CT: A Sex-Offender Synagogue President Resigns Despite Rabbi’s Support

[forward.com – 10/10/18]

The president of a Connecticut synagogue resigned his position on Sunday, one week after his status as a registered sex offender became widely known in his community, bringing a #Metoo-era quandary about repentance and disclosure to a small suburb of Hartford, Connecticut.

In 2008, Jason _________, now 53, went to meet with who he thought was a 13-year-old girl, allegedly to take nude pictures of her. The girl turned out to be law enforcement officers conducting a sting, and he was arrested.

After his arrest, he immediately reached out to his parent’s rabbi, Jeffrey Glickman, of Temple Beth Hillel in South Windsor. Glickman became his ally, and _________ threw himself into a program of atonement. He volunteered in job programs, in soup kitchens and with small businesses seeking mentors. He joined Beth Hillel and became one of the synagogue’s shofar blowers and a constant presence at Shabbat services. Last year the congregation elected him as its president.

But what ________ didn’t do was tell his newfound community about his past.

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I am surprised by this… Here in CA if you want to enter a synagogue and join you have to go to the office to get your driver license scanned and sent through the Raptor and it saves the driver license for record and a notice is sent to the synagogue for when your driver license is flagged has a new sex offender…

All humans have a sexual drive, it is part of life, but here in America, if you dare make a mistake or poor choice based on your sexuality, whether you actually make contact with another individual or not, you will never be forgiven, you will never get a chance to redeem your self or prove your merit. You will never get a second chance. It doesn’t matter what you contribute, how hard you work, or how deep your regret is, you will be marked and scorned for life. Welcome to the land of the free.

“In 2008, Jason Wasserman, now 53, went to meet with who he thought was a 13-year-old girl, allegedly to take nude pictures of her. The girl turned out to be law enforcement officers conducting a sting, and he was arrested.”

OH no! The victim! Wait, who’s the victim? Don’t you need a real victim to claim a crime happened?

It’s disgustingly PATHETIC that instead of solving murders and serious Violent crimes, police are encouraged to spend time pretending to be kids in chat rooms (real kids don’t use damn chat rooms!!) to try to catch a ‘potential abuser’. Isn’t that how they catch ‘supposed terrorists’ too? They lure them with bait and entrap people, pushing them into Fake situations that never would actually happen and then claim, “well look he went along with it! Even though we completely made it up!”. There’s documentaries on this, in case someone wants to look into this.

How screwed up is a country’s Justice System to allow for this Nonsense and waste of taxpayer funds?

As I’ve said before: STOP voting for democrats or Republicans, both of these groups will continue to fund the government at the current abhorrent rates. If they actually had to cut funding, they would FIRST start with cutting out garbage programs like this, of catching ‘virtual criminals’. It ALL starts with the Voters, don’t forget.

Wow! You guys all have some great points. Although, a grown man wanting or actually taking (Rabbi) photos of a 13 year old girl is a little out there! How? Why? How did this come about? We can all rationalize and make it sound harmless, but what else might have occurred if this where legimate? Was this his first time? I do believe everyone deserves a 2nd chance, but how would we feel if this where a Catholic Father? Food for thought.

So, the Jews have ostracised one of their own as a pariah.

Will they make him wear a yellow star so that he’s easily identified as an untouchable while the moving about the community?

Oh, the irony.

If my memory is correct he was a victim of Chris Hansen. It was not a pretty sight, the poor guy was hysterical.

Reading through the comments, I see some questions and confusion that I can clear up. First, the person on the registry was me, the Synagogue President (a volunteer leadership position), not the Rabbi. I committed my offense in 2008. Yes, it was a police sting. No, I wasn’t “a victim of Chris Hansen.” It was a local police sting. I was guilty. I was going through a very stressful time in my life and I hadn’t developed a support system or the tools to manage the stress. It wasn’t about sex and it wasn’t about child abuse. I simply broke down. I thank God that there was never an actual child involved. After my arrest, I immediately sought help. I rebuilt my life. I built the support system I needed, I repaired many relationships and I made many new friends. I became active in the synagogue and was asked to join the board which I did when my Probation ended in 2015. I did a good job and was asked to be president. Many people at the synagogue knew of my past. Over the years, fewer new people knew because we were all moving on with our lives. I don’t like to brag, but I was a phenomenal leader. Our congregation was growing under my leadership (it was shrinking before and is shrinking again now that I’m no longer at the lead). Engagement of members was way up. We were on a path to financial security. Our members were involved in social justice projects. I was negotiating a leasing deal of our building with the local YMCA for a much needed after-school care program. A member (who only came once a year) checks the registry regularly. She started telling anyone who would listen that she had a problem with me. The YMCA pulled out of the deal (even though I wouldn’t have even been in the same town while the program was going on). The politicians went after the Rabbi because he was also on the Town Council and he has known about my past. The media went nuts because the story involved someone on the registry and religion. The fallout has been devastating to the community. I’ve become more involved in advocacy. I used to think that the best way to make change was to live an honorable life and people would see. But, this incident made me realize that I have to do a lot more. I need to speak out and use my story to help others. If a new proposed law had been in effect in Connecticut when I was convicted, I would never have been on a public registry and the community devastation could have been avoided. Instead, I’ve stayed on the public registry. In one year, I come off the registry. But what good does that do? Everybody in my community knows my past. I will continue to do what I can to help others and I will live an honorable life.