Orthodox Jewish rape survivor buried by community that shunned him

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MONSEY, N.Y. (PIX11) -- The marker on the freshly-dug grave in the Monsey Cemetery had the name “Joel Deutsch” in Hebrew, the name 34-year old Joe Diangello was given at birth in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Diangello had walked away from the Satmar Hasidic community -- and his name -- at age 17, ten years after suffering what he said was a brutal sexual assault in a mikvah bath on Marcy Avenue.

“I think when that person raped me, he murdered my Jewish soul,” Diangello told PIX11 Investigates in early 2009, when he finally started going public with his story.

Diangello was buried Sunday by members of the Hasidic community, not long after he was discovered dead in his Manhattan apartment by a social worker.

His close friends who became his true support system in recent years, after Diangello’s family rejected his new lifestyle, said he would not have wanted a Monsey funeral.

Diangello certainly stood out in a crowd, with his dyed, jet-black hair, black fingernails, and heavy metal t-shirts.

The cause of death was listed as a drug overdose, but many friends insisted to PIX11 it must have been accidental, since Diangello had been taking a more positive outlook on life.

He was running marathons, working as a medical biller from his apartment, and enjoying Yankee games.

Still, his life was one filled with pain.

"Joe was a troubled young man,” said Lonnie Soury, a co-founder of Survivors for Justice. “But he struggled with tremendous courage.”

Soury added, “He was rejected by the Hasidic community, because he stood up…because he talked about his sexual abuse.”

Soury pointed out that Diangello would “really go after and expose the rabbis that protected abusers for the last thirty, forty years. He’s a real hero.”

Diangello lobbied state legislators in Albany to change the “statute of limitations” for abuse survivors, so they could have more time to confront the reality of what had happened to them.

He attended the trials of accused abusers and rapists within the Hasidic community, watching a former counselor named Nechemya Weberman get sentenced to 103 years in prison, convicted of raping a female student when she was just 12 years old.

Diangello paid a price for leaving the community, often getting hissed at on the streets of Williamsburg, if he was seen anywhere near his old neighborhood.

His story was one of intense trauma.

Diangello had taken PIX11 to the shul on Marcy Avenue in 2009, explaining that he used to go to the mikvah with his father, starting when he was 7 years old.

“It’s supposed to cleanse your soul,” Diangello explained to me about the mikvah bath.

Instead, when Diangello entered the bath before his father, he said that’s when the assault happened.

“I just felt this unbelievable pain,” Diangello recalled. “I fell under water.”

Diangello added, “It felt like my whole spine crumbled.”

The young man struggled with mental health issues and spent time in the Bellevue psychiatric ward.

Diangello was proud of himself, when he started to pursue healthy outlets, like running.

Joey Diangello became my friend and was wonderful about texting, just to say hello.

I invited him to a Mother’s Day dinner this year with my family in a Brooklyn restaurant, and he happily shared a meal with us.

We were glad to be with him, enjoying his mischievous sense of humor and his amazing blue eyes. But I knew that Joey still carried his pain around.
He made a remark about taking Xanax, an anti-anxiety medicine.

The last time I heard from Joey was a text he sent on September 17.

He wanted to let me know that his childhood friend, Joel Engelman—another abuse survivor—had married. I knew he was happy for Joel.

When I asked him if he attended the wedding, he responded in typical, Joey Diangello style,  “I didn’t. I have a no wedding or funerals thing. Especially on an NFL Sunday. But I saw the video.”

Rest in peace, Joey Diangello. You traveled this world with a brave soul—and left us better for it.



    • DIlva

      uptil I looked at the receipt which had said $7187 , I didn’t believe …that…my friend was like they say actualie earning money in their spare time at their laptop. . there moms best frend had bean doing this for only about twenty three months and as of now cleared the loans on their mini mansion and bourt a gorgeous Porsche 911 . view ..▒░░fox92.ς●m░░▒

  • Circatic

    I would like to clarify something here and I hope readers can accept it with open minds and hearts.
    I knew Joel/Yoilish well – very well. He was a broken, confused, tormented soul from his baby years. I don’t want to go into the painful details of his early years, his toddler years, his little boy years, prior to age 7 when he was supposedly raped in the local ritual bath. He was problematic, psychopathic and a social misfit from day one. Unfortunately, his sick mind was never able to differentiate between truth and lies, between reality and fantasy. Hence, his concocted stories of molestation. When confronted by a sibling years ago, he admitted that he lied about the rape allegations and responded, ‘Well, if it didn’t happen to me, it happened to somebody else.’ He jumped the molestation bandwagon in order to be perceived as a person with a cause and perhaps to be seen in some sort of positive light, whereas otherwise there was unfortunately nothing positive about his life and nothing for him to associate himself with where he would be perceived as a ‘mentsch’.
    While I strongly condemn all forms of molestation within any and all communities, and all coverups of these heinous crimes, Joel Deutsch was never a victim of such. He was a victim of his own mind and of his resistance to appropriate psychological and psychiatric interventions during his younger years.
    May he rest in peace, finally.

    • Gabz (@Gabay)

      Wow, to write like that about someone who is deceased, bring to light how sick you Satmars are… Sick people. These These kinds of people deserve to have their genitals mutilated!

