One rabbi was accused of sexually harassing a soldier’s wife via text message, while a second one allegedly ignored her complaints and ostracized her family.
The wife in question is Traci Moran, who is married to a soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. She says a Tacoma rabbi harassed her for months, but when she reported the alleged misconduct to a second rabbi, stationed at the base, he didn’t take her seriously.
Jared and Traci Moran contend Capt. Michael Harari and Rabbi Zalman Heber tried to ostracize them from their Jewish community after Traci Moran accused Heber of sending her inappropriate messages last summer.
Heber has denied the sexual harassment, but there are formal investigations looking into the matter.
Traci Moran said the messages were of a sexual nature and that she considered them harassment…
The Army launched two investigations of Harari as a result of the Morans’ accusations. One found he made disparaging comments about gay people that were not in keeping with the character of an Army officer.
The other investigation is ongoing.
What are the chances a guy who made homophobic comments is totally clear in the second case…?
In fact, certain parts of the allegations have already been admitted to. Heber initially denied the texts were sexual in nature, but ultimately admitted that they were.
On Monday, he confirmed they contained sexually explicit content, but Heber said they were taken out of context.
Heber said he confided in Moran because she presented herself as a lay chaplain who could counsel him.“Boy, did I make a mistake,” Heber said. Heber called the messages he sent “poor judgment” and said he should have gone elsewhere for counseling.
Moran denied that she was counseling Heber and that she has the credentials to do so.
And yet Harari hasn’t acted on this in any meaningful way. No wonder Moran eventually reached out to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for help. Founder Mikey Weinstein, who never holds back, let it all out:
… The Army has had eight MONTHS to complete appropriate investigations and take appropriate actions here and they have done neither. The best evidence of this abject failure is that the victims here — Traci Moran and her family — have been told absolutely NOTHING as to what has happened to the perpetrators against them. MRFF demands that the Army authorities at JBLM immediately take all appropriate action to expeditiously investigate and visibly punish all of those, especially Army Chaplain (Capt). Michael Harari, who have contributed to the pernicious malfeasance and misfeasance which has befallen Traci Moran and her family.”
Religious bonds shouldn’t override protecting people from bad actors. An investigation is fine, but the longer they stall, the more it becomes clear that Harari would rather do nothing than implicate a fellow believer.
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