A January lawsuit filed by a Baltimore rabbi and his wife against families accusing him of sexually abusing their children was dismissed earlier this week on the grounds that the lawsuit was filed in the wrong court.
Rabbi Shmuel Krawatsky and his wife filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Maryland in Baltimore after The Jewish Week reported on allegations that the former teacher at a Baltimore Jewish day school sexually abused three young boys when he was a division head at a Maryland summer camp in 2015. The rabbi accused the parents of two of the children and Chaim Levin, a sexual abuse activist and blogger, of engaging in an effort to “damage Rabbi K and destroy his reputation and ability to earn a living” by publicly alleging that he sexually abused their sons, charges he denies, according to court documents.
In a Sept. 21 court order, Judge Ellen L. Hollander of the U.S. District Court of Maryland dismissed Krawatsky’s complaint, saying that the court lacked “subject-matter jurisdiction” in the case. (Levin lives in New York and one of the families lives in Atlanta.) The decision followed a motion, filed in April by the attorney for the families and for Levin, saying that the complaint was indeed filed in the wrong court.
Chris Rolle, the attorney for Rabbi Krawatsky and his wife, informed the Jewish Week via email that his clients plan to re-file the complaint in state court.
Attorney Jonathan Little, who represents the families, said the lawsuit was “a clumsy attempt to intimidate people and silence other victims in the Orthodox community from coming forward.”
His clients intend to proceed with a lawsuit against Rabbi Krawatsky for “battery of children” and against “any organization that had knowledge that Rabbi K was being inappropriate with children and failed to intervene,” he told The Jewish Week.
He indicated that other child victims have since come forward to him, though he was unable to provide details at this point.
In January, the rabbi was terminated after the publication of The Jewish Week’s initial report. The Beth Tfiloh board attributed the rabbi’s firing to “the explosive nature” of media reports which the board said made it “impossible” for the rabbi to effectively carry out his teaching duties, according to a Jan. 22 statement.