Victim Impact Statement
Menachem M. Weiss sentencing, September 9, 2019
I never thought this day would come. 20 years ago, my parents entrusted me to the home and expertise of the man then known as Rabbi Menachem Mendel Weiss, of Woodcliff Lake, NJ.
I lived in his house, with his family, across the country from my own family,
I attended the school, then called Sinai Special Needs in Teaneck, NJ, where he was a special education teacher who was working with high school aged boys with emotional, developmental, psychological, and mental problems. He was a Rabbi at a small Chabad synagogue that had services on sabbaths and holidays at his home in Woodcliff Lake.
The word Rabbi means “my teacher”. He was my Rabbi, my religious authority, my teacher, and my legal guardian.
He identified me as his prey, and used his positions of guardian, religious authority, and teacher to sexually assault me multiple times while I was in his home under his care, and while his wife and young children were down the hall.
Over the last 20 years, I have suffered tremendously. I have had severe depression. I acted out. I felt empty. I felt and continue to feel extreme shame. I had and still have difficulty with social relationships. I was confused about my sexuality. I had morbid, suicidal thoughts. A strong feeling of inadequacy and complete lack of confidence. Emptiness. Shame. Shy and introverted. Sexual dysfunction. Damaged goods. I abused drugs. I lost aspirations and dreams of accomplishing anything in life. I became closed and withdrawn.
I could not make friends and I still have
difficulty making friends. It is extremely difficult for me to place trust in
anyone. I expect to be taken advantage of, to be abused, to be cheated, to be
I have had this secret, this sickness, this vile disease eating me up inside for so long.
I have worked with, at great financial and emotional expense, with psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and counselors.
Most of all, I have felt guilt. Guilt that I didn’t speak up at the time so he would stop. Guilt that I didn’t speak up when it happened again. Guilt that I was somehow complicit in his evil. I continue to feel guilt that it took me countless psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and counselors, thousands of dollars, and almost 20 years until I could
come forward so he could be held responsible for his crimes. I felt guilty because he was certainly abusing others, and that my silence about MY abuse allowed him to continue.
Mr. Weiss, like many other child molesters, and child rapists educated himself in a specific field of expertise and put himself in a position where he would have access to groom, abuse, assault, and rape those in our society who are most vulnerable.
Not just children, but children with disabilities.
After I became a husband and a father, I realized that I needed to come forward.
I came forward to shed light on this man, Mr. Menachem Mendel Weiss, and to prevent him from perpetrating this evil on anyone else. I believe making known to the public
who and what he really is will help save others from becoming his victims.
Since some states still have statutes of limitations on rape and sexual assault of children, I want to encourage other people who were abused by Mr Weiss and people like him to come forward.
I am forever indebted to my wife and all the other people who supported me through this process. I shudder to think how many countless other victims of Mr. Weiss are out there, how many are irreparably damaged, how many do not have the support that I do.