Rabbi Seeks To Bar Blogger from Court

YouTube/Larry Dressler Hartford — Defense attorneys for Rabbi Daniel Greer tried to prohibit a blogger who has intensely chronicled Greer’s sexual abuse case from entering a courtroom here —  by misrepresenting a legal document.

William Ward, a Litchfield attorney, told a judge here that the rabbi’s legal team had obtained a restraining order against Lawrence S. Dressler, the author of at least 185 online posts about Greer.

In fact, the lawyers had only recently turned in their application for a protective order; a hearing on the matter was still 11 days away.

“Next time, read it more carefully,” Michael P. Shea, the presiding U.S. District Court judge, admonished Ward, shaking his head in noticeable frustration.

That scene took place last week during a civil trial involving allegations that Rabbi Greer for years molested teenage boys at the yeshiva he runs in New Haven’s Edgewood neighborhood. (Click here to read more about the trial.)

Dressler later told the Independent he felt “really shocked” that the attorneys had “risk[ed] looking like sleazebags” by misstating what was in the document. Ward declined to comment.

The animosity that spilled into open court last week would have been unthinkable two years ago, when Dressler was a familiar face in Greer’s synagogue —  a sign of how accusations that the rabbi molested teenage boys has fractured New Haven’s Orthodox Jewish community.

Dressler attended services at the Yeshiva of New Haven for many years. His son even enrolled in classes there for a single year. Back then, Greer harped on the importance of traditional values — “kind of like somebody from the Dark Ages,” Dressler said. The Greers crusaded against gay rights in Connecticut, exposed johns who patronized street prostitutes on Whalley Avenue and filed a lawsuit against Yale University for requiring students to live in co-ed dorms. Their message — “Society has broken down; there’s no morality,” as Dressler remembered it — resonated with his congregants, who became almost “cultish,” the blogger added.

After allegations of child abuse came to light, the rabbi’s alleged hypocrisy consumed Dressler. Greer “is raising children there, trying to protect them from the evils of the world. And yet, here he is, the most depraved person,” he explained of his fascination with the case.

On the blog, Dressler goes by the pen name “Larry Noodles” — his nickname at Otisville Federal Prison, where he served 20 months for mortgage fraud. In prison, Dressler began blogging about his experiences there (in this Independent series).

After his release from the penitentiary in November 2015, Dressler created his own blog, which has largely focused this year on Rabbi Greer.  On his blog, Dressler has referred to the rabbi as “the Goat,” a “monster” and a “pedophile.”

Shortly after his release from the penitentiary, Dressler distanced himself from the congregation and its tumult.

In July 2016, a few months after he had stopped attending services and started blogging, Greer filed a defamation suit, in which he complained that Dressler falsely accused him of paying millions in “hush money” to victims. (Greer didn’t dispute the published accusations of child abuse, only those of an alleged coverup.)

Two months later, when Dressler reappeared at the synagogue, the 75-year-old rabbi allegedly attacked him. “Daniel Greer appeared suddenly, and without warning, and while screaming unintelligibly, maniacally attacked [Dressler], violently pushed, shoved and kicked [him] and raised his clenched fist to [his] head, in an uncontrolled fit of anger,” a countersuit, filed this March, claims.

One day before the civil trial began last week, Greer applied for a restraining order, requesting that Dressler stay 100 yards away from him and the courthouse. In an affidavit, he claimed Dressler had been stalking him.

“Mr. Dressler has followed and lied in wait for me outside my home, my office, my grocery store, my neighborhood and my synagogue on several occasions,” the application states.

Two days later, Dressler stood outside the courthouse with a video camera, waiting for close to an hour for the rabbi to emerge. When Greer and his wife appeared, Dressler ambushed them, peppering the rabbi with questions while the rabbi walked silently on: “Are the police investigating you for raping children? Do you have any comment? Is that why you’re taking the Fifth Amendment? Why don’t you deny these charges?” (See the video above.)

That night, a process server notified Dressler of the application for a protective order.

