Since the claims against Gafni and what really happened have already been written about, this article we will simply show how Levine used her false ‘facts’ to lead the reader to believe that a 30 or 40 or 50 year old Marc Gafni confessed to having sex with a 14 year old girl and then vulgarly justified it by saying, “She was 14 going on 35 and I never forced her.”
False Fact One: “Marc Gafni, a spiritual leader is “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a 14 year-old girl.” Note: Gafni’s age isn’t given, which makes it easy for a reader to assume that he was an adult spiritual teacher at the time of the relationship.
False Fact Two: “Gafni confesses to having sex with a 14 year old girl.” He never confessed, because the supposed sexual encounter never took place.
False Fact Three: “Gafni justifies having sex with a 14 year old girl by saying “she was 14 going on 35 and I never forced her.’”
False Fact Four: Levine cites ‘experts’ who say that Marc confessed to having sex with the girl”. The implication here is that there are now informed experts validating the first three false facts. The ‘experts’ however, have no information other than what Levine told them, and have done no investigation of the situation. In truth, they are simply people who have been designated ‘experts’ by a blogger who has apparently fed them false facts and printed the false conclusions that they drew from these false facts.
False Fact Five: The bloggers, and Levine, constantly create a malicious false equivalency between Gafni’s single teenage necking relationship, and the abuse of young children by Catholic priests as told in the movie Spotlight, the Jerry Sandusky child abuse story, campus rape and the Bill Cosby story.
False Fact Six: Disturbing images of crying girls, no older than five or six years old, are used as illustrations in the blog posts, implying that Gafni is having sex with little girls.
Levine uses these precisely layered false ‘facts’, highly emotional terms (like ‘sexual predator’) and manipulative images to publicly bully Gafni’s associate into denouncing him. The consequence of not meeting the demands? A public shaming and call to boycott Mackey’s organization.
She deploys the well-known “smear or be smeared” tactic made famous by the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1950s, and particularly its modern incarnation, internet abuse and bullying. As has already been pointed out extensively in other articles (Fuhs, Engles1, Engles2, Molinard, Tuschik) however, none of the layered lies are true. Let us however briefly recapitulate the facts here:
- Gafni never had sex with a 13 or 14 year old girl or any other under-aged person.
- Gafni never confessed to having sex with a 13 or 14 year old girl.
- At the time of the story in question, Gafni was right out of high school. Gafni met the girl (Sara Kabakov) when he was just out of high school, a 19 year old boy, and she was in high school, a 14 year old girl. They are now both adults in their 50’s.
- The sum total of their contact was mutual teenage necking, which was declared by both parties at the time to have been a positive experience and an expression of love.
- At the time of these events (1979–80) the age difference between them was not considered as problematic as it would be today, and Gafni maintains that he was not aware that it was an issue. He has repeatedly expressed regret for any mistakes he made in a relationship that he considered to have been loving and romantic for both parties.
- At the time of the relationship Sara gave no indication whatsoever that her experience of the relationship was anything other then positive.
- Gafni had no idea that Sara was seeing their relationship differently than what she had expressed as a as their mutually positive experience. He first heard of it when he read her words on the Internet, 25 years after their short relationship was over.
- Gafni was neither a spiritual teacher or rabbi or rabbinical student at the time, all of which have falsely been claimed by either Kabakov or her advocates.
- Kabakov has significantly contradicted herself in different versions of the story over the years.
- Gafni’s version of the events (both of the nature of the contact, and the positive quality of the relationship — including a love letter written to Gafni by Kabakov after the relationship was over) has been validated by extensive polygraph testing. The polygraph expert, was director of polygraph research for the US Department of Defense, one of the leaders in the world in the field, concluded that there was .001% chance that Gafni was not telling the truth about the extent or nature of their relationship.
- The veracity of polygraph is directly correlated to the expertise of the person administering the test. For this reason Gafni went to the best person available in the United States for an extensive polygraph.
- There is ample evidence that Kabakov has been closely associated, for many decades with a group of people who have gone out of their way to damage Gafni and his work. Kabakov has also been associated with a discredited ‘therapist,’ known to encourage false memories.
At one point, Levine had 16 articles posted on her LinkedIn profile. All but one used her ‘campaign’ Gafni as evidence of her ostensibly valiant stand against sexual abuse. She has recently taken some of those articles down, but continues hiding her association with the smear campaign against Gafni (she began posting her anti-Gafni articles at the exact same time that the smear campaign began) behind the veneer of victim advocacy.
She continues to enroll others — many of them sexual victim advocates who we assume are doing important work in other contexts — into supporting her. She does this by continually presenting the same false facts, and refusing to mention or take into account the refutations that Gafni and others have made available.
Inevitably, the false facts that Levine has propagated have become internet staples, and even viral memes.