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FBI Arrests Rabbis In Alleged Plot To Kidnap And Torture Husbands Who Won't Grant Divorce

 
FBI Arrests Rabbis In Alleged Plot To Kidnap And Torture Husbands Who Won't Grant Divorce
Posted Thursday, October 10th 2013 @ 2pm

(John Del Signore) The FBI arrested four men—two described as rabbis—who allegedly ran a kidnapping and extortion ring that helped ultra-Orthodox Jewish women get divorced. Jewish tradition requires a woman to obtain a ritual divorce, or "get," from her husband before she can remarry in the faith. This can sometimes prove difficult, which is why Rabbi Mendel Epstein and his associates—Rabbi Martin Wolmark, Ariel Potash, and a defendent named "Yaakov"—allegedly offered to kidnap recalcitrant husbands and torture them with cattle prods until they gave up the get.

According to the criminal complaint, undercover FBI agents posing as wives desperate for a divorce conducted numerous incriminating telephone conversations with Epstein and Wolmark. (A woman whose husband will not consent is known as an agunah.) During one conversation, Wolmark assured an undercover agent that Epstein could get a husband to agree to a get if he could be lured to New York, where Epstein and henchmen would "harass or nail" the husband. A warehouse in New Jersey was ultimately selected for the potential kidnapping.

Read More: Gothamist

Photo: carl ballou/Shutterstock

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