Special To The Jewish Week
With alleged Brooklyn child molester Avrohom Mondrowitz under house arrest until Jan. 24 following last week’s decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to deny his extradition to the U.S., new evidence has emerged that appears to indicate that Mondrowitz was treating adolescent boys in Israel as recently as 2006.
According to a document provided to The Jewish Week by New Jersey attorney Michael Lesher, and apparently obtained from Mondrowitz’s computer, Mondrowitz appears to have conducted an interview with and “assessment” of a 15-year-old boy who had been engaging in “improper behaviours [sic] with his peers.”
While the document contains the boy’s name, The Jewish Week is not publishing it to protect the identity of a minor.
It appears from the report, written as a letter and dated June 19, 2006, that Mondrowitz — who fled Brooklyn to Israel in late 1984 and was indicted on sodomy charges in 1985 — actually saw the teen in person, as opposed, for example, to having been sent a file for his review about the case. The boy is described in the letter as a “pleasant, neatly dressed, and polite 15-year-old.”
The assessment indicates that the boy was being seen by Mondrowitz in part regarding “normal hormonal and physical changes in his body.” It also notes that “Early adolescents may discover pleasurable self-stimulation. They form close friendships with peers and may experiment with them, or sometimes with somewhat younger peers, usually to satisfy curiosity. This quite normal experimentation phase usually fades and disappears.”
The lengthy report concludes with Mondrowitz suggesting that the boy “will appreciate and grow positively in Midos [positive characteristics] and Maasim Tovim” [good deeds] from “close interaction with a knowledgeable Mashgiach or other Torah-true guidance figure.”
The document indicates that the assessment was made at the request of the boy’s father and a Benyamin Rosenstein, whom, the documents make clear, is the father of Jerusalem City Councilman Shlomo Rosenstein, a member of the United Torah Judaism party.
The Jewish Week tried but was unable to reach Shlomo Rosenstein at his City Council office.
Mondrowitz’s name appears at the end of the assessment, followed by the credentials “Ph.D., L.N.H.A.” (Licensed Nursing Home Administrator), however there is no evidence he ever received a doctoral degree. Indeed, on a resumé obtained by The Jewish Week, Mondrowitz claimed to have earned a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1977 from “Teachers College, Colombia [sic] University.” A New York Police Department detective, now retired, is quoted in a 2007 article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz saying that all of his diplomas, including his rabbinic ordination, are “fakes.”
According to Lesher, an attorney in Passaic, N.J., author and advocate who represents several men allegedly sexually abused by Mondrowitz, “The new evidence we have suggests that Mondrowitz was serving as a psychologist in Israel, despite many assurances from rabbis over the years [to the contrary].
“That,” Lesher continued, “is a stunning contradiction of what we have been led to believe all these years.”
Other documents provided by Lesher seem to suggest that Mondrowitz had discussed plans for a project, referred to only as “AOL,” with someone named Mr. Myers. While it is unclear from the documents precisely what “AOL” is, the letter suggests it is an “endeavor” in some way related to “alternative therapeutic interventions that have assisted and greatly improved the situation and success of many children and their families.”
The letter is written on Mondrowitz’s letterhead, containing his current address and phone number in Jerusalem, and his name is preceded by “Dr.”
The Jewish Week also obtained an index of material found on Mondrowitz’s hard drive, information that was also provided to the chief superintendent of Israel’s division of computer crime, Avi Aviv, in early 2007. The index notes that the drive contained two graphic video clips. One of the clips features “two young boys sitting together on a bed and getting undressed”; another depicts two boys engaged in “graphic” sexual activity.
The index also lists dozens of URLs for pornographic Web sites, some involving what appear to be minors, visited by the computer. It also notes the existence of e-mails written from Mondrowitz’s e-mail address to customer support at sites that appear to feature child pornography asking why his access is being denied when he paid for access to the sites.
According to the index, there is also evidence that Mondrowitz used an iMule program, which is a site used to share illegal images. The index also lists items apparently related to the “Thornhill University,” a bogus university from which Mondrowitz allegedly issued degrees and credentials. (Thornhill, sometimes described as a “degree mill,” appears on several lists of universities that have no legal authority to issue degrees.) These included e-mail folders for the aliases of various Thornhill University “employees,” including its president, Theodore Thorton. The drive also contained logos from various universities, presumably used in the creation of fake diplomas.
