Attention all would-be Manhattan District Attorneys:
Forget for the moment about seizing or destroying the mantle of the now retiring Robert Morgenthau and declare yourself on the latest arrest by his office of one Raphael Haim Golb — a brand new case that reminds us that not just anyone can be Manhattan DA.
In a complaint that must be read in its entirety to be only half-way understood , Golb 49, a Thompson Street resident, was arrested today and charged with “creating multiple aliases to engage in a campaign of impersonation and harassment relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls and scholars of opposing viewpoints.” The corresponding penal code charges are identity theft, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment.
To wit, Golb allegedly used Internet aliases to “influence and affect debate on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in order to harass Dead Sea Scrolls scholars who disagree with his viewpoint,” as the press release states.
The campaign was allegedly aimed at NYU professor Lawrence Schiffman, chairman of the Hebraic and Judaic Studies Department and a leading scholar on — the Dead Sea Scrolls.
According to Morgenthau’s office, Golb opened a Gmail account in Schiffman’s name. He then allegedly sat himself down at an NYU computer and pecked out 11 emails in which he “pretended to be Dr. Schiffman and purported to admit to plagiarism,” as sayeth the release.
It turns out that there is a lot of debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls as to who wrote them, where the authors lived etc. These are the kinds of disputes that get very hot in academia and it also so happens that Golb’s father is a professor at the University of Chicago and ran his own study project on the origins of said Dead Sea Scrolls, arriving at a theory very different from Dr. Schiffman’s.
The younger Golb faces 1 1’3 – 4 years in prison. We only note further that a man of the exact same name as the defendant wrote a dissertation at Harvard with this farsighted title: The Problems of Privacy and Trust in Modern Literature, and their Relations to the Idea of Freedom.