On Nov. 29, 2007, Yakov Shapiro was preparing for a day of family and music – his two great loves – when there was a knock at the door of his Germantown, Md., home. When he opened it, reports the Maryland Daily Record, three Montgomery County police officers asked the 60-year-old immigrant his name and then announced, to his shock, that he was under arrest. The charges: child sexual abuse. Police had the wrong “Y. Shapiro.” as it turned out. The Baltimore police detective investigating the real molester, a former bar mitzvah teacher in Baltimore named Yisroel Shapiro, had made a careless error in drawing up the warrant.
The city of Baltimore tried to keep the case quiet, paying Shapiro $200,000 but withholding all details except the amount of the settlement. The city asserted that Shapiro had demanded confidentiality but his attorney, Steven Kupferberg, agreed to talk about the case, saying, “I think that anything that goes on in court should be public.”