By Mary Murphy (WPIX 11 News)
August 20, 2012
PIX 11 tried demanding answers Monday from a food company in Spring Valley, about a registered sex offender who was allowed to deliver orders to a "sleepaway" camp for Orthodox Jewish boys in Sullivan County. 31 year old Yoel Oberlander was arrested August 9th, charged with criminal trespassing, after surveillance cameras showed him going in and out of bunk rooms at Camp Shalva at 5 in the morning on August 8th. Some of the boys said they woke up to a man tickling them.
Now, one parent is telling PIX 11 that children received strict orders not to speak about the case.
"The kids were warned that morning that they should not be talking to each other about the incident," the father, who wants to remain anonymous, told PIX. The man said he feared reprisals from the Bobover sect in Borough Park, Brooklyn, which runs the upstate camp.
Oberlander was on probation for six years, after a 2002 case involving the sexual abuse of an 11 year old girl.
Ben Hirsch, leader of the children's advocacy group, Survivors for Justice, said he notified New York State police 40 hours after the incident, after a parent called him with information appearing on a Yiddish chat site. Hirsch claims the camp's first call was to a criminal defense attorney! When we tried to reach one lawyer representing Camp Shalva Monday, we received no call back. We also tried to call the rabbi in charge of the bunkhouse where the 12 and 13 year old boys were sleeping, but got his voicemail.
PIX 11 did manage to get inside the Golden Taste foods warehouse in Spring Valley, which produces appetizers and dips, where Yoel Oberlander works.
The staff there was not happy to see us. They repeatedly told us to leave the premises, when we asked if they knew Oberlander was a registered sex offender--and whether he should be delivering food to a children's camp.
Outside Golden Taste Inc, in the parking lot, we noticed Oberlander's 2007 gray Mazda. People who appear on the New York State Sex Offenders Registry are required to list the car they drive and license plate number. A number of Orthodox men went in and out of the warehouse with cell phones, getting into cars and driving around to see where our news truck was parked--and where we were stationed.
An aerial photo of Camp Shalva in Sullivan County shows the delivery area for trucks is very far away from the bunkhouse where the 12 and 13 year old boys were sleeping. The lawyer for the camp told one newspaper there was "not enough time for any molestation to take place." Parents are still outraged, telling PIX 11 "there's been no addressing of this issue from a mental health perspective."