NEW YORK (JTA) – A second hidden video from inside the largest yeshiva in the Satmar Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel shows a principal holding a school-age boy between his legs while kissing him in what sex-abuse watchdogs are describing as another case of abuse.
The video follows the release of another hidden-camera recording that seems to show the same Hasidic man in the same school office kissing, caressing and rubbing up against another boy the man holds between his legs. That video has prompted an inquiry by police.
While the man in the film, said to be a principal at United Talmudical Academy, a K-12 school with some 6,000 students in the Satmar village in Orange County, New York, has not responded to requests seeking comment, some community members who say they know him are rallying to his defense.
One such man, Joseph Waldman, told a local cable station, News 12, that the principal is a well-known rabbi who is highly respected in the community.
“He’s not going to hurt the kids. His life is for the kids,” Waldman said in a News 12 report about the second video. “This person is such a loving person that instead of taking out a belt and beating up the child would rather give an extra kiss or an extra show of love.”
In the new video, the man gives the boy candy at the end of their encounter.
Waldman blamed ex-community members for circulating the video in an attempt to besmirch Hasidic society.
“They are just for revenge,” Waldman told the News 12 interviewer. “They are people who went out of the schools, who went out of our communities and at every opportunity they have they’re trying to black our eyes in the secular world.”
Advocates who helped circulate the first video and spoke to JTA said their motivation is to protect children in the community from abuse.
“What’s going on in this community I can make books and books – sexual abuse and covering up,” said Boorey Deutsch, an anti-abuse advocate who circulated the first video on social media and grew up in the Satmar neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “I was involved in the community for many years and I feel obligated to speak up. I’m not scared, so I’ll just continue doing it to make sure our kids our safe, to be the voice for the people that don’t have a voice.”