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Saturday, December 17, 2005

The tale of a rabbi who became a pervert

While channel surfing last night, I came across NBC's “Dateline." It's not a favorite show of mine – in fact, I rarely tune in to it – but the topic of the week seemed interesting: child predators working online. It was one of the many documentary-style pieces I have seen about sickening attempts by adults to follow up chat sessions with young children by arranging for – and meeting for – illegal sex.

The show was classic “Dateline.” Producers joined with Perverted Justice, a cyber-watchdog, to track down online predators and then arranged for meetings at the “child's” supposed house. Instead of a young boy or girl, the alleged pedophiles would find a member of the NBC news team and a line of hard questions.

Sickening? Yes. Shocking? No.

But that changed quickly. One of the men allegedly caught soliciting sex from a “minor” on the show was Rabbi David Kaye of Har Shalom in Potomac, Maryland.

I don't know if I've ever been to Mr. Kaye's former synagogue (he has since departed it – a “Dateline” rape investigation will do that) or if I ever attended one of his services – I have been to a number of temples back home over time and can't claim to have kept track of them. But, suffice it to say, this strikes frightfully close to home.

Perverted Justice has a transcript of Mr. Kaye's alleged chat with the supposed-child posted on its website. It ranges from nauseating to worse – the conversation quickly shifts from a discussion of the fictitious boy's deceased mother to oral sex. This is one sick cookie.

Washington Jewish Week, a community publication for which I have the highest respect, published a piece just over a month ago dealing with this situation. And while the newspaper was right to call for an investigation and psychological help, the article makes the baffling move of accusing NBC of what essentially amounts to yellow journalism:

It was also distressing to know that Rabbi David Kaye was entrapped in a journalistic "sting" operation.

Journalists are not law enforcers. Investigative reporting is one thing; luring someone into wrongdoing is another.

The methods used on the Dateline segment are disturbing, and may have wrongly ruined the lives of many. It is sad that a respected news organization such as NBC News associates itself with such seamy methods.

Now, a couple things to note for those who don't care to read through the transcript or didn't see the NBC piece: Mr. Kaye allegedly started the online conversation; Perverted Justice merely phonied up a cyber profile. Mr. Kaye is the one who allegedly proposed the meeting. Mr. Kaye allegedly showed up for the meeting.

Unless NBC used some frightfully creative editing or Perverted Justice did the same – of which there is proof or even allegations of neither – the only question that would seem fair to ask is whether or not Mr. Kaye had other victims.

Now I realize that it is easy to feel bad for a man whose life has been ruined by a television sting operation. But he got himself into it.

And, personally, my sympathy is largely reserved for his congregants. For too long I have watched stories of Catholic priests run awry on television and perhaps never fully appreciated how devastating such can be to a community. Now I find myself being thankful that I personally attended another synagogue and entrusted another rabbi so many times during the course of my life.

There are few men whom I respect as much as my rabbi, and I can only begin to think how shattering it would be to myself and others to learn that such a respect was misplaced.


At 12:24 PM, jdm said...

I contacted the head of perverted justice Xavier Von Erck and they are just as vulgar as the alleged perverts. The response I received had four letter words in it and was quite repulsive in nature.
I noted to them that the rabbi never had any problems with synagogue patrons, his organization, or in his classrooms and that he is entitled to due process. If found guilty by judge or jury should have a felony conviction. Sentencing, on the other hand, should take consideration of one's contribution to community for 30 years. Judges will do so. The response I received from perverted justice is that "no one receives a free pass". To them, all are alike whether or not they have done anything at all for society.
I also pointed out that the police have questioned their methods, and they noted that Fairfax County officials (police) slurred the organization but later apologized. Perverted justice apparently wants no scrutiny or comments about their
methods, but just choose to sit in judgment of others without their right to due process. I was told that if I "likey the man" (a direct quote from Xavier Von Erck
of Perverted Justice) then I am
wrong to suggest that sentencing
guidelines be considered after a
conviction. I was also told that
I was only one of 200 that questioned anything they had done.
In addition, where is the
right to counsel ever mentioned by these individuals or anything about our justice or police system as a means of enforcement. As
well they assured me repeatedly that all teens would have acted in the manner that they do in the chat rooms in all cases. No one can give such assurances. They also requested pictures from Kaye, no one notes this.
Perverted Justice serves
a purpose but should have police
and the courts involved in their
activities, because they understand
due process and rules of evidence
much more thoroughly and have been
appointed or elected to do so by
the public. No one appointed
Perverted Justice to be the
watchdogs for society.

At 1:31 PM, Boktu said...

If jdm thinks a few four letter words in an email even begin to approach the vulgarity of the predators posted on, then clearly he/she hasn't read a single one of the busts posted there. I suggest taking a good close look. There you'll find adults engaging in some of the most vile, perverse sexual talk with children that you've ever seen.

As for law enforcement involvement, Perverted Justice works hand-in-hand with dozens of law enforcement organizations across the country. Law enforcement wasn't involved in the Fairfax operation because the Fairfax PD ignored requests from both Dateline and Perverted Justice to be involved. They were notified well in advance of what was going to take place but failed to respond. The net result was 20+ child predators walking free who should have been arrested.

Now compare that to the actions of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in the most recent sting operation:

Do you see that? 50 arrests, including a number of registered sex offenders. THAT is what happens when law enforcement is proactive.

Pray tell, which community do you want to raise your children in? Riverside, where child predators are arrested and given their day in court, or Fairfax, where they're ignored and allowed to roam free?

As for the Rabbi, I fail to see the relevance of his public service. He initiated a graphic sexual conversation with what he believed was a young boy. He sent hard-core pornography to that "boy." He then arranged to meet him for sex, and showed up to do exactly that.

Yes, by all means he deserves his day in court and due process. But unfortunately, due to the Fairfax PD's negligence, he remains free to prey on real children, as he most likely has been doing for years.

Yet the problem you see here is Xavier von Erck's stern reply to you. I would suggest re-thinking your priorities.

At 3:29 PM, motey said...

A nice article Mr. VerStandig. It's a welcome thing to see the support that memebers of the general community have for Perverted Justice and their work.

As for jdm, well Boktu said it better than I could. I'm constantly amazed by the reaches that pedofiles and pedo-sympathizers will try to stretch to in order to justify a sickness that is so detrimental to society as a whole.

Alas jdm, police always question the methods of anyone that is not 'one of them' but they are smart men and women. They quickly realize who owns 'The Law' and who merely has the responsibility of administering it for the Owners. You may not be able to see this, but then, what do I care if you do or not.

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous said...

Looks like the methods of Perverted Justice were sound enough to lead to Rabbi David Kaye being indicted for his actions, as he will be facing a judge this June (2006).



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