Rabbi Accused of Molesting Bar Mitzvah Students

December 20, 2007

PIKESVILLE, Md. — At a kosher deli off Reisterstown Road in a Pikesville stripmall, Eyewitness News found Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro, a butcher who jumped out from behind his desk and hid from our cameras when we tried to ask him about new criminal charges that he sexually abused two young boys during Bar Mitzvah lessons.

A rabbi has been accused of molesting boys during bar mitzvah lessons.

Shapiro never came out, but a coworker did. The man later yelled at Eyewitness News after we walked out the door that the allegations against Shapiro were "fabricated."

City prosecutors say "Over the past several months, police and prosecutors have conducted an extensive investigation that led to the charges."

The alleged abuse took place at Shapiro's home off Olympia Street in 1988 and 1994. Some neighbors caught wind of the allegations a few years back and posted flyers.

One victim tells police he was forced to chant passages from the Torah as he was inappropriately touched.

"The problem is that we don't know if there's more victims. We know a few but not how many there have actually been," said Vicki Polin.

Polin heads a support group for victims of rabbi abuse. She's concerned that some leaders in the Orthodox community keep abusers quiet.

"They're told they shouldn't report it to secular authorities because it could start another holocaust. Unfortunately, it starts another type of holocaust where an accuser has access to hundreds of children and each time they perfect their skills," she said.


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