In an interview, Dressler denied he had ever stalked Greer. “Unless showing up at the courthouse counts as stalking somebody,” he said.

Dressler said he lives near the neighborhood Greer revived in the 1980s by renovating derelict homes, so he occasionally bumps into the rabbi by chance. “I run into a lot of rabbis,” he added.

Yet over the weekend, after posting two more blog entries about how Greer refused to answer questions by invoking his right against self-incrimination, Dressler told the Independent he had reconsidered his answer. In an email Sunday evening, he wrote, “I plead the Fifth Amendment!”

Previous coverage of this case:

Suit: Rabbi Molested, Raped Students
Greer’s Housing Corporations Added To Sex Abuse Lawsuit
2nd Ex-Student Accuses Rabbi Of Sex Assault
2nd Rabbi Accuser Details Alleged Abuse
Rabbi Sexual Abuse Jury Picked
On Stand, Greer Invokes 5th On Sex Abuse

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posted by: Anderson Scooper on May 15, 2017  12:50pm

And the State of CT is still send hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to Greer’s enterprise?

posted by: Bill Saunders on May 15, 2017  9:34pm

I know that Noodles has a personal ‘angle’ on this having ‘broke’ this on his ‘blog’.

Given that this is a ‘tar-baby’ of a ‘story’ that no one wants to publicly touch,
Larry Noodles is out there doing just that.

I think the former Atty Dressler is acting out because he lost his law license, and is looking to develop some public ‘cred’ as a righteous crusader… the serialized prison series in this paper, while he was serving time in a ‘mortgage scheme’ was the first salvo in this reputation rebuilding. 

Personally, I found that was kind of gross.

Larry—You might be better served by letting the legal process run its course, unless you are called as a witness.  Don’t build your ‘good’ reputation on the backs of others people’s ‘bad’ ones. 

It is a hollow ploy that lacks all credibility, .

ps.

I don’t know what to make of the attention this paper wants give you, except that,
in your defense, Paul has told me that you are a ‘good’ guy…

posted by: Bill Saunders on May 15, 2017  10:37pm

If Noodles is trying to re-build a ‘good name’ for himself,
doing it on the back of somebody else’s ‘bad behavior’ is poor form at best.

posted by: EPDP on May 15, 2017  10:54pm

Bill-
I am very sorry that I am not the noodles you want me to be. I will try harder.
-Larry Noodles

posted by: concerned_neighbor on May 16, 2017  9:20am

While I may not agree what Dressler has done in the past, he served his time, paid his proverbial debt to society and is moving on with his life. We have abolished the bill of attainer and the corruption of blood. Dressler is free to exercise his rights. Dressler’s reporting on Greer may not be the polished prose of the NYT, but it _is_ reporting, something this story did not receive for many years.

posted by: jerry seinfeld on May 17, 2017  1:54pm

Figuring out how to talk about rape and sexual assault is one of the biggest challenges a journalist can face. The lack of proof that accompanies the crime is only one difficulty of covering an issue that is intimate, intense, and emotional for victims. The shame and stigma they feel can make it difficult for reporters to build trust with sources, to properly report on the severity of crimes without being gratuitous, and even to choose the very words they use to avoid injecting bias into the story.

“This is one of the most pervasive forms of violence in our society, and yet it is one that has been historically silenced and carries the greatest stigma for victims,” says Bruce Shapiro, executive director of Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. “As reporters, we are confronted not only with the suffering of the survivor, but also our own prejudices and preconceptions, fears, past experiences, and ethical conflicts.”

According to law enforcement statistics, few people lie about having been raped. It takes a lot of courage for someone to come forward and tell her story, knowing how much scrutiny they will face.

By examining how rape and sexual assault are handled by institutions, police, and the courts, journalists can shed light on processes that ordinarily operate out of sight of average citizens—yet can have tremendous impact on justice for women and men who have been subjected to sexual violations.

Journalists (and even the larry noodels) have a role to play in helping the public understand the complexity of sex assault cases. Their examination of cases, in turn, can inform debate over how to create a system that is fair for all involved.