      • Circatic

        I am neither Satmar nor hassidic. Just goes to show that when you have an agenda you will continuously spew your garbage at every possible opportunity.

      • a survivor of abuse in Flatbush

        Completely agree! Love how everyone who has the courage to stand up to the animals that abuse them ssuddenly have a long and detailed history of mental illness, specifically in satmar or any other orthodox community. I find it so sad that these people are so set on being “pure” that anytime someone reveals the abuse they are immediately shunned with their families suffering as well.

      • Circatic

        When and where was I to say it when he was alive? You can be sure that I tried to help him during his lifetime but unfortunately he did not know how to accept and acknowledge kindness; it was all part of his troubled personality. Please refrain from vicious attacks – you are all anonymous bloggers responding to an article that tugged at your heartstrings. I am a person who was very very closely involved in Joe’s life. I speak from knowledge and personal experiences; you write from ignorance and anger.

      • Adina

        No offense there buddy, im not sure exactly what ur trying to do. Either to mske yourself look good or your just a moran. It doesn’t matter any more. The fact is, his gone . So instead of saying all these unnecessary things, yiu should say nice think. I, personally think, you are an a**hole!

    • A friend of Joey

      You are truly despicable. Joe had plenty of good things going on in his life and did so much good for other people. More than he ever made public and more than anyone I know. I won’t list them here, because frankly, i shouldn’t even dignifying your comment with a reply. If Joe were here, he’s tell me to not even waste my time. But he’s not here, so I’m doing it. Go crawl back into your hole. May no child of yours or your wife ever be raped. I fear how they would end up, and I’m guessing with a more miserable life than Joe had, since you are involved.

    • Been There

      Circatic, I strongly condemn your words. Someone, like him, who fought with such passion against abuse, can only be a victim of abuse. He was a psychopath before he was 7?? And after being raped at such a young age is it even possible not to be a misfit?? He is dead 6 feet under.
      How can you be neither satmar nor hasidic and still know so much about his life before he was 7-when all Joeyknew then was only about satmar and hasidim?
      You ask for the readers to have an open mind when yours is voluntarily closed and not willing to realize the horrific effects abuse has.
      Joey may be 6 feet under, but you are no less dead then him with your head buried under the ground.
      Ultimately the day will come when we will merit to see the “Keil Nekamos Hashem”, and your agenda will be clearly exposed.

    • liss

      Its easy to assert your opinions when a man is dead, isn’t it. God have mercy on you. He was in pain. Leave him be.

      • Circatic

        It is not easy at all; it is gut-wrenching for me. I knew Joel very very closely. This is just about putting an end to the big lie. May he rest in peace.

    • Joe Knop

      Thanks for clearing things up so nicely. Just met yesterday 2 classmates and an employer of his, all concur he was a mental case, looking to trash the community ALL his life!



      • Circatic

        So your great rav, after all, is not so great, because he doesn’t know what he is talking. I am very close to Joels’ family and have known him since his birth. I know his psychiatric diagnoses and I know about his confessions that he was never molested. I know about his heroin use, which alters the human mind and one stops recognizing reality from fantasy. I know way more than your average blogger here who wishes Joel was molested so they can continue to spew hate at people whose paths they never crossed, but who they conveniently have decided to trash. Get out of your garbage can and start living.

    • georgefinnegan

      Or, he was molested before you ever laid eyes on him and he was responding to that. Or, child rapists like to single out kids like him because no one in their community will believe them when they try to complain about being raped. And people like you make that possible and easy for the pedophiles. Unless you were with him every moment of his life, you have no credence.

    • georgefinnegan

      You apparently think that a second hand knowledge of some ‘admission’ that he wasn’t raped, as said to a relative, is important. Sexual assault victims often change their stories so that they can avoid the effects of trauma. Did this relative confront him? What are the circumstances being this ‘admission’? I have a feeling from the responses here of people who think they knew him that no one wanted to believe him, so I find it hard to believe that anyone – even someone in his family – would have been supportive. You, and others, claim to know things you cannot know. That is simply not wise.

  • yoisef

    thanks circatic for the logical words , i didn read the whole article but half .and read about the person raping a 12 year girl .now i wasnt involved to much in that case .but i did pick up a bit here and there . and i heard he was accused and charged for touching the girl which he denied , but she never mentioned the word rape or sex she said he treated me like a toy .playd with me like a toy .never said had intercourse or raped, correct me if i am wrong thanks,

    • Alexandra

      You’re not wrong, Yoisef. That girl never claimed she was raped. This article is filled with inaccuracies, including but not limited to the ones that Circatic mentions. Anyone who knew Yoel/Joe’s situation when he was alive knows that his parents never rejected him and that his ever-changing molestation stories were bogus. Yoel/Joe had a painful life, but certainly, there were moments of joy. He was not a bad person.

