Best-selling author Chaim Walder is accused of sexually violating three women when they were underage. The women told Haaretz newspaper that Walder took advantage of his professional status and reputation as a child advocate. The women, who choose to keep their names secret, said Walder had sexual relations with them when they were between 12 and 15.
One of his alleged victims told Haaretz that when she was 12, Walder showed her romantic praise. “He was very smart and manipulative,” Talia (not her real name) told the newspaper, which operates out of Israel. “He did it very slowly so as not to stress me out.” The woman said Walder inquired regularly if she had received her monthly period. And when she did at age 13, the sexual relationship began. “I would study for tests in my head, wait for it to end, and go home. I was like a corpse. I remember his smell, his belt, but it was a technical process, and the feeling was completely disconnected. The disconnect accompanied me for years.”
According to her, Walder raped her at a bookshop he owned until she reached the age of 16, when she finally dared to flee the situation for good. “He said it was my word against his word, and that if we weighed them both up, it was clear which of us would be believed,” she said. A woman who called herself Moriah also told Haaretz that Walder basically took advantage of her ongoing sexually by convincing her and using the skills of manipulation to entice her into his alleged criminal acts.
Friends of another woman named Dina told Haaretz that Walder raped her over a decade ago. However, unlike the others, she went to local police who said they did not have enough evidence to press forward. Friends of Dina said she was introduced to Walder when she came to him for therapeutic help. “One day, she came to him for treatment, and they went down to his bookstore, where he touched her against her will,” a friend of Dina said. “Her boundaries were not clear, and he took advantage of this.”
According to the staff at Haaretz, Dina’s friend claimed Walder approved his behavior by saying, “use of contraception provides a ‘buffer’ according to Jewish law, and therefore it did not count as cheating on his wife.”
Walder has earned numerous accolades for his work with children. In 2003, he received the Prime Minister’s “Child Protector“ award for his “sincere concern, dedication, and belief in the ability to improve the situation of children in the community.”
He has been a prolific author with over 50 books, which earned him the image of “revolutionized ultra-orthodox literature for children.” In addition, he oversees the Center for Child and Family operated by the Bnei Brak municipality.
As is standard with many high-profile individuals facing allegations of wrongdoing, Walder’s attorneys Miki Hova and Guy Shemer said the claims against their client are false. As is standard with many high-profile individuals facing allegations of wrongdoing, Walder’s attorneys Miki Hova and Guy Shemer, said that the claims against their client are false.
“Mr. Walder is a writer and educational consultant who founded the Child and Family Center in Bnei Brak and has been devoting his life for decades and works to promote, nurture and protect the welfare of children and their rights in general and the ultra-Orthodox sector in particular,” his lawyers said in a statement.
They added, “Over the years, Mr. Walder has waged struggles for the benefit of children who have suffered violence and abuse, and as a result, certain elements have given themselves the goal of harming him, and there is evidence of some foolish attempts to incriminate our client,” they stated. Mr. Walder is an ultra-Orthodox man, and he has never touched minors or women in this way…Our client is determined that he not be harmed by this in the slightest and will fight for his good name with all the legal means at his disposal.”