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Old 02-20-2015, 03:02 PM
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 17,414,562 times
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Rabbi Accused of Kidnapping, Torturing Husbands Into Granting Divorces Goes to Trial - ABC News

The trial of Mendel Epstein, a New Jersey Rabbi and alleged ringleader of a kidnapping scheme designed to force husbands into granting their wives religious divorces, entered its second day in court in Trenton today.

Epstein, 69, was arrested in October 2013 for allegedly charging undercover FBI agents $60,000 to kidnap a man and coerce him into granting his wife a Judaic divorce decree.
During Wednesday’s opening statement, prosecutors played a video of allegedly Epstein discussing a staged kidnapping with two undercover FBI agents, wherein he can be heard openly discussing the use of stun guns on men's genitalia.
Epstein's defense claims he was a "champion of women's rights" and employed "torture as term of art" in order to get a husband's "evil" recalcitrance to "leave his body." According to the strictest interpretation of ancient Jewish law, a religious divorce, referred to as a "get", can only be granted by a husband regardless of the circumstances that may have caused a marriage to break up. Without a "get", a religious Jewish woman cannot remarry or get on with her life and she becomes an ostracized member of the community called an “agunah” or a chained person. Convincing reluctant husbands to grant their wives divorces is a specialty among ultra-Orthodox rabbis.
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