Monsey, NY - Supporters of Rabbi Martin Wolmark rallied in his defense Thursday after he and fellow Rabbi Mendel Epstein, were among 10 people taken into custody after a months-long FBI undercover sting operation, while at the same time, details of a 1997 civil suit filed against Wolmark and Epstein struck an eerily similar tone to the charges levied against them.
The Journal News reports that Agudath Israel of America’s Rabbi David Zewibel issued a strong statement in support of Wolmark, 55, who serves as head of Yeshiva Torah in Monsey, but who is now facing a slew of criminal charges from the feds.
“He is a well-respected figure in the Jewish community,” Rabbi Zweibel said of Wolmark. “And he’s somebody that’s respected not just because he married into a wealthy family. He’s respected because he’s a person of substance, a person who is an expert in Jewish law. He’s considered a rabbi of caliber.”
Wolmark’s father-in-law is Zev Wolfson, revered for being one of the premier Jewish philanthropists over the past decades.
Meanwhile, details of a 1997 civil lawsuit filed against Wolmark and Epstein have emerged, revealing an eerily similar transcript to the official complaint read in court against the two on Thursday.
According to court documents, Rabbi Abraham Rubin brought a civil racketeering suit against Wolmark, Epstein, and multiple other rabbis, charging them with engineering his kidnapping and beating after he was scooped up while walking home after synagogue in Borough Park on October 23, 1997.
In his suit, Rabbi Rubin testified that three men wearing masks forced him into a van where he was handcuffed and beaten for refusing to grant his wife a get.
Rubin alleged he received over 30 shocks from a stun gun, including to his genitals, before being transferred to an awaiting vehicle that subsequently dumped him at the entrance to a Brooklyn cemetery.
According to records, Rubin lost his 1997 lawsuit.