|David Zimmer, courtesy NYPD|
And get a load of this: David's younger brother, 37-year-old Myer Zimmer, has also been arrested -- for allegedly destroying evidence that may have implicated his brother. Myer was arrested on January 13th after he allegedly trashed clothing that police believe was evidential; he faces charges of Tampering with Physical Evidence and Hindering Prosecution. This is the same brother who described David as a "very kind, sweet person".
David Zimmer, a neighborhood locksmith, was required to register as a Level 2 sex offender after he was arrested and subsequently convicted in March 1999 of First Degree Sexual Abuse of a 10-year-old girl; he was sentenced to five years probation. However, Zimmer's father, who has the stereotypical name of Izzy Zimmer, blew off that prior conviction, claiming that his son had been entrapped by a 10-year-old “prostitute”. This represents classical Talmudic thinking; namely, the notion that a girl who gets a Jew into trouble is somehow of easy virtue.
Brooklyn's Jewish community was recently rocked by a pedophile sex scandal. Andrew Goodman is one of 85 accused Orthodox child molesters that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office says it has busted in the past three years in an initiative called Kol Tzedek, Hebrew for “voice of justice”. The cases involve 117 victims, a number that has the community reeling from the extent of the horrors of pedophilia. Complicating the issue is the fact that Agudath Israel of America, a prominent body of Torah sages, requires anyone alleging sex abuse by a fellow observant Jew to first report to its rabbis, who decide whether the case should go to secular authorities.
One other problem is that the Talmud, one of the two primary theological references for Judaism, conveys an ambiguous attitude towards pedophilia. Consider the following recorded in Sanhedrin 55b:
R. Joseph said: Come and hear! A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by coition, and if her deceased husband's brother cohabits with her, she becomes his...
I think we all know what "coition" is. Of course, rabbis engage in what is called "halachic discussion" in the Talmud, but the mere fact that a rabbi could even consider "acquiring a three-year-old by coition" is a bit disconcerting.
Of course, most Jewish theologians insist that it is only the Torah which is scriptural, and not the Talmud. However, noted Jewish author Herman Wouk once said "The Talmud is to this day the circulating heart's blood of the Jewish religion. Whatever laws, customs, or ceremonies we observe, whether we are Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed or merely spasmodic sentimentalists, we follow the Talmud. It is our Common Law!"
Police believe David Zimmer may have approached other kids. They asked anyone who knows of children that may have been in contact with Zimmer to call the NYPD confidential CrimesStoppers tipline at 1-(800)-577-TIPS.