Nachlaot Pedophile, Zalman Cohen, Convicted!
Justice in this world is slooooow. It’s also almost always partial. For complete justice we have to wait for the True Judge in the World to Come.
And this is especially true of cases involving child sexual abuse.
Three summers ago, when we discovered that over 80 Nachlaot kids had been molested and/or raped by a ring of local pedophiles, an experienced policeman, lawyer, and psychologist warned me that in cases of sexual abuse the predator almost never ends up behind bars. Why? Because the nature of the crime requires that a child provide testimony against an adult. And children’s testimony is considered less reliable. Which means that, in terms of prison-time, pedophiles are the pickpockets of sexual offenders. Difficult to catch and far more difficult to convict.
So it is with great joy and gratitude to Hashem that I am sharing the news that Nachlaot pedophile Zalman Cohen was convicted last month on 4 counts of indecent assault on children as well as an additional charge of coercing testimony by threatening a child witness. This is the second conviction of a member of the Nachlaot Pedophile ring; Binyamin Satz was sentenced to 15 years in prison just over a year ago (Zalman’s sentencing is scheduled to take place next month).
I’ve looked through the judge’s verdict, which describes Zalman’s sexual acts with children, and they are as disgusting as they are cruel. The verdict also describes the unusual ring aspect of what it refers to as “the Nachlaot Case.” Judge Amnon Cohen writes: “It turned out that we were talking about an unusual case of sexual assault—regarding the large number of children who were assaulted and also regarding the form of the assault, which wasn’t performed “one [adult] on one [child]” but rather “several [adults] on several [children]: a number of predators together assaulting a number of victims together. 15 additional suspects were interrogated, among them the accused.”
One of the highlights of the trial… Throughout the trial Zalman had a smug and arrogant expression on his face as though the whole trial was a big joke and that there was no way they could convict him. And then the defense attorney questioned him about the toy weapons he had used to threaten his young victims into submission and silence—a gun, an axe, a knife etc.–which the police had discovered when they raided Zalman’s office following his arrest. When he saw them, Zalman just chuckled, and explained to the judge that he had used these toys as props in his innovative approach to counseling married couples. In fact, when he had lectured a group of marital therapists, he claimed, the other therapists were so impressed by his use of these toys that many of them chose to run out to buy them as well! The judge was not convinced or amused by Zalman’s ridiculous explanation. If this was true, the judge challenged, why hadn’t an army of therapists come down to the court to defend him? He told Zalman that his explanation wasn’t only surreal. It was pure chutzpah!
I am looking forward to having more good news to share from this terrible case over the years to come. But in the meantime, I will remind you what I said when I announced Binyamin Satz’s conviction: it’s wonderful when we see convictions of loathsome predators like Zalman Cohen. But cases that end like this are unfortunately few and far between.
The vast majority of predators are never convicted or indicted or even arrested.
And this means that in order to keep our precious children safe we need to educate, educate, educate. Click here to read Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz’s guidelines for the brief and simple conversation all parents should have with their children to keep them safe from the Zalman Cohens living in their community.