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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 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.

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 Wasserman 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 Wasserman 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…

Every synagogue?

I know the ones I went to in New York was a basic word of mouth (1990s) and the ones in S.California (current time) use the Raptor

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.

@Eric. Don’t forget, politicians write laws so that american citizens can live in their pure image and they have only a beautiful, honest sexual component in their pure souls. Most of them anyway.

@Annonymous…thank you for giving me a smile. I needed it.

Given that from statistics, less than 20% of people committing sex offenses are even arrested, just think about the # of people out there that would be in the club.

Eric. Well said. This country has become the archetype for the “kick ’em when their down” I am “holier than thou” mentality. It is a sad time in America. this will never change if this country continues to play the politics of division. ” I am tough on crime. Vote for me” “all sex offenders deserve the death penalty”. You get the idea. The entire movement was like an erupting volcano. Big news, fast unthought out laws passed, scorn at every level. It will take a very long time for the volcano to cool. I see this fight to correct… Read more »

I have to believe that the pendulum is going to swing the other way. Our numbers are such that everybody knows or is related to one of us and knows what we are going through. Change is coming.

My psychologist is a 92 year old WWII vet and feels the same way. He’s so sad at what has happened to this could try just in the last few years.

“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… Read more »

@Joe123

When you are on desk duty and cannot be on patrol or other doings for whatever reason, e.g. possibly medical or assigned to desk duty, this would make good sense of what you can do to be the best use possible. It is not hard for them to use their home computer skills at their desk and still get paid while “serving and protecting”. Once they have done their computer part, then they can turn it over to those who can be out “serving and protecting”. Make sense?

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.

This man was on the registry so he paid his debt to society. It clearly states how repentant he was and how hard he worked. For many of us the debt paid was horrendous: years in prison, all savings gone, home, car, career, family and friends, name on the internet. and then once that is done the registry lies ahead. Isn’t religion about forgiveness and second chances? Can a human never be given a second chance?

Eric (October 17, 2018 at 9:44 am): I think most people did pay a huge price for whatever bad they did. I have thought for a long time that America would be a much, much better country if all people were forced at 18 years old to serve 2 years in the military, followed by 1 year in prison. I think that would greatly benefit just about everyone. Most people who live in the U.S. are self-righteous, self-entitled, arrogant little shits. The vast majority of them have opinions about everything that they know squat about. The vast majority of them… Read more »

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.

Its very common, especially at the ground floor level.. I want to believe there is some sort of unofficial database within the Jewish organized religion. When I got accused (not prosecuted) the doors of the synagogue was closed to me… Decades later (did my time) and states away the doors remained closed.. this time with advancement of scanning technology, even a simple excuse of not having a driver license for them to scan , they can ban you… Its exactly like a private club.. While sex abuses are rampant within closed religion cultures, the powerful can almost get away with… Read more »

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… Read more »

Sorry to hear about your troubles.

But you should be ashamed that you tried to be a normal person and contribute to society. Lesson learned, I hope.

At least everyone is safer now.

If I were you I would not “continue to do what I can to help others”. There is no need to take a risk that you might help anyone who supports Registries. Those people promote harming you, your family, and your friends. I seek out good people instead and help them. It is pretty easy to find out if people support Registries or not and act accordingly.

Thanks Will. I understand where you’re coming from, but when I turned the corner and addressed my issues, I decided to live a life true to my values. That doesn’t mean I’d go out of my way to lend a hand to someone who is actively advocating for maintaining registries. If that was the case, I would see my way of helping as educating them and others on the facts vs. the myths and not remaining silent. And also, I’d stand up and share the story of what I went through…beginning to end. If they still want to harm me,… Read more »

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