By Michael OrbachOnline exclusive
Yehuda Kolko, the former Torah Temimah teacher who is believed to have molested scores of children, was released late Sunday night after being arrested the night before. A Brooklyn judge allowed Kolko to keep his passport, but required Kolko to speak to his probation officer before traveling out of New York.
Kolko was arrested on two counts of criminal contempt in the second degree, charges that carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail. The criminal complaint was filed on Wednesday night by the father of 12-year-old boy who was allegedly molested by Kolko. The boy’s family, along with another family, brought charges against Kolko in 2007 which Kolko pled guilty to in a controversial plea deal. As part of the deal, Kolko was placed on probation and an order of protection was put in place for the boy. The boy is also scheduled to testify in a civil suit the family is bringing against Torah Temimah, where the alleged abuse took place.
The father of the boy told The Jewish Week that Kolko had violated the order of protection by “glaring” at the boy and by purchasing a home two blocks from where the family lived.
“This shows [Kolko] doesn’t give a damn about the courts,” the father of the 12-year-old told The Jewish Week, “My son is reliving this thing that happened to him four years ago.”
Sunday evening, Kolko’s lawyer, Jeffrey Schwartz, called the charges “silly.”
“It seems to me that [the family of the boy is] targeting [Kolko] and I think they should leave him alone,” Schwartz told The Jewish Star. “He’s a sick old man. No one is able to prove anything; they’re stalking him. They’re looking to target him because they’re not happy about how the first case turned out and the fact that all the charges against him in the civil prosecution were dropped.
“Now they’re arresting people for looking at people wrong.”
Brooklyn Civil Court Judge Evelyn Laporte told Kolko said she wasn’t sure that Kolko purchasing the property was a good idea, but she reiterated the order of protection on the boy.
“Don’t look at him, don’t talk to him,” she said. “Don’t talk to him. Mind your own business. Turn your head, cross the street.”
Schwartz’s argument was met with disdain by activists in the Orthodox community.
“The intimidation of a child victim is the furthest thing from silly,” said Ben Hirsch, the president of Survivors for Justice, an organization that advocates on behalf of victims of abuse and their families. “We’re confident that Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes will make this abundantly clear.”
David Framowitz, the first of Kolko’s alleged victims to press charges against him, spoke about the arrest on the Zev Brenner radio program early Sunday morning.
“Kolko himself has been teaching for forty years — they knew about this for 40 years at Torah Temima and and no one said anything,” Framowitz said. “And each year there were 40 kids in that class. If you add the summer camps that he was involved in, there could be thousands of Kolko victims out there that nobody gets to, that are suffering every day because of this animal.”