Psychologist on role of parents' surviving Holocaust in aetiology of children's stealing
From the Edmonton Sun, Friday 25 February 2005
Excuses don't cut it
TONY BLAIS, COURT BUREAU
A prominent Jewish spokesman who defrauded an Edmonton non-profit organization says she was depressed because her parents were Holocaust survivors. Shoshana Szlachter, the western regional director of the Edmonton-based Jewish human rights group B'Nai Brith, yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of fraud over $5,000.
Court heard she defrauded the Alberta Underwater Council of nearly $8,000 between Jan. 1, 1999, and Oct. 31, 2002, while she was working as their executive director.
Provincial court Judge David Tilley gave Szlachter, 54, a suspended sentence and placed her on 12 months of probation. If she breaches the probation, she could be jailed.
Defence lawyer Simon Renouf said Szlachter was "under a great deal of emotional and financial pressure" at the time because child-support payments coming from her former husband were reduced because he had a stroke.
Renouf also cited a written report from Szlachter's psychologist in which it says she suffered depression as a result of her parents being survivors of the Holocaust.
That doesn't sit well with Tom Davies, the president of the Alberta Underwater Council, the governing body for underwater sporting activities in Alberta.
"That's pretty hard to eat for me," said Davies yesterday. "That to me is a real cop-out," he said.
"I find it hard to believe that she would blame her crime on being the child of Holocaust survivors."
Davies said the theft caused the volunteer organization a lot of hardship, including making them unable to fund the 2002 underwater hockey world championship in Calgary.
The council has also launched a civil lawsuit against Szlachter, alleging she actually stole closer to $40,000...