When Suspect Is Spiritual Guide
By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI
September 18, 1998
''To us, he was God's voice, right here,'' said one member of M'kor Shalom, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity. ''How could he deceive us for all those years when he was disobeying God's law? How could he
let down so many people who looked to him for guidance? How can we believe in anything he said all
...''He was incredibly respected,'' said William Levering, a minister at the First Presbyterian Church in nearby Haddonfield.
''Both a mover and shaker.''
Behind that winning image, however, Rabbi Neulander, 57, also led a tangled secret life...Elaine Soncini, a radio host who had
gone to him in 1992 seeking solace after her husband's death. As their affair progressed, Ms. Soncini began pressuring
Rabbi Neulander to end his marriage...
...One of the most striking things about the case, investigators say, was the condition of Rabbi Neulander's clothing the day of
the killing. The living room in which the rabbi found his wife slain was spattered with blood. But when an ambulance
responded to the rabbi's emergency call, there wasn't a speck of blood on his hands, face or clothes.
''He didn't check for a pulse, didn't hold her, didn't kneel on the floor, didn't get anywhere near her,'' said the investigator. ''Is that
how you would react if you had nothing to do with it?''
...A handful of members quit M'kor Shalom after Rabbi Neulander was ousted in 1995 and never joined another
For individuals and family members, however, the court proceedings are certain to rekindle questions over the character of a
man they used to rely on for moral guidance.
By COLLEEN LONG
June 10, 2012 (AP)
...Brooklyn is home to about
250,000 ultra-orthodox Jews,
the largest community outside
of Israel...They have their
own ambulances and schools,
called yeshivas, their own
civilian police and rabbinical
courts. Members are
encouraged to first
speak to a rabbi before
going to secular
authorities — and as a
result, cases rarely make it to
outside law enforcement...
"They think that anyone who
turns over anyone to the
outside authorities is
committing a transgression to
the community at large," said
Samuel Heilman, a professor
of Jewish studies at Queens
The girl, now 17, was sent to
Weberman at age 12
because she'd been asking
theological questions and he
had a reputation for helping
people back on the spiritual
path. He often counseled
people, though he had no
formal training. But during
sessions, authorities say, he
forced the girl to perform sex
The girl started dressing
immodestly, was deemed a
troublemaker and removed
from her school — one
Weberman was affiliated with
— and sent to another, family
friends said. The allegations
surfaced in 2011 when she
told a guidance counselor
there she'd been molested...
The family has said they
would've preferred to handle
the allegations within the
community. But when
accusations are managed
from the inside, victims are
rarely believed and abusers
aren't punished — in part
because the word of an elder
is respected over the word of
a child, victims and advocates
Joel Engelman said he tried
to work with yeshiva officials,
finally confronting them at
age 22 about a rabbi who
abused him as a child.
Engelman was given a lie
detector test and encouraged
to keep quiet about the
allegations, and the rabbi was
temporarily removed — long
enough for Engelman to turn
23, making him too old under
state law to file a complaint.
"It's that they don't want to
believe that the rabbis that
they've been raised to
respect could be so cruel and
could be so criminal," said
Engelman, now 26...
Jun 16, 2012
Jehovah's Witnesses may pay millions to sexual abuse victim
By Yamiche Alcindor
A jury in Oakland, Calif. has ordered Jehovah's Witnesses to pay more than $20 million to a woman who was
allegedly sexually abused by one of its members, MSNBC reports.
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the Jehovah's Witnesses' legal entity, is responsible for
paying Candace Conti, who sued Watchtower, the Fremont, Calif., congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and
Jonathan Kendrick, the man accused of abusing her.
The jury found that the elders who managed the Fremont congregation in the 1990s knew that Kendrick, a
member, had recently been convicted of sexually abusing another child, but kept his past record secret from
the congregation, MSNBC reports...
Religious hierarchies and their codes of silence about
Philadelphia Priest Trial: Jury Reaches Split Verdict In Case Of
Monsignor William Lynn
By MARYCLAIRE DALE
A Roman Catholic church official was convicted Friday of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a
groundbreaking clergy-abuse trial, becoming the first U.S. church official convicted of a crime for mishandling
Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling
parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting
churches, prosecutors said.
Lynn, 61, had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced – conspiracy and two
counts of child endangerment. He was convicted only on one of the endangerment counts, leaving him with the
possibility of 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.
The jury could not agree on a verdict for Lynn's co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was accused of
sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.
Lynn has been on leave from the church since his arrest last year. He served as secretary for clergy from 1992
to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
No matter the verdict, the trial exposed how deeply involved the late cardinal was in dealing with accused priests.
Rarely an hour of testimony went by without Bevilacqua's name being invoked.
Bevilacqua had the final say on what to do with priests accused of abuse, transferred many of them to new
parishes and dressed down anyone who complained, according to testimony. He also ordered the shredding of a
1994 list that warned him that the archdiocese had three diagnosed pedophiles, a dozen confirmed predators
and at least 20 more possible abusers in its midst. Prosecutors learned this year that a copy had been stashed
in a safe.
|San Diego Education Report