Chabad in the Netherlands allows abuser access to children

De Telegraaf, the largest Dutch daily, reported that Rabbi Mendel Levine continues to serve as a rabbi in Nimeguen despite accusations of sexual abuse. De Telegraaf spoke with two of his victims who say Levine sexually abused them when they were children. According to research by the newspaper, the case has been swept under the carpet by Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs.

Meyer Seewald was eleven years old when he was molested by Levine who was a counselor in a summer camp for Jewish children in the US.

De Telegraaf spoke to another of Levine’s victims who says Levine also touched his privates during the summer camp. “I heard the story of Seewald and was shocked; this is exactly what happened to me in Michigan in 2001. Levin, who was a camp counselor took me aside, took my clothes off and started to put cream on my private parts. I wondered what the hell happened. I am not out to take revenge, even though I suffered from it later on. More important is how the case was handled. Your chief rabbi should have done something about it.”

The boys initially keep their mouth shut. In ultra-orthodox Jewish circles, there is a taboo on abuse. When Seewald was ready to talk about it, the statute of limitation had already passed. He then confronted Levin who admitted he had ‘problematic tendencies,’ that he is in therapy and avoids contact with children.

The newspaper reported that “Seewald is well known in Jewish circles. He has made an international name for himself as a super-pedophile hunter with a website where confirmed abusers are exposed. The Jewish Community Watch ‘Wall of Shame’ has become one of the largest pedophile exposers in the world. There are 138 men and women on the list, complete with names and photos.”

Seewald first published an account of his abuse without a name and Jewish Community Watch added Levine to the Wall of Shame once the second victim came forward.

Levine denied to the paper that he did anything wrong, but with Levine posted to the Wall of Shame and the secret out, Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs realized he had to do something about it.

“I have done thorough research,” Jacobs told the paper. “I have had people in America research it. The result was that nothing punishable had happened.”

The Jewish community in Nimeguen also looked into it but research by De Telegraaf shows that both parties did not do enough. The parties worked completely separate from each other and gave up quickly, with the result being that nothing happened. This is evidenced by statements, audio recordings, and e-mails obtained by De Telegraaf.

Jacobs, who like Rabbi Levine, belongs to the Chabad sect, appears to have sent his son to talk with Seewald. Jacobs’ son wrote in a private email that he believes Seewald is reliable, but that it’s legally difficult to prove.

The Jewish community in Nimeguen researched on their own. A spokesperson told De Telegraaf that Seewald did not respond to requests for clarification. That proves untrue: Seewald did indeed speak extensively by telephone with an adviser of the Nimeguen administration. In that conversation, Seewald even offered to come to the Netherlands to give a statement. The adviser replied to Seewald that, “the rabbis play it down. What Levine has done is very wrong. We can not let this go. We believe you, and you have no reason to lie.” But subsequently, nothing happened.

What’s remarkable that both Jacobs and the Nimeguen administration, despite their ‘thorough investigation’, claim they were not aware that there is a second victim. Jacobs reacted with surprise to the information. “If that is the case, it becomes a different story. It is reason for a new investigation.”

JCW can confirm that two different people had communicated to Jacobs that there was multiple victims of Levine.

Posted in media, news-articles, op-eds, survivors-letters.