Man Named in Y.U. Suit Lured Boys With Karate, Porn — and Modern Orthodox Ties

Richard Andron Hosted Teen Sleepovers at West Side Pad

Accused: Richard Andron, right, taught tora dojo, a Jewish-inspired form of martial arts, at a Manhattan Jewish center in the 1970s and early 80s. Alleged victims say he molested them at sleepovers at his apartment.
Accused: Richard Andron, right, taught tora dojo, a Jewish-inspired form of martial arts, at a Manhattan Jewish center in the 1970s and early 80s. Alleged victims say he molested them at sleepovers at his apartment.

By Paul Berger

Published July 18, 2013, issue of July 26, 2013.
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One of those men told the Forward that he warned NCSY about Andron during the late 1970s, but the group’s regional director, Baruch Lanner, did not report Andron to police or impede Andron’s access to boys. (Decades later, Lanner was embroiled in a scandal of his own after being accused of sex abuse and child endangerment of two girls. In 2002, he was sentenced to a seven-year prison term.)

The man said that between the ages of 13 and 16 he often stayed at Andron’s apartment so that he could be closer to a local tora dojo class. During that three-year period, the man said that Andron abused him regularly.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that during the early months that he stayed at Andron’s apartment, Andron would touch the boy’s penis while he was asleep. During the months that followed, Andron convinced the boy to watch him masturbate and to let him demonstrate on the boy how to masturbate.

“I told him this was not really right,” the man, who is now 50, recalled, “and [Andron] would convince me this was what I had to do to have a healthy relationship with women.”

When the boy finally realized, at the age of 16, that he had been abused, he told his parents. He said they instructed him to confront Andron, alone, and that since Andron was a martial arts expert he should do so in a Manhattan synagogue.

“I said, ‘What about going to the police?’” the man recalled. “[My parents] said, ‘No, no, no, we are not going to the police.’”

One December, during the late 1970s, he confronted Andron. “I said, ‘You abused me, you sexually assaulted me and you are a child molester and I don’t want you coming near me and my family,’” the man said.

He continued: “[Andron] got angry, like a jilted lover. I said, ‘If you come near me again and touch me again, I will kill you, so don’t even think about coming near me.’”

The boy’s parents told him he also had to warn Lanner, who was the NCSY regional director about Andron. At the time, Lanner was infamous among Modern Orthodox youth for his habit of kneeing boys in the crotch and for taking teenage girls for long Sabbath walks in the woods.

The man said he described in detail to Lanner what had happened to him, but Lanner did not remove Andron from his involvement with NCSY.

An Orthodox Union spokesman, Mayer Fertig, confirmed that Andron was involved in NCSY “to the best of our knowledge in the late 1970s and early 1980s.”

Fertig said that NCSY “today is altogether different from the one of that era” and that “difficult, painful lessons” from that period had been learned. He directed the Forward to a 14-page Conduct, Policy, and Behavioral Standards Manual, which pledges that “NCSY’s commitment to the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of all NCSY professionals, volunteers, and NCSY’ers is non-negotiable.”


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