Jury Selection Set in Sex-Abuse Trial

By Steve Lieberman (lohud.com)
June 4, 2012

Jury selection is to begin today in the trial of a Monsey man charged with sexually abusing two brothers under the age of 11.

Shmul Dym, 31, whose younger brother is a registered sex offender for abusing young boys, is accused of improperly touching the two young boys multiple times during at least one three-month period.

Ramapo police arrested Dym in August 2011 after detectives said they received a complaint about the two boys being abused a month earlier.

A Rockland County grand jury handed up indictment charging Dym with two counts of sexual conduct against a child, a felony, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

The felony sex charge carries a sentence of probation to seven years in state prison.

Aside from a potential prison sentence, Dym would be added to the state registry of sexual offenders if convicted.

Dym, his two lawyers and the prosecutor met Monday morning with state Supreme Court Justice William A. Kelly at the Rockland Courthouse in New City.

The lawyers and the judge discussed the ground rules for the trial and the prosecutor's plan to call on experts in child sexual abuse and in the cultural aspects of the Hasidic Jewish community.

The Hasidic Jewish culture has become an issue in sex-abuse cases across the region, specifically with some families feeling pressured not to report abuse and to talk only to their rabbinical leaders and not authorities.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has spoken out against families being intimidated to not report sexual abuse.

Some hotlines run by ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups exist for families in New York City and the suburbs to report the abuse and inform the police and other authorities.

Starting today , Dym's lawyers, Kenneth Gribetz and Deborah Wolikow Loewenberg, will choose a 12-member jury with several alternates, along with prosecutor Patricia Gunning.

Attempts to reach a plea agreement on Monday failed.

The prosecution is insisting on a plea to the felony count, which means being added to the state sex registry.

"We're anxious to have our day in court," Gribetz said after meeting with the judge.

Gribetz said a jury would not hear about Betzalel Dym at trial.

"He has nothing to do with this case," Gribetz said.

"It would be highly prejudicial to our client to even consider that," he said.

Betzalel, Shmul Dym's younger brother, was convicted in August 2006 of first-degree sex abuse.

He was convicted of having sex with a then-10-year-old Monsey boy five times between January and May of 2006.

As a result of his conviction, Betzalel Dym is listed as a Level 2 sex offender on the New York State Registry, designating him a moderate risk of repeating his crime.

Betzalel Dym became involved in a lawsuit in which Kelly ruled unconstitutional a county law establishing where sex offenders can live and congregate.