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Child Abusing Freak Dodges San Jose Mob
Authorities abort justice for mentally deranged man posing as lady school teacher.
Daily True American (later called Weekly True American) was a broadsheet published out of Trenton, NJ from 1848 to 1912. This substack has revived the newspaper name with a “Truth or Consequences” bimonthly series of stories lifted from what is largely ignored by today’s media and sifted through a socio-cultural and vernacular filter of late 19th century America. This is the third and final free installment in the series. Read #1 “Hanging Hotez” here and #2 “Sordid Saga of Opium In White House” here. Join the flock to continue the series in the future.
Daily True American
February 19, 1889
Correspondent James T. McBride
The once-quiet town of San Jose finds itself ensnared in a turbulent controversy involving a school teacher recently unveiled as Mr. Joseph Rabinowitz of Bakersfield, California, age thirty-one. His guise of donning women's attire duped many as Miss Josephine Ross, but the veil has since been lifted, revealing a freakish series of events that continues to disturb.
The revelations surrounding Mr. Rabinowitz were first exposed when the townsfolk discovered his peculiar penchant for garb traditionally reserved for the fairer sex. Mr. Rabinowitz, it seems, had been seen donning dresses festooned with buttons, deliberately placed to obscure his Adam's apple.
His fondness for cosmetic adornment deceived many who chose politeness over questioning the lady’s sex and whose children have since paid the price. Locals spoke of him applying rouge to his cheeks and powders to his face, with impolite and often hostile demands, made in an alarming falsetto, to be called Miss Josephine Ross, and a disturbing number of townsfolk obliging his demands.
Another peculiarity in his choice of footwear. Homemaker Miss Abigail Holmes remarked, "I spied him in footwear at my clothier boasting heels so high, even I would dare not attempt to stride in them. He even demanded we address him in pronouns suited for a woman. I told that crazy man to his face I would do no such thing!"
To the astonishment of many, he was also a regular patron at Mrs. Sullivan's boutique and took frequent sojourns to the popular women’s hair salons. Such uncouth and disturbing behavior only added to the growing intrigue and consternation among San Jose's citizenry.
Serving half a year in the employ of a local schoolhouse, parents are still astounded how such a creature would be permitted care of children. Readers of this newspaper submitted several letters from current and former residents attesting to the degradation of morals in the region as the cause for their immediate relocation.
Pastor William C. Wright of nearby Fremont confessed the dwindling numbers of attendees of his Saturday sermons as evidence of a people fallen into social confusion spurred by moral humiliation, yet was careful to remind his congregation that God forgives all and the way forward is always the way of the lord.
Sheriff Benjamin H. Thompson of Santa Clara County, acting on growing concerns from alarmed parents, took it upon himself to apprehend Mr. Rabinowitz, attesting to overwhelming evidence of debauchery and lewd behavior.
An indictment of lurid allegations imparting inappropriate and unsettling notions to young students about altering their sex as an act of courage and bravery and in secret, never to be revealed to their parents. Mrs. Eleanor Mitchell, a concerned mother, remarked, "The very idea that he'd discuss such matters with our young ones is beyond comprehension. Behind our backs and swearing our children to secrecy is criminal!" Similarly, Mr. Horace Williams added, "Such things ought not to be spoken of, especially not in a place of learning, and around our pupils."
In a twist that has the town further divided, the magnanimous Mr. Leland Stanford and his wife, Mrs. Jane Stanford, renowned for their recent university venture in the area, have graciously supplied Rabinowitz's bail bondsman. Their unexpected involvement has become a topic of vigorous debate on San Jose’s streets.
Judge G. R. Newsom, known for his questionable commitment to justice and the rule of law, presided over the initial hearing of Mr. Rabinowitz who showed in women’s attire and demanded the judge address him as Miss Josephine Ross. Amidst the claims and counterclaims, it was revealed that Rabinowitz's past is tainted with unsettling incidents.
Archival inspection of State of California's criminal records unveils a sordid past, stirring greater nightmares in the townspeople of San Jose how such a man could not meet with immediate incarceration as a threat to public order.
The bustling hub of San Francisco’s Union Square was the site of an alarming incident some years prior. Mr. Rabinowitz had been apprehended by authorities for an alleged abduction of a minor from a public lavatory.
Upon inquisition, Rabinowitz hid behind his cloak of faux femininity and alter ego as Miss Josephine Ross in order to quell accusations that are hardly ladylike. Rumors swirl that investigators held common cause with Rabinowitz’s confusions and perversities, shielding him from further prosecution.
While the details remain shrouded in secrecy due to the delicate nature of the case, the incident left an indelible mark on the community of San Francisco, causing many to question the safety of public establishments and the seriousness of authorities in protecting children. The case saw Rabinowitz released under suspicious circumstances, leaving more questions than answers.
Further staining his character was a most unspeakable act at the state fair last year henceforth. Witnesses reported seeing Rabinowitz engaged in an act of public indecency, said to include self-fondling near the children's mule riding exhibit. The revulsion of onlookers was palpable as parents hurriedly ushered their young ones away from the scene.
The state fair, usually a sanctuary of wholesome family entertainment, was sullied by the event. Rabinowitz's subsequent arrest in connection to the incident created waves of discontent among the fair attendees, many of whom called for stricter vetting procedures for those permitted to attend public events, even some calling for those exhibiting overwhelming features consistent with the appearance of the opposite sex to be braced.
These disturbing revelations from Rabinowitz's past, now coming to light, only serve to intensify the climate of distrust and anger in San Jose. As more details emerge, the community is left grappling with how such a man managed to embed himself within their society and what measures can be taken to prevent such occurrences in the future.
Yet, in the midst of this storm, Attorney General Robert Levine stepped in, asserting that the evidence against Rabinowitz was inconclusive, and circumstantial, urging dismissal of charges on account of engendered crowd and community hysteria. This recommendation has only fueled the ire of parents, with Mrs. Margaret Langley voicing the collective frustration, "The words of our abused children have fallen on deaf ears!"
Escalating rage of the community was only sparked further with new accusations of grievous misconduct, including physical molestation involving children as tender in age as eight. Townsfolk, already on edge, still incensed at the lack of care and justice find themselves further infuriated upon his unexpected release from custody Thursday morn last at the behest of state authorities.
In a display of raw emotion, Mr. Albert Harrington, father to one alleged child victim, was apprehended near Main Street Saloon's back alley gallows, attempting to mete out his brand of justice upon Rabinowitz at a late hour. Beat policemen intervened in the nick of time, upon whom a heavily intoxicated Mr. Harrington showered his rage, proclaiming loudly to gathered patrons of the Saloon, “In the absence of justice, we will make our own!”
Amid the ever-growing tension, whispers turned to shouts about a vigilante group. Spearheaded by Mr. Jacob Carter and Mr. William Foster, their intentions towards Rabinowitz, while unspoken, were clear to all—a posse to apprehend the accused for a citizen tribunal. Recognizing the looming threat, Rabinowitz was last seen fleeing north by stagecoach. Reliable sources now place him in East Portland, Oregon, allegedly assuming another teaching post.
Mr. Foster and Mr. Carter’s posse is set to arrive there by train this week end, to finish what school parents demanded in the failure of local and state authorities.
As San Jose grapples with the aftermath of these revelations, the final chapter in the saga of Joseph Rabinowitz remains to be written, but the outcome does not portend in his favor. Nor should it.
Generous souls are heartily encouraged to bestow their charitable offerings upon this worthy cause.
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