Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What to Do with Gafni

Anonymous writes (commenting on Anonymous Shnononymous)

First of all - as one of [Mordechai Gafni’s] victims, it was not only one time he molested a minor, it was two. No "investigations" were made into these matters regardless of what various Rabbonim might tell you. As a victim I can tell you an investigation was not done.

Gafni is a predator - he will not just miraculously "get well," he has never admitted what he did in his past and still maintains notions of "love" and "seduction" with regard to his victims who were minors at the time.

You can rant and rave all you want about Vicki Polin, Luke Ford etc., but what appears forgotten is the victims that are out there, real people with real feelings who were harmed. This includes Gafni's current victims and the any of the prior victims - who knows how many may emerge from the woodwork.

Dear Anonymous,

For the record, I never met or spoke to Mordechai Gafni, and everything I know about him comes second hand. If you tell me he had illegal sex with two, rather than one minor, I must accept your version of the truth, because I don’t have a better, more direct source to rely on.

But I agree with you that the discussion of the ravages Gafni left behind, both earlier and later in his life, is overdue. Let me ask you then, what would you consider, in your personal case, to be the kind of arrangement after which you would feel that your grievance is satisfied?

Let’s line up the grievances as I’ve heard them, second hand:

  1. Sex with an under-aged person
  2. Sex with several women with false promises of marriage
  3. Sex with students impressed by Gafni’s charisma

A reliable arbiter should investigate and assess the extent of the damage sustained by each individual woman. I suspect the range of assessed damages might be as varied as the range of women who have had the bad luck to be swayed by Gafni. But my sense is that as long as none of them suffered physical damage, the dollar value set on their mental anguish would be limited.

Broken promises of marriage can bring in some monetary rewards, but since most of the sexual complaints are by adult women, who were, basically, consenting, the sums will not be large. But, of course, the better the lawyer, the higher the rewards.

But I must warn you that pursuing this case to the end will require a great commitment on your part; you’ll basically have to put your personal and professional life aside and commit to suing Gafni. And if you’re not the first one to sue him, he might be broke by the time you win.

Which brings me to the sad and real aspect of recovering from the kind of injury you sustained: It’s not about punishing the SOB who hurt you. It rarely is. It’s about rediscovering the powers within you to move on. You said I was “ranting and raving,” so I would assume that you don’t think I’m your friend. So I’ll tell you what I would have told my daughter, if, God forbid, she were in your situation: Let the guy rot, move on, get back into life.

I’ll share with you a personal experience.

Many years ago, my wife and I lost our one-year old baby. It was an opportunistic bacteria that ran through her body in one weekend. Our pediatrician was negligent. It was our first child, we depended on him for judgment, and he was basically ignoring us, even when we called in the middle of the night. By the time we finally brought her in, he was shocked by her condition and had us take her to the emergency room, where she passed away.

After the first month of mourning, we went to see our lawyer about suing our doctor. We sat with a battery of attorneys, and they began to prep us, set dates for depositions, etc., until it became very clear to us that pursuing the case, in which we were undoubtedly right and the doctor undoubtedly wrong, would require about a five-year commitment on our part. We would be deposed, we would appear in court time and again, we would be asked to re-live the most painful time in our lives, again and again.

We balked. And decided to put our energies in recovering from the tragedy. Which we did, slowly. Incidentally, the pediatrician’s wife lost her pregnancy shortly thereafter and he left the field permanently. So karma is still alive and well. The fact is that today the only thing I feel for that doctor is pity. I think my wife and I are in much better shape than he.

In my view it is inappropriate for anyone to write what Mordechai Gafni should do or not do. He is an addict who’s hitting rock bottom, and he will or will not seek recovery. The public discussion of the quality of his mea culpa, or the mea culpi of various Renewal movement leaders is embarrassingly prurient. As individuals we have the right to declare what our own needs are, not what other people’s needs should be. After all, what do you want him to receive? Jail? Not going to happen, not here, not in Israel. I’d be extremely surprised if it does. So, if not jail, then what? Apology? From a sex addict so deep in his disease he can’t help sounding presidential when pretending to ask forgiveness? What’s the value of that? Maybe in six months, if he were to ask to see you and to make amends to you, out of a new commitment to recovery, then it might have value. Now he would probably benefit most from just admitting that his life has become unmanageable.

So it’s not about Gafni, it never was, it’s about you, how do you come out of this creepy experience a strong and recovered human being? I suspect there isn’t a single thing Gafni can do or that can be done to Gafni, which would get you to that path of recovery.

With sympathy and affection,

Yori Yanover


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry for your loss, and I cannot imagine losing a child (having 5 of my own). Until all of this ugliness reared its head recently I had moved on with my life. The damage he caused myself and others runs deep. It may not be physical in nature, but we each live with it everday regardless of whether we dwell on the past (as you live with the death of your daughter daily) - it is part of us. As a part of the legal community I fully appreciate the time, energy and strength a law suit requires. Gafni has not only continued to hurt others, but until now he has made a nice little life for himself. I cant speak for all of his victims, but I can say that my recovery continues to be difficult. Where I was emotionally at the time he molested me made a horrible situation much much worse. I don't know that there is a dollar value one can set.

You saying that: I suspect there isn’t a single thing Gafni can do or that can be done to Gafni, which would get you to that path of recovery. - is just plain wrong. You don't know anything about me, my life past and present or my commitment to recovery.

8:51 AM, June 05, 2006  
Blogger Yori Yanover said...

I'm prepared to learn, then. What do you propose be done to Mordechai Gafni, within existing law, which would help you personally?

9:03 AM, June 05, 2006  
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