Monday, September 27, 2004

Letter to the Editor - The Re-Invented Rabbi

By Vicki Polin - Executive Director, The Awareness Center
The Awareness Center - September 27, 2004 
(The following letter was sent to The New York Jewish Week in response to the article "The Re-Invented Rabbi")

Rabbi Marc Gafni (AKA: Mordechai Winiarz
The Awareness Center wants to thank Gary Rosenblatt and The Jewish Week for the courage it took to publish the story on Rabbi Mordechai Gafni (AKA: Marc Winartz, Mordechai Winiarz, Marc Gafni). We also want to thank the three women who were brave enough to share their "alleged" history of being sexually violated by such a prominent public figure. These three women should be seen as heroes. 

According to the article "The Re-Invented Rabbi", Rabbi Gafni confessed to having sexual relations with a 13 year old girl. He pointed out that he was "only 19 or 20 at the time of the relationship." According to New York law, an adult is someone who is age 18 or over.  Keeping this in mind, Gafni's actions would be considered "statutory rape." But we need to keep in mind that the "alleged" victim who was only 13 years old at the time is quoted as calling this "relationship" as "repeatedly sexually assaults over a nine-month period."
Rabbi Gafni is very fortunate that he committed this confessed crime in the United States. If he would have been a few hundred miles north in Canada, there is NO statute of limitation on sexual violence committed against minors. 

It's also hard not to believe the cases of Judy and Susan. If Rabbi Gafni confessed to having a "sexual relationship" with a 13 year old, how difficult is it to believe that he would also "allegedly" sexually assault a 16 year old who was living in his own home, or the alleged attempted rape of a 22-year-old woman. 

Judy stated in her recall of her assault that Mordechai was married to his second wife at the time, yet Gafni stated he only had "adult relationships with women at times when he was single, and was never abusive." He already confessed to having a "relationship" with a 13 year old, so who's telling the truth?

The Awareness Center is the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA). We are an international clearinghouse of information that deals with sexual violence in Jewish Communities around the world. If you or someone you know has been sexually victimized, please feel free to contact us.

Vicki Polin, MA, ATR, LCPC
Executive Director - The Awareness Center 

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