By Murray Weiss, DNAinfo.com June 21, 2012
BROOKLYN — Four men were arrested Thursday morning for allegedly offering a $500,000 bribe to a sexually abused teenager to get her to drop charges against a popular Orthodox community counselor who is presently on trial in Brooklyn.
Exclusive: Letter From Haredi Gadol Rabbi Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg a'h Says Notorious Pedophile Innocent
Failedmessiah.com March 21, 2012
For the first time, here is the 2006 letter written by haredi ‘gadol’ Rabbi Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg affirming that he ruled in 1985 that Rabbi Yehudah Kolko was innocent of all allegations of pedophilia and should not be fired from his teaching job.
Kolko, a notorious pedophile, pleaded guilty more than 20 years later to endangering the welfare of two children who were not yet born when Scheinberg ruled. Other victims out of the statute of limitations also have come forward including David Framowitz, who says Kolko molested him 42 years ago.
Note that despite all the additional evidence against Kolko amassed over the 21 years between the beit din and this letter, Scheinberg does not change his ruling.
Also note that the letter does not give the halakhic basis or reason(s) for finding Kolko innocent. It just states that he is innocent and that Kolko's employer, Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn, acted properly. The letter does not contain any of the embarrassing details of that 1985 ruling – a ruling Scheinberg made himself and coerced Rabbi Brown (see below) to reluctantly go along with. Rabbi Friedman (see below) refused to give in to Scheinberg's demand and did not agree with the ruling.
Scheinberg also allegedly intimidated and threatened witnesses before the beit din officially convened. (Yeshiva University's Rabbi Modechai Willig would take a page out of Scheinberg's book and do the same thing when his beit din found notorious serial child sex abuser, physical abuser and emotional abuser Rabbi Baruch Lanner innocent more than a decade later. Willig was almost fired when his role in protecting Lanner became public.)
Rabbi Scheinberg died yesterday in Jerusalem and was buried today. He was 101-years-old.
People who heard Scheinberg explain the beit din ruling in 1985 say Scheinberg claimed that because Kolko did not penetrate his victims, there was no actual abuse according to halakha. They also say that Scheinberg forbade them from reporting Kolko to police or giving any information related to the case to the media. Scheinberg told them it would violate the Jewish laws against mesirah, informing, and lashon hara, talebearing and spreading gossip.
The 2006 letter is dated 9 days after New York Magazine's exposé on Kolko was published. Scheinberg did not respond to New York Magazine's request for an interview. Neither did Torah Temimah's rosh yeshiva, Lipa Margulies.
Here is a translation of Scheinberg's 2006 letter:
Rabbi Chaim P. Scheinberg
Rosh Hayeshiva “Torah Ore”
And Morah Hora’ah of Kiryat Mattersdorf
With the help of God:
25th Day of Iyar 5766 [May 23, 2006]
Honorable Teachers and Rabbis:
This is with regard to the allegations against the teacher, Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi Kolko, may God watch over him and save him, in Yeshiva Torah Temimah in the year 5745 . Now there have surfaced again people to rouse these allegations against him once again, and further accused the leadership of the yeshiva [Yeshiva Torah Temimah] of culpability in that they turned a deaf ear to the allegations [against Kolko].
Let it be known that, in the year 5745  when the three [judges or the beit din, religious court] sat as one, I sat together as one with the sage Rabbi S. Z. Friedman, the head of the Tenka Beth Din; and the sage Rabbi S. Z. Brown, the author of The Gates of Excellence in Halacha, to adjudicate this matter.
After a thorough delving into the minute details of the matter, we concluded in accordance with the wisdom of our holy Torah to reaffirm his [Kolko’s] standing of innocence and determined that he shall retain his job as a teacher.
And on this I came to sign:
Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg
I was present at the time that my teacher and master the head of the yeshiva, may he live long and good days; wrote the above confirmation and he signed it with full faculties without any undue influence.
Yisroel Yechezkiel Plutchock