Online Battle Over Sacred Scrolls, Real-World ConsequencesThe current status of the case:
By JOHN LELAND
Published: February 16, 2013
There is a saying about academia that the disputes are so vicious because the stakes are so low. In the case of Raphael Haim Golb, a son of a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, the last few years have provided ample support for the first half of the saying. But the second half is less accurate.
In his cluttered fifth-floor walk-up apartment in Greenwich Village, Mr. Golb, 53, is waiting to begin serving a six-month sentence for waging an Internet campaign against his father’s academic rivals, including sending e-mails under a rival professor’s name. The younger Mr. Golb, who has a Ph.D. from Harvard and a law degree from New York University, is six feet tall, 120 pounds; digressive, tightly wound, bookish; a gadfly, an irritant, an obsessive. If you saw him on the street, you might worry about his safety.
Between 2006 and 2009, he created more than 80 online aliases to advance his father’s views about the Dead Sea Scrolls against what he saw as a concerted effort to exclude them. Along the way, according to a jury and a panel of appellate court judges, he crossed from engaging in academic debate to committing a crime.
“I’m not saying anybody here acted well,” Mr. [Ronald] Kuby [a lawyer of Mr. Golb's] said. “I just don’t think anybody acted criminally.”The remark by Mr. Kuby about Robert Cargill's "hurt puppy persona" is generating some commentary—and photoshopping—on Facebook.
After a three-week trial, the jury ruled otherwise, finding Mr. Golb guilty on 30 of 31 counts, including two felonies. On Jan. 29 he lost again on appeal on all but one count. He is currently out on bail pending a decision by the State Supreme Court on whether or not to hear his appeal. Last week, he was granted permission to go to Chicago, where his father was in the hospital after a minor stroke.
Much background on this long, sad story is here with many links.