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Department of Justice, Brooklyn DA and Survivors Want Avrohom Mondrowitz

(New York, NY - Monday, December 29, 2008) - Survivors for Justice (SFJ), an advocacy organization of victims of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community, has formally submitted a amicus curiae brief to the Israeli Supreme Court, asking the court to uphold the lower court's decision to extradite pedophile Avrohom Mondrowitz. Mondrowitz is alleged to have committed hundreds of acts of sexual abuse in the Brooklyn, New York community through the early 1980s, but escaped prosecution by fleeing to Israel, where he has been living freely in Israel ever since.

Two of SFJ's founding members, Boruch Sandhaus and Mark Weiss, both victims of Mondrowitz, asked the court to extradite Mondrowitz for crimes against children for which he was indicted twenty-five years ago.

"It is now over 20 years and Avrohom Mondrowitz has yet to face his victims in court and defend himself against the numerous horrific charges of abuse he committed against us when we were children. I live daily with the indescribable agony and torture of the memories Mondrowitz left permanently burned into my brain. Knowing that this monster is still out there amongst children just adds to the immeasurable agony I feel," said Sandhaus.

Mark Weiss implored the Israeli Supreme Court judges, "The person who you have in your hands is the Bin Laden of pedophiles, and a person no less a threat to society. It is important that you know that each and every day that goes by that he escapes proper justice is an assault on our senses and a perpetuation of the abuse. It is as though he is telling his victims that no matter what we do, he will win and will still have the power over us like he did in the past."

Posing as a therapist, Aavrohom Mondrowitz, preyed on innocent children sexually abusing what New York City law enforcement believe are hundreds of children over the course of his tenure in Brooklyn. His victims were not only from within the Orthodox Jewish community, but among his accusers at the time were four children from Italian families who live in the neighborhood.

In 1984, Mondrowitz fled hours before he was to be arrested and settled in Israel. He was indicted in absentia on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree against four children in Brooklyn.

Although he was pursued by the US authorities to Israel, at the time sodomy was not deemed an extraditable offense. He was arrested in 2007, after a change in the treaty between the U.S. and Israel provided for the extradition of suspects who face at least a year in prison, regardless of the offense. He has been in imprisoned in Israel waiting extradition ever since. Earlier this year a District Court approved his extradition but Mondrowitz's attorneys appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court which is expected to render a decision to either prosecute him in Israel or send Mondrowitz back to New York to face trial.

In the Amicus brief to the Supreme Court, Lonnie Soury, SFJ's spokesperson, said, "Returning Avrohom Mondrowitz to the United States to defend against the criminal charges will send a clear message to those who have been sexually abused in our community, and in the similarly insular Charedi communities in Israel, that authorities from New York to Israel intend to do everything in their power to protect our children."

About Survivors for Justice

We are survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the Orthodox community. Along with our advocates, we seek to obtain justice and stop these destructive acts from continuing. Our goal is to educate survivors and their families in order to empower them to report cases of abuse directly to the police and to offer support when they decide to seek justice through the criminal and civil courts.

The sexual abuse of children is at alarming proportions within our community, the magnitude of which has begun to be brought to light. This abuse has been covered up for decades, serving to insulate the perpetrators and protect the institutions that harbor them. Compounding this problem is a cultural taboo against "informing" to the secular authorities coupled with intimidation and shunning of victims. This behavior serves to keep victims ms and their families silent.

We seek to raise awareness of the incidence and prevalence of child sexual abuse in our communities. We support legislation that would enable victims to come forward to seek justice and provide legal protections to our children.

We believe our efforts will offer redress to survivors and their families, hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes and remove them from our community, and send a clear message to the institutions harboring them that they will be held responsible.