Bad Rabbi: The Court Documents Behind the Story

Brooklyn Supreme Court
A photo of Abraham Rubin from his civil lawsuit case file, allegedly shot after he was kidnapped and assaulted.
This week's feature story, "Bad Rabbi: Tales of Extortion and Torture Depict a Divorce Broker's Brutal Grip on the Orthodox Community," explored the three decades' worth of allegations against Mendel Epstein, a rabbi who has been charged with kidnapping and beating husbands who refuse to grant their wives a divorce.

Interviews with community members and court documents illuminated Epstein's reported operation, which hovered just below the surface of Brooklyn's rabbinical court system.

The earliest of these court documents are from a civil lawsuit filed by Abraham Rubin, who was kidnapped and beaten in 1996. More recent documents include a civil complaint filed by Yisrael Bryskman, who was beaten in 2010, and the October 2013 federal indictment accusing Epstein and nine others of conspiring to commit a kidnapping.

Here are some of those relevant documents:

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Levi Aron Sentenced To 40 Years To Life In Leiby Kletzky Killing

levi aron .jpeg
Levi Aron was sentenced today in the killing of eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky.
Levi Aron, the former hardware store clerk who pleaded guilty earlier this month to kidnapping and killing eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky last July, was sentenced today in Brooklyn court to a sentence of 40 years to life in prison.

The sentence was in keeping with a plea deal Aron's lawyers had worked out with prosecutors earlier this month. Under the terms of the deal, Aron, 36, avoids more severe charges and leaves open the possibility, however unlikely, that he could some day be paroled.

Asked today if he wanted to say anything before sentencing, Aron, who was monosyllabic and all but inaudible at his plea hearing earlier this month, simply shook his head.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has acted as a spokesman and representative for the Kletzky family since the first days of his disappearance, said the family agreed to the terms of the plea in order to avoid a painful trial.

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Levi Aron Pleads Guilty To Kidnapping And Murder Of Leiby Kletzky

Leiby Kletzky, the eight-year-old boy whose murder Levi Aron pleaded guilty to in court today.
Levi Aron, the Borough Park man in custody since last summer after confessing to police that he abducted and dismembered eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky, pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder and kidnapping in a plea deal that will carry a sentence of 40 years to life.

Aron's lawyers said one of the reasons for the plea was that while Aron's mental health "isn't the same as yours or mine," psychiatric evaluations suggested that his mental health issues didn't interfere with his ability to understand the consequences of his actions.

Even so, Aron had to be cajoled and prodded through his guilty plea with leading questions from State Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog.

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City Won't Force Orthodox Jews to Go to Church — to Vote

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Holy voter rolls! St. Agatha's in Borough Park.
‚ÄčAssemblyman Dov Hikind has intervened on behalf of his fellow Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn so they won't have to cast ballots this November in a Catholic church.

Ecumenism goes only so far. Big crosses adorn St. Agatha's in Sunset Park East/Borough Park, so this means that the Orthodox Jews may not have to be confronted with the question in the polling booth of who would Jesus vote for.

But many other New Yorkers have cast ballots in religious buildings, and they will again this year.

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Leiby Kletzky Killing Prompts Questions of Prevention in Borough Park

Christopher Macsurak
Borough Park
The parents of Leiby Kletzky, the 8-year-old Borough Park boy who was killed and dismembered last week, stopped sitting shiva this morning. The grand jury investigating Kletzky's alleged killer, Levi Aron, is expected to announce his indictment today, according to the Brooklyn Attorney's office. And the Medical Examiner's office has revealed that the boy was drugged as well as asphyxiated.

But as the new details and pending trial keep the focus on the gruesome killing itself, the death of Leiby Kletzky is also starting conversations about what can be done in the future to prevent similar horrors from taking place.

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Levi Aron, the Questions: Was Leiby Molested? Video Shows Aron 'Grooming' Him As Molesters Do. What Was Aron Up to in Memphis?

Levi Aron is suspected in the murder of Kletzky, but not yet been charged.jpeg
Just accept the fact that Levi Aron's reported confession for murdering Leiby Kletzky is mostly bullshit for what he has left out. After the funeral (a too quick one) Wednesday night, we may never know for sure whether the little boy was sexually molested. But go back to the surveillance video, and you'll see Aron indeed acting like a classic molester.

Notice how Aron mostly doesn't walk side-by-side with the little boy. Instead, Aron walks a few feet in front of him. Cops and shrinks who deal with molesters have told me that's a common, and shrewd, technique by molesters.

As the cops and prosecutors bear down on Levi Aron, maybe they'll find out just where he learned to pick up little boys on the street.

Which makes you wonder: Were there any missing children in Memphis — or unsolved sex crimes — during the couple of years during which Levi Aron lived there?

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