A trove of newly-released documents has raised questions about the Brooklyn District Attorney’s handling of one of the most notorious Orthodox sex abuse cases, the New York Times has reported.
The documents relate to the case of Avrohom Mondrowitz, an alleged sex abuser who fled New York in 1984 to avoid prosecution, eventually winding up in Israel.
Victims’ advocates, who estimate that Mondrowitz abused more than a 100 individuals, contend that Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes did not aggressively seek Mondrowitz’s extradition from Israel. Hynes has countered this, pointing to his 2007 effort to bring Mondrowitz back to New York after the United States and Israel amended their extradition treaty to cover crimes such as Mondrowitz’s.
But the documents seem to suggest otherwise.
“There isn’t a single e-mail, a single letter, a single memo, either originating from the D.A.’s office or addressed to it, that so much as mentions any attempt by the D.A. to seek a change in the extradition treaty,” Michael Lesher, the New Jersey attorney who requested the documents in a Freedom of Information Law request, told the Times. “It’s just inconceivable that such important negotiation on such a detailed issue could have taken place and not left a trace in the documentary record.”
Hynes’ office countered that the documents in the FOIL do not represent the entire case; there are almost 300 pages that were withheld.
Lesher received the documents in June after a lengthy legal battle with the D.A.’s office to release them.
Neither Lesher nor a spokesman for Hynes immediately returned calls for comment.
Naomi Zeveloff is the former Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.