Update: Lindsey Radomski was found not guilty on all counts Wednesday. See the story.
In Jewish tradition, the bar mitzvah age of 13 is the moment a boy becomes a man. But in secular law, that passage comes at 18. From this dichotomy arose the case of the bar mitzvah party and the flashing yoga instructor.
The world first read of it in a March 25, 2015, statement from the Scottsdale Police Department in Arizona.
“On Saturday, March 21,” it said, “a bar mitzvah was held at a North Scottsdale home. … One of the guests at the party, whose name is Lindsey Radomski (32 years old), recently had breast augmentation surgery. At one point, Radomski exposed her breasts to a group of 5 adults at the party. The adults admonished her not to expose herself again. Later, Radomski exposed her breasts to a group of juveniles by the pool. Radomski was told to ‘sleep it off’ in one of the bedrooms of the home.”
But she didn’t. And so, the statement continued:
“In the early morning hours of Sunday March 22nd, most of the party guests had gone home or were asleep. Radomski invited 7 juvenile boys, ranging in ages from 11 to 15, into a bedroom where she allowed the boys to fondle her breasts. Later, all of the boys left the bedroom except for one 15 year old boy. Radomski then performed oral sex on the 15 year old boy.”
Not even the most grizzled police reporters had seen one quite like this.
Radomski, who was employed at a yoga studio owned by one bar mitzvah boy’s parents, who, by the way, helped her finance the breast augmentation, was first slapped with a variety of felony charges, including sexual abuse.
After a grand jury declined to indict her on the felony counts, which could have sent her to prison for some time, the city attorney of Scottsdale took up the case, charging her in June 2015 with multiple misdemeanor counts of public sexual indecency and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The likely punishment, if convicted, is at most a few months and fines.
The case finally went to trial Aug. 2. Monday, more than six weeks later, closing arguments are scheduled to begin. It is one of the longest misdemeanor trials in the memory of anyone around Scottsdale’s courthouse.
In her own testimony, according to Fox 10 in Phoenix, Radomski said she consumed several shots of vodka and tequila and drank wine. She admitted that she raised her shirt and exposed her breasts and that she was aware at the time that there were boys present.
She said boys at the party were “bugging her” to see her enhanced breasts, although how they might have known about them remained unclear.
“It was the most obscene moment of my life,” she testified.
“I know I got crazy drunk,” she said, as reported by William Pitts at 12 News, whose Twitter feed has provided the most complete account of her testimony.
But after that, she remembers nothing.
So her lawyers’ defense is built around an unusual theory but not one uncommon in cases involving sex: The alleged victims did it.
Someone — her lawyers contended during the trial that it was an 18-year-old at the party who was never identified — slipped into one of her drinks the “date rape” drug GHB. She blanked out, they argued, and the boys took advantage. At one point, one of her lawyers blurted out that she had been “raped,” although there is no evidence of that.
Although that may sound far-fetched, so do lots of theories presented by good defense lawyers. All they need to do, remember, is raise doubt in the minds of the jurors.
Radomski is represented by a relatively high-powered team of lawyers, led by Jocquese Blackwell.
In addition to earlier testimony from each of the boys, prosecutors have countered with, among other things, the results of blood tests taken after the party showing no more GHB than would naturally occur in a person’s body.
(This is the sanitized version of the trial. For more detail, see Pitts’s Twitter feed, for example, on why the subject of pasties came up at the trial. The parents involved are not being named so as not to identify the juveniles.)
The case has been noteworthy first for its unusual circumstances, and then for the wisecracks surrounding it.
From the moment it went public, it was greeted with Borscht Belt humor. After all, cynical teens for ages have been saying bar mitzvah parties are all about the gifts.
“The only thing I got for my bar mitzvah was a crappy….oh wait, I’m not Jewish,” said one Arizona Republic commenter at the time of the arrest.
Said another: “Epic. that kid has bar mitzvah bragging rights the rest of his life that no one else will ever be able to touch.”
“Today, you are a man! Oy!”
“This sad story does have a happy ending. Her evening pilates classes will be sold out with dudes …”
Such treatment produced its own backlash, particularly after the grand jury declined to hand down felony charges.
It was no laughing matter to the parents in the case. Indeed, the bar mitzvah boy’s mother testified at the trial that she was devastated by the actions of her now-former friend and yoga instructor.
Wrote E.J. Montini in an Arizona Republic commentary:
Is there an exercise pose called “downward facing double standard?
Nothing else explains how yoga instructor Lindsey Ann Radomski has managed so far to avoid the really, really big trouble she could be in. The kind of trouble she most definitely would be in if she were a man …
Let’s say a man was accused of doing what Radomski is alleged to have done…
Is there a single individual on the planet who would suggest that — if true — the girls got lucky? Is there a single individual on the planet who would find that scenario funny?
“So why are so many people online joking about this? It’s because the suspect is a woman and the victims are boys,” Kevin Kennedy wrote for KPNX 12 News. “It goes back to the way males and females are socialized, for a guy it’s like, Hey, good job, whereas in the case of a female victim, we are conditioned to be like, This is terrible,” Jessye Johnson with the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence told 12 News.
All that has deterred no one.
“Hava nagila, have two nagilas, said the yoga teacher, who let two boys touch her breasts at bar mitzvah” was the winning comment entry on FARK.com.