Rabbi who indecently assaulted girls aged 14 and 15 was sent for therapy by community elders and police were only alerted two years later

By Stephanie Linning (Mail Online)
May 20, 2015

A respected rabbi who indecently assaulted two teenage girls was sent for therapy by community leaders when allegations of his crimes emerged and was only reported to police two years later.

Todros Grynhaus, 50, a prominent member of the Haredi Orthodox Jewish community in Salford, Greater Manchester, abused the girls, then aged 14 and 15, in the 1990s, the court was told.

The offences were brought to light when one of the victims told a psychologist about the 'litany of abuse' in 2009.

When senior members of the community heard of the accusations, they suggested Grynhaus, a father-of-ten, receive treatment at a local clinic. They told the court 'no one wanted to report it'.

Grynhaus was charged with sex offences in 2012 after one of his victims reported him to the police.

While on bail in February 2013, Grynhaus fled the UK for Israel using a false passport. He was arrested in May 2013 as he tried to board a bus in Jerusalem and was deported last April.

Grynhaus, son of influential London Rabbi Dayan Dovid Grynhaus, was convicted of seven counts of indecent assault at Manchester Crown Court yesterday.

The court was told Grynhaus hailed from the Haredi Orthodox Jewish community where children were refused access to the television, radio, newspapers or the internet.

Some members of the community contact with non-Jewish people and choose to deal with unlawful matters 'in-house within the community', rather than involving police.

The court heard Grynhaus, a religious studies teacher, abused the two girls in the 1990s and treated one like a 'play-thing'. One was molested in a hotel jacuzzi.

During the trial, one of the victims said: 'He put his hands behind my shoulders and tried to force me and told me it was going to be nice. I was saying no. I really, really didn't want it.

'I remember him trying again and again. I tried to tell him to go away but he would say "you are going to do this and you are going to enjoy it".'

In 2009, one of the victims told Dr Michael Schauder of her sexual abuse when she went to see him while experiencing difficulties in her marriage.

Dr Schauder said of the victim: 'The impression I got was she had been pushed to the wall and she felt she had no option but to raise this.

'I thought being a young orthodox lady writing it down would be easier. After the first disclosure she handed me two sides of a full page and talked about a litany of abuse.

'After I saw her she deteriorated and the impression I got was she had been living in a bubble of denial and once she had revealed the abuse her defences came crumbling down and she was in a fragile state emotionally.'

In 2010, after the claims had emerged, Grynhaus was asked to attend a meeting with Dr Schauder and rabbis Shraga Feivel Zimmerman and Gershon Miller.

He was confronted with the allegations of historical sexual abuse as his wife, Leah, looked on. It was arranged that he would see a therapist in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

Dr Shauder told the court: 'I confronted Mr Grynhaus with the fact we had to take steps to ensure the safety of everyone. The only thing he said once I confronted him was "what do you want me to do?"

'His face and ears were red but he appeared stoic whilst his wife burst into tears. It was plain and obvious he had been caught with his hands in the cookie jar.'

American Rabbi Zimmerman said that at that point 'nobody wanted to report it' to the police and that 'everybody wanted him to seek therapy and heal himself'.

He said: 'If he had denied it or expressed some remorse I would have tried to push further to restore peace, but since he didn't, I let Dr Schauder handle it.

'His reaction was unemotional and there was not any attempt to deny it.

'He admitted it without accepting responsibility. The impression we had was he was only interested in negotiating his way out of the situation. It was the annoyance to him that he had been caught.

'He wasn't sorry about the welfare of the woman, he wasn't concerned with anything other than "how do I get myself out of it?"

'Anyone who is accused of even a minor crime, let alone something as heinous as this, if they didn't do it, they would vehemently deny it. No one would agree to go to therapy. His wife was speechless. She was stunned.

'At that point nobody wanted to report it. Everybody wanted him to seek therapy and to heal himself and not be a danger to the general public. Part of any therapy is admission and taking responsibility for what you did.'

Grynhaus later had a conversation with Rabbi Miller, claiming he was 'no longer a danger.'

He told the rabbi he had 'changed his life' and added: 'You have no idea of what demons were going through me at the time.'

One of the victims told the trial that she initially 'didn't want to report it to the police' and 'didn't want to take it this far'.

She said: 'I have been trying every other thing to do before this but I realised if I don't come forward and tell the police I don't know how many other children are at harm.

'I don't think anybody would make something up like this. It's sick, it's absolutely disgusting. I didn't think this would happen. I don't want to be stood here now.

'He is a complete psychopath who had ruined my life. I wanted to put it to bed.'

Alistair Webster QC prosecuting told the jury: 'There was no tradition of going with such matters to the police. The children spend much time on religious education. It is a very different world from that in which many of us operate.

'You will have to use your understanding of the world to try to envisage how a young girl in her position would feel and react. With a respected figure, authoritative, in a society which paid him respect, what could she do?'

Grynhaus denied wrongdoing and said there was a conspiracy against him as part of a 'revenge plot'.  It was claimed he told his psychotherapist: 'I don't know why I'm here. I'm not letting Mafia rabbis interfere'.

Defence counsel Jonathan Goldberg QC said Grynhaus' arrest arose out a 'Jimmy Savile effect' which had prompted people from the othodox Jewish community to come forward and support complaints of sexual abuse.

Grynhaus showed no emotion as he was found guilty of three charges of indecent assault. In February, another trial jury failed to reach verdicts on the matters and a retrial was held.

Sentencing was adjourned for four weeks and Grynhaus was remanded in custody.

Judge Mr Justice Timothy Holroyde told him: 'The nature of the offences involved a high degree of manipulative behaviour coupled with a refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing whatsoever.

'A substantial prison sentence is inevitable.'