An international manhunt continues for a Brooklyn Rabbi and one of his sonâ€™s, another son was charged and, a third sonâ€”a minorâ€”turned himself into authorities. The father and his sons are accused of sexually abusing at four of the female children.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that the scandal was revealed after the eldest daughter, now 20, confided to a co-worker at the Yeshiva where they worked, according to police. The woman stated that the abuse was ongoing for about 15 years. The Rabbi, taught at his Yeshiva until he left for unknown reasons three months ago, said the AP. The Daily News said it remains unclear if the daughter worked at her fatherâ€™s Yeshiva.
The Hasidic rabbi, Gershon Kranczer, 58, former head of Yeshiva Tehila L’Dovid, fled to Israel with his 20-year-old son, Asher, said the New York Daily News. Both men left Kennedy Airport for a flight to Israel and remain at large. Kranczerâ€™s wife drove the two to Kennedy. Both men are being sought for questioning in the bizarre case.
The Yeshiva focused on the care of disabled children, said the Daily News, which noted that several of the Rabbiâ€™s children, in addition to Asher, are disabled. The rabbi and three of his sonsâ€”including Asherâ€”are suspects of sexually abusing no less that four of their female relatives, said the AP. The abuse is alleged to have gone on for years.
Yechezkel Kranczer, 24, posted $10,000 bail on Saturday, leaving Brooklyn Criminal Court after being arraigned on charges of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, said the Daily News. He is banned from contacting his victimsâ€”a 13- and 16-year-old, added the Daily News. He acknowledged understanding the two misdemeanor charges and the restraining order. Married and living outside of the family home, Yechezkel Kranczer, had to relinquish his passport, said the Daily News.
The other victims, siblings of the 20-year-old teacherâ€™s aide, range in age from eight to 19 years of age, said the AP. The minors have since been turned over to the Administration for Childrenâ€™s Services, wrote the Daily News. According to police, said the AP, the father is believed to have abused two of his daughters, while the brothers are accused of rape and other crimes against their sisters.
Of note, said the AP, the father and mother are first cousins and have 14 childrenâ€”seven girls and seven boys; 12 lived at home as of the reporting.
New York Police Department (NYPD) chief department spokesman Paul Browne said, wrote the AP, that the investigation continues and notes that there could be more victims. An NYPD detective has been assigned as a liaison in Jerusalem, said Browne. “This family … has been engaged in a horrific pattern of sexual abuse,” said Assistant District Attorney John Holmes, quoted the Daily News.
Long shrouded in shame and secrecy and permitted perpetuationâ€”given the silence surrounding the crimeâ€”reporting sexual abuse of children is finally receiving more attention in the Orthodox community and has been a subject of increasing focus in the media and politics. We have written about it here and, as the AP wrote, State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, brought attention to the issue two years ago on a radio show that prompted victims to come forward with claims of abuse and stories about how sexual abuse is often handled internally and quietly in Orthodox rabbinical courts.