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Important Message from SAR

October 5, 2018

 

In January, we wrote to share difficult news – that an SAR Academy alumnus had come forward to share a distressing account of abuse perpetrated by Stanley Rosenfeld, a former SAR Academy administrator and teacher during the 1970s and 1980s.


In our January message, we shared that T&M Protection Resources had been retained to conduct a formal third-party investigation. A  subcommittee of the Board of Trustees was appointed to work with T&M throughout the investigation. T&M is an internationally recognized firm with a team of former prosecutors with specific expertise in investigating allegations of sexual misconduct.  We write today to share the results of the T&M effort, which were presented to the SAR Board of Trustees yesterday. A full copy of the Report can be accessed at: www.saracademy.org/t&mreport

 

Beginning in February and ending in early September, T&M's investigators conducted 39 interviews with alumni and current and former faculty, staff, administration and trustees. Of those interviewed, several alumni (both male and female) came forward alleging inappropriate conduct by Mr. Rosenfeld. At times, these allegations were limited to boundary crossing and inappropriate behavior, and in other instances, students shared troubling details of sexual abuse by Rosenfeld, which occurred not only on school property, but also in Rosenfeld's home. In addition, several interviewees reported that Rabbi Sheldon Schwartz, who at that time was an SAR teacher, was either present in Rosenfeld's home at the time of the abuse or was told about it by students at the time it was occurring and failed to report it or take action to stop it.


We want to extend our most sincere gratitude to the individuals who came forward to report instances of inappropriate behavior and abuse. We remain heartbroken that our alumni suffered abuse while in SAR's care, but we also are deeply inspired by their bravery.

 

T&M uncovered the following regarding Rosenfeld's tenure and behavior while at SAR:

  • Rosenfeld was an administrator at SAR from 1974 to 1977 and he was also employed as a teacher by the school during the 1986-87 school year. The precise circumstances of his departure and rehire remain unknown.
  • Twelve former SAR students and one non-SAR student reported that Rosenfeld sexually abused them during his time as an SAR Academy faculty member.  
  • According to two victims, Rosenfeld's misconduct was reported to at least one member of SAR's administration at the time of these abuses.  
  • The investigation could not conclusively determine whether the administrators involved in the rehiring of Rosenfeld were aware of the nature of the allegations at the time of his rehire.  


T&M uncovered the following regarding Rabbi Schwartz's behavior while at SAR:

  • According to multiple victims, details of Rosenfeld's behavior were, at the time, raised directly to Rabbi Schwartz, who not only failed to act on the information appropriately, but was also alleged to have been present at and/or to have brought students to Rosenfeld's home for Shabbat visits during which abuse took place.
  • Separately, through the course of this investigative effort, several students came forward alleging Rabbi Schwartz had acted inappropriately with them.  

 

Rabbi Schwartz served as a Judaic studies teacher until he was suspended in January 2018, once allegations concerning his knowledge of Rosenfeld's behavior were brought to the attention of SAR. His employment has since been terminated.  Current members of the SAR administration were not aware of the allegations regarding Rabbi Schwartz until the commencement of the investigation.


T&M's findings and the fact that Rosenfeld appears to have worked at and abused children at multiple schools and camps in the New York area gives all of us reason to pause and consider whether we are truly doing enough to protect our children.  SAR is committed to:

 

Supporting victims of abuse. We will do all we can to support victims as they continue on their paths to healing. Victims of abuse who are seeking assistance in obtaining counseling are asked to please reach out to Dr. Linda Weiner who we have asked to coordinate counseling care for which we have set up a fund. Dr. Weiner can be reached by phone at (914) 948-9004 or by email at lindabweiner@gmail.com.


Uncovering and dealing with issues in our past. Throughout the investigation, there were no reports of abuse or inappropriate behavior reported to T&M, other than those summarized above.  However, we recognize that there may be additional victims who did not contact T&M, and may wish to report at this time.  Should you have any information that you wish to report regarding abuse perpetrated by an SAR employee, please contact T&M, Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, or Rabbi Tully Harcsztark (contact information is below).


Continuing our conversations with our students and faculty on preventing and addressing sexual abuse. In 2014, SAR implemented an Anti-Harassment Policy: www.saracademy.org/antiharassmentpolicy. Training is done annually for all staff as well as appropriate training for high school and middle school students as part of their advisory program. Emphasis of the training is on awareness and reporting of any potential abuse as well as setting appropriate parameters for student-staff interactions. We are fully committed to the safety of our students and to continuing to implement best practices in these areas.  


We remain ever-grateful for the trust and confidence you place in us. Caring for our children, past and present, remains our greatest charge. Please feel comfortable contacting us directly if we may answer any questions about how we uphold this promise.

Rabbi Binyamin Krauss
Principal, SAR Academy

Rabbi Tully Harcsztark

Principal, SAR High School

Contact information:


T&M Protection Resources

email: SAR@tmprotection.com

phone: (646) 445-7705


Rabbi Binyamin Krauss

email: kraussb@saracademy.org

phone: (718)-548-1717 ext. 1207


Rabbi Tully Harcsztark

email: harcsn@sarhighschool.org

phone: (718)-548-2727 ext. 1501

 
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SAR Academy/High School

Riverdale, NY 10471
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