Rabbis arrested over plan to 'torture' husbands into divorce
Men planned to use cattle prods to convince Hasidic men to grant divorce, for a $100,000 fee
TWO Rabbis planned to charge up to $100,000 to torture Jewish husbands with an electric cattle prod until they gave their wives a divorce, it has been alleged.
Mendel Epstein, 68 (above), and Martin Wolmark, 55, were the alleged ringleaders of a group of ten people arrested in New Jersey in relation to the "barbarous scheme", the New York Daily News reports. Rabbi Epstein allegedly ordered electric cattle prods, handcuffs and plastic bags to put over recalcitrant husbands' heads.
The scheme was viable, says CBS News, because it is "almost impossible" for Hasidic women to get a divorce. The husband must agree, and provide his wife with a document known as a get.
Sensing an opportunity, Epstein and Wolmark began planning their torture service. But they were unaware that the FBI was investigating their activities and eavesdropping on their phone conversations.
"Basically what we are going to be doing is kidnapping a guy for a couple [of] hours and beating him up and torturing him and getting him to give the get," Epstein allegedly said in a taped conversation. "We take an electric cattle prod... You put it in certain parts of his body and in one minute the guy will know."
The FBI swooped after one of its officers posing as an Orthodox Jewish woman told Epstein and Wolmark her husband wouldn't give her a divorce. The rabbis and their accomplices were arrested as they awaited the fictional husband's arrival in New Jersey.
The FBI says the men were carrying "ropes, scalpels and feather quills and ink bottles used for recording the get they anticipated," the New York Times reports.
Epstein, Wolmark and other members of what the FBI calls the "kidnap team" appeared in a court in Trenton, New Jersey yesterday. They are charged with kidnapping and face life in prison if they are convicted.
The case continues. ·