Reached Monday at their Jerusalem home, Mondrowitz’s wife, Raizel, said that Mondrowitz was “unavailable.” But she emphatically denied that he had been treating boys in Israel, though she did say he “had been a psychologist in Brooklyn.”
“He hasn’t had anything to do with treating anyone in 25 years,” she said.
She also told The Jewish Week that the letters suggesting otherwise were “absolute lies” from “the same people who have been going after him for years.”
Mondrowitz and his family have professed his innocence since he fled to Israel in 1984. After he left the U.S., he was indicted in absentia on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree against four non-Jewish children in Brooklyn. (While Jewish children were among Mondrowitz’s alleged victims, they were not part of the grand jury that indicted him and thus not part of this case).
During his time in Brooklyn, Mondrowitz ran a child-counseling program out of his home and worked in a special-education school for boys that had connections to Ohel Children and Family Services. One of his alleged Jewish victims told The Jewish Week he was referred to Mondrowitz for counseling directly by Ohel. Several others made their way to him because he had a reputation within the community for being able to help “troubled” boys.
Prior to Mondrowitz’s arrest pursuant to an extradition request by the United States in late 2007 — and months after the Israeli authorities were alerted to Mondrowitz’s involvement in child pornography and the granting of bogus degrees — Israeli police found evidence of his involvement with films containing child pornography, according to court papers.
Mondrowitz has not been charged with any crimes in connection with these activities.
An e-mail to Aviv seeking comment on whether an arrest was planned was not returned. An e-mail to the spokesman for the Israeli State Attorney’s office was also not returned.
Recently, it came to light in a story on the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Web site, SignOnSanDiego.com, that a California Air Resources Board scientist from San Diego, Hien Tran, had bought a fake degree in applied statistics from Thornhill University.
According to Ben Hirsch, president of the advocacy group Survivors for Justice, “The Israeli government’s continued failure, thus far, to honor the Unites States’ request for the extradition of Avrohom Mondrowitz to face trial for the heinous crimes he was indicted for in 1984, raises troubling questions. That forced sodomy was legally not an extraditable offense in 1984 was a travesty then, and Israel’s failure to extradite Mondrowitz, now that the law in Israel has been corrected, is a travesty now.
“At the very least, the authorities in Israel should be pursuing criminal charges against Mondrowitz for recent crimes that both they and the U.S. authorities have clear and convincing evidence of. … An indicted serial child rapist such as Mondrowitz has no place in any civilized society. He deserves to be judged by a Brooklyn jury for the unspeakable crimes he committed in Brooklyn.”
The new evidence about Mondrowitz’s actions since being indicted in 1985 comes after last week’s decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to deny what is the second extradition request made by the U.S. (An article on the ruling appeared last Wednesday on The Jewish Week Web site.)
Israeli state attorneys have until Jan. 24, 10 days after the court ruling, to decide whether to request an additional hearing.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office expressed disappointment last Thursday after the ruling, which overturned a lower-court decision that Mondrowitz should be extradited to the U.S. for trial.
“We are disappointed by the decision,” said Jerry Schmetterer, director of public information for the DA’s office, which had been seeking Mondrowitz’s extradition. “We are working with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Israel Ministry of Justice to see what remedies are available.”
Asked to elaborate, Schmetterer told The Jewish Week the remedies “would possibly be in the area of further appeals.”
At the time Mondrowitz fled to Israel in 1984, the extradition treaty between Israel and the U.S. did not cover charges of sodomy, which was among the crimes for which he was indicted. The first extradition request regarding Mondrowitz came in 1985, but the appeal was denied. A new request was filed after the treaty was amended in 2007. Last Thursday’s decision was on Mondrowitz’s appeal of that request. n
This article was posted on The Jewish Week Web site, www.thejewishweek.com, on Monday, Jan. 18.
- Michael Lesher
- Israeli Supreme Court
- Teachers College
- author and advocate
- Avi Aviv
- Shlomo Rosenstein
- United Torah Judaism party
- Israel News
- New Jersey
- Staff Writer
- Thornhill University