Rabbi Accused of Sexual Abuse Files $520M Lawsuit

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Rabbi Shmuel Krawatsky, who was fired from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School following allegations of child sexual abuse of three boys at a Frederick County summer camp, has filed a lawsuit against the parents of two of the boys as well as against the advocate for sexual abuse victims who first publicly aired the allegations on his blog.

The 55-page suit was filed on Jan. 30 on behalf of Krawatsky, 40, and his wife Shira Krawatsky, 37. The suit includes 57 counts against the five defendants, including defamation with malice, defamation with negligence, conspiracy to commit defamation with malice and negligence, invasion of privacy, interfering with Krawatsky’s ability to work, inflicting emotional distress and aiding and abetting. In addition, the suit says actions by the five defendants caused Shira Krawatsky to suffer “injury to the marital relationship.”


The lawsuit also includes an injunction to stop what is called their “defamatory and harassing actions” against Krawatsky, which are causing him to suffer “great emotional distress” and economic harm. “The public interest is best served by granting the injunction,” the suit says.

Monetary judgments in compensatory and punitive damages demanded by the Krawatskys in the suit total $520 million. The Krawatskys have requested a jury trial.

The allegations against Krawatsky came to light following a November blog post by Chaim Levin, of Brooklyn, N.Y. Then, on Jan. 17, The New York Jewish Week published a lengthy investigative piece with more detail about the allegations. Two of the parents, Joel and Rachel Avrunin, went public in that article.

A Child Protective Services investigation initially determined that Krawatsky was “indicated” for sexual abuse, which means there is credible evidence that abuse took place. But following appeals in 2016 by Krawatsky’s attorneys, that determination was downgraded to “unsubstantiated,” which, in the parlance of CPS, means there is not enough evidence to determine a finding of “indicated” or “ruled out.” Following a police investigation, the Frederick County assistant state’s attorney, who is also chief of the sex crimes and child abuse unit, decided not to pursue criminal charges against Krawatsky, according to the Jewish Week article.

The day after the Jewish Week article was published, Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, where Krawatsky was a middle school Judaic studies teacher, fired him. He subsequently resigned from leading a teen minyan at Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim.

The lawsuit alleges that the Avrunins contacted Krawatsky’s places of employment demanding he be fired and, in concert with Levin, conducted a smear campaign in the community.

Krawatsky “states emphatically that he is innocent of the allegations discussed in the article,” attorney Christopher M. Rolle said in a Jan. 19 email. “Rabbi K knows that through the legal process the true facts will come to light. He humbly requests that everyone reserve judgment of him until all of the facts are available in the public record.”

As to why the suit only includes two of the three boys’ parents as defendants, Rolle said in a Feb. 1 email to the JT, “We expect to add additional parties as the discovery process progresses.”

“Rabbi K’s lawsuit is a pathetic attempt to intimidate our clients and others from speaking out about sexual abuse in the Baltimore Orthodox Jewish Community,” said the defendants’ attorney, Jonathan Little, in a Feb. 1 email to the JT. “It is clear from reading the suit that Rabbi K has not bothered to access publicly available documents. In 60 days the families of the boys sued by Rabbi K as well as the families of the other children violated by Rabbi K will file their answers to Rabbi K’s allegations and their own counter claims against Rabbi K, and those that enabled him to continue to abuse young boys, in the Federal Court in Maryland. ”

singram@midatlanticmedia.com

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Your right, so let’s just throw anyone accused of wrongdoing into a bottomless pit, because we may “retraumatize” the ‘victim’. Remember, it’s low number, perhaps only 2% that make up false accusations- but those 2 percent are still innocent until proven guilty, and they should be treated as such. Imagine your life if YOU were the victim of a false accusation?

  2. A trial would just be another way to retraumatize the victims. I’m irrepressibly reminded of Jon Hamm on Kimmy Schmidt playing the guitar on the witness stand to woo over the jury and discredit the accusers by force of personality rather than evidence.

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