH CAN BE VIEWED BELOW CONTAINS VIOLENT SCENES. Article continues below the video.
The cameraman said he did not know the identity of the assailant nor was he, personally, someone who typically resorted to violence, but the frustrating circumstances surrounding Mondrowitz’s continued freedom from hundreds of accusers made this an occasion where “vigilante justice could be justified.”
Isaac, originally from the New York area, said that he was neither a victim of child abuse nor an activist, but knew many people who had suffered abuse and felt “someone has to do something,” and that he had to “speak up.”
“It’s really upsetting to see this man living freely and openly in this community of Nachlaot, a tight-knit neighborhood, with children everywhere, and apparently he goes to a synagogue, where people need to know who he is and what he’s done,” Isaac said. “It’s just outrageous that someone wanted for these crimes in the US, accused of raping and sodomizing hundreds of kids, has the opportunity to offend again, to commit these heinous acts here, in Israel. I’m a non-confrontational kind of person, but I couldn’t just do nothing, I couldn’t just continue walking. Someone has to do something. I had to speak up.”
“My hope is that by calling him out, by identifying him in the neighborhood, by releasing this video, that people here won’t believe that he’s repented, that he’s been cleared of these accusations. No, his neighbors deserve to know the truth about this evil man, this pedophile, living in their midst,” Isaac said.
Mondrowitz has been living in Israel since skipping out on the New York warrants almost thirty years ago. Twelve hours after he left on a plane for Chicago, then to Canada, then to Israel, NYPD officers entered his Borough Park, Brooklyn, home, after following up on an anonymous tip. They found child pornography and lists of hundreds of names of local boys, many referred to him by Jewish families and children’s services agencies for counseling, the New York Post reported. “Moshe Rosenbaum, one of the activists who first aired concerns about Mondrowitz in the late 1980s, estimates the number to be 300,” reported Tablet magazine in 2011.
In 1985, Mondrowitz was indicted, in absentia, on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree against four Italian-American boys, ages 11 to 16, who also lived in the same Brooklyn neighborhood and had agreed to press charges and testify. The same year, the US federal government sought his extradition from Israel, but the treaty between the countries at the time did not cover his crimes. In 1993, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes dropped the deportation effort.
In 2007, the treaty was revised, and Mondrowitz became eligible for extradition. A search of his home in Israel found four child-pornography films, and he was arrested and jailed. But in 2010, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Mondrowitz was grandfathered and exempt from the revised treaty, and set him free.
At the time, The Jewish Week published selections from a 2006 document allegedly found on Mondrowitz’s computer, which indicates that he was still a threat in Israel, again, posing as a psychologist. In the document he provides a mental health evaluation of a 15-year-old boy, based on in-person interviews, and notes the “hormonal and physical changes in his body.” “Mondrowitz’s name appears at the end of the assessment, followed by the credentials “Ph.D., L.N.H.A.” (Licensed Nursing Home Administrator)” reported The Jewish Week further. On a resume obtained by the paper Mondrowitz claimed to have received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1977 from “Teachers College, Colombia [sic] University,” but a NYPD detective told Israeli daily Haaretz in 2007 that all of his diplomas, including his rabbinic ordination, were “fakes.”
Last year, the New York Post published a photo of Mondrowitz, dressed similarly to how he appears in the new video, wearing religious garb, as well as tefilin, a tallis and carrying his fedora, near his apartment on Yizreel Street, in Nachlaot. The photo sparked outrage as proof that the alleged child molester was living freely in Israel, while many young men who claimed to be his victims still suffered many years later from harrowing physical and mental abuse.
Mark Appel, Director of Voice of Justice, a non-profit that works with child abuse victims in the Orthodox community and lobbies for their rights, said the Mondrowitz case was “truly sickening” and one of the reasons he became involved in the field.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of victims, Jews and non-Jews alike,” Appel told The Algemeiner. “This was the case that really opened up the wounds of society, a major case that energized the movement to get justice for these kids.”
“In the Chasidic community, Mondrowitz was very high-profile; he was known as a rabbi, a psychologist, with his own radio show, a very prominent person, who, because of the high esteem everyone had for him, was getting lots of referrals to evaluate even more kids in trouble,” Appel said. “This was in the early 1980s, and I had just begun working with at-risk youth and on early intervention programs, and there was just this very high percentage of kids coming forward; it was as if every second kid were telling us they had been abused. It just didn’t register, until the pieces came together; Mondrowitz was a monster.”
Mark Weiss, at 13 years old, was molested by Mondrowitz. “I would love to see the guy run over by Egged’s finest,” Weiss told The Algemeiner, referring to the drivers of Israel’s largest bus company. “But I just think that even more than seeing Mondrowitz get beaten up, I’d rather see his whole support system, what allowed him to continue for so long, be ‘hit over the head.’ The mentality of irresponsible people that led to his continued ability to roam free is what needs to be assaulted.”
“This is something that we’ve been working very hard on as advocates, and cases are bearing fruit,” Weiss said, adding that “the Charedi (Orthodox) community has been slowly learning to no longer tolerate this, and education has been key.”
“Symbolically, I think the assailant is representative of a bigger thing happening, that this is a form of people showing outrage. Mondrowitz will one day get what’s coming to him, and I’m certainly not in control of that. The random guy getting pissed off and going ahead, assaulting Mondrowitz, that’s good to see, the outrage is starting to show. But Mondrowitz is just symbolic of the problem. We’ve reached a certain critical point where parents are talking to their kids, parents today check the right box, and say the right things to them; we’re not going to tolerate this anymore.”
Jerry Schmetterer, Director of Public Information for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, told The Algemeiner simply, “If Mondrowitz came back to the US, we would arrest him.”