New York, NY- After an over two-month long trial, a federal court convicted three Rabbis after they hatched an elaborate scheme to force Jewish husband into granting their wives a get- a religious divorce in the Jewish faith.
Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 69, mastermind of the operation along with Rabbi Jay Goldstein, 60, and Rabbi Binyamin Stimler were convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Goldstein and Stimler were also convicted of kidnapping, CBS New York reported.
All three men are facing life in prison for the charges.
Others conspirators involved in the scheme went on trial last year and most were found guilty.
Epstein and his cohorts devised the scheme to help Jewish women obtain a divorce from their husbands and charged an average of $50,000 for his services.
In the Jewish faith, only a man can initiate a divorce-or a get—so it is their choice whether to end their marriage or not. Many men chose not to grant their wives a get, preventing them from entering new relationships or a marriage out of fear of being ostracized from their community. Men are allowed to move on and re-marry, but women are not unless their husbands sign the paperwork. That is where Epstein and his group came in; for a fee they would use strong arm tactics to force Orthodox husbands into signing divorce papers so their
During his trial last year, one of Epstein’s partners, David Waxman recounted the methods they would use to scare the men into agreeing to divorce. He recalled using cattle prods on one the men they were contracted to persuade. One man was kidnapped in front of is Brooklyn apartment, taken to New Jersey and held captive for several hours. During that time he was tortured, his life was threatened and he was beaten until he agreed to sign the papers and grant his wife a divorce.
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