      • yoisef

        thanks alexsandre . i didnt know this man since i grew up in monsey so have no say never before heard this names before just gaetting local news from google and this totaly nasty article pops up bringing along all the nasty individuals that i keep away when i see them at the farthest street light visible without a binoculers

      • georgefinnegan

        Let me instruct you so you won’t be so ignorant. My mother was a pedophile. She knew hundreds of people and they all loved her. I knew quite a few people, and they would have said they knew me. And every one of them would have denied that she would have done such a thing and everyone of them would have been so surprised to know that I was sexually abused. But, none of them were present when she molested me. You see, pedophiles don’t invite people over when they want to molest a child. As I have said, unless you were present every moment of his life, you aren’t in a position to speak with so much authority about what happened to him. That’s just the way it is in the real world. A wise person would see that. Your pretending to know is human, but, when you have experience in this sort of issue, you find that people never really know what they think they know.

      • Circatic

        Everything you write makes a lot of sense, but you are missing one very important point, which you seem to conveniently forget, even though it was mentioned several times in posts. Joel ADMITTED that he was never molested.

    • beenthere79

      You provided the first smile since I started reading this post. I am Jewish and religious. I grew up in Monsey, I can speak Yiddish with the best of them. As you jumped to conclusions about my post, to me it sounds like you have a one sided agenda. It is a shame that you and Yoisef feel the need to make him into a psyco, and this eliminate the real truth that there are so many victims that leave our community due to the pain of being molested by religious looking people and end their lives as a result of the horrific PTSD that molestation brings.
      Now that he is not alive anymore, your comments about him are irrelevant, only God knows the truth. Butfor the many other victims similar to him who read your post of invalidation-you bear a big responsibility for the hopelessness and G-d forbid dire results that can ensue.
      You mention the ‘anonymous posts’ that are anger filled and not open minded. If you are so certain that you are correct, why are you still anonymous? Come out, be a man, say your name. Mr. Deutsch can’t do anything to you anymore. What are you hiding?

      • Circatic

        I speak from first hand knowledge; you speak from speculation. I KNOW Joel wasn’t molested; you wish he was, so that you can continue the fight and ugly talk.

      • yoisef

        looks like sombody is sensoring this site or the whole american or international web since my comment was never put up it didnt have any dirty language in it

  • open minded

    Just do a Google News search on Joe Diangello, his molestation accusations are very inconsistent, in each interview he provided different dates and ages of when the molestation occurred.

    When the Weberman case was in the headlines he decided that Nechamia Weberman was the one who molested him and he went down to the court house to confront him, later he revised his version that Nechamia did not molest him but that when he was sitting on Nechamia Weberman’s lap he felt an erection…
    Gimmie a break…

  • beenthere79

    Circatic, there is absolutely no way you can KNOW, at best you can have strong beliefs. I have no intentions to continue dirty talk, I hurt for the so many victims out there who get crushed by your invalidation.

    • beenthere79

      Circatic, Now that he is no longer alive, who exactly do you need to ‘protect’ and ‘prove’ as innocent. He never even mentioned the name of the person who raped him. Why is it so important to you maintain your position that he is a liar?

    • Circatic

      I am absolutely not invalidating true victims. They know who they are and my heart goes out to them and they have all my compassion; I am on their side in the ‘fight’. It’s the phonies who need to be exposed so that ‘molestation’ stops being the battle cry for every bum out there who has chosen to make a mess of his/her life and then goes around pointing fingers at the whole world.

  • alakhtal

    Rest in Peace, Joey Diangello. The Rabbi who raped you in Mikvah Bath before your coward father didn’t rape you soul but he raped his own parents and kids. You’re too bigger phallus for Israelis to handle.

  • SoberYocheved

    Baruch Dayan Ha’emet. May his memory be a blessing.
    This is a shanda on his community. First being sexually victimized and then being shunned. We can’t bring him back but others can speak up and put these monsters behind bars. A true tragedy. Sexual Abuse kills. And yes, it happens to Jews. I am repulsed and mortified. I expect this from Satmar.

    • Circatic

      Yocheved, you don’t seem to be sober at all. For you to spew such hate, with such conviction, when you have no clue as to the facts of this person’s life can only be from the influence of alcohol or evil inclination. You can try as much as you want to come across like you are crying for a victim, but you really don’t care about Joel, you care about your agenda of hate. You can remove your veil and lift the smokescreen.

  • johndt41

    Too often I hear examples of how parents do not support their abused child in life nor do they support their wishes in death. This is the final and greatest betrayal. These parents did not deserve their son.

  • anonymom

    these comments are almost all a shanda, people, this is not about YOU, or what YOU knew/know, or what YOU have suffered. it’s not even about the facts or the truth. the truth will not bring back a dead man or erase the pain he suffered. this is about a yid among yidden who died, in pain, alone, perhaps sick. that is ALL. stop the petty arguing and do a chesed or some learning in his merit that his neshama should have an aliyah.

    • Joe Knop

      But have to add that i heard from an employer of his (that kept him in the work force only for chesed) that he confessed that NOBODY EVER molested him.


    On youtube look up ‘NYC leader of all crazy people’ is this joe, i dont mean anything disrespectful by it, he looks identical to him, i coincidentally stumbled upon the video weeks ago and as i was web surfing today and just so happened to see his picture, my reaction was ‘is that that guy’! RIP JOEY-D

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