State verifies so-called Jewish Chaplain Dov Cohen only a Volunteer at Women’s Prison

by Terry Richards

So-called Chaplain Dov Cohen.

So-called Chaplain Dov Cohen.

LOS ANGELES, CA –As a concerned Member of the Jewish Community of Los Angeles, as well as other prominent Members of this Jewish Community airing their concerns to me, after advising Bill Sessa, an Information Officer at the Press Office of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that Dov Cohen alias M. David Cohen alias David M. Cohen who has been claiming in emails that he sends people who may be interested in Volunteering with him at the Prison that he is an: Advisor, Chaplain DOV Cohen, US Air Forceto the Veterans In Prison (VIP) Post Program he supposedly recently started at this Prison, and that also on his website a/k/a Shir Hashirim Cohen’s non-prifit that Cohen claims that he: Serves as Chaplain at the California Institution for Women (Corona), and asking Sessa to confirm the accuracy of this information, Sessa confirmed to this Writer that Cohen is merely a Volunteer at the Prison associated with a Citizens Action Group that comes out to the Prison to try and help the Prisoners in various ways.

Sessa also advised this Writer that among other things, all CDCR Chaplains are Ordained Rabbis, Ministers or Priests and are employed by CDCR. Cohen is neither an Ordained Rabbi, Minister nor Priest nor employed by CDCR. In an email dated April 09, 2015 to this Writer Sessa stated that:                                                                                      The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation provides religious support in each of our institutions for many denominations.  Each of our prisons is staffed with a Jewish rabbi (among other religions).  All of our rabbi are full time employees of the department.  As such, they are hired only after meeting all of the education and other professional requirements for that occupation, which are vetted through the same civil service system that covers employment for all state employees.  The application process includes many layers of review to verify any information provided by a candidate, in addition to testing and interviews to measure their ability and to score all candidates before anyone is chosen for a job. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to claim professional credentials during that hiring process that they could not verify. No one can simply show up at a state prison and work as a rabbi by simply claiming to be one. And, as I have said, I checked the department’s registry for chaplains (which covers all of them in all of the religions we staff).   Mr. Cohen is not a rabbi in any CDCR facility, whether it be for male or female inmates.”

In an email to this Writer dated April 13, 2015, Sessa stated in pertinent part that:                                                                                                                                                    I know for a fact he is not an employee and certainly not a chaplain…I confirmed that with the person who directs all of our chaplains in all of the prisons.”

In an email to this Writer dated April 15, 2015, Sessa stated in pertinent part that:   As I said in my original note to you, we do not consider Mr. Cohen to be a “chaplain”. All of our official chaplains are ordained, are permanent CDCR employees and assigned to the prison in which they minister. Mr. Cohen is merely one of hundreds of volunteers who support our prisons. He does volunteer at the Women’s prison in Chino.  After seeing the email that you forwarded to us, I can better understand why some people may be confused about his status with us. We will be discussing this with Mr. Cohen to ensure that there will be no such confusion in the future.”                                                                                                                        

Cohen age 70, who has been residing at the California Veterans Home West Los Angeles was a Jewish Chaplain’s Assistant in the Army who has never been Ordained as a Rabbi or Minister. Cohen has also lead interfaith services at the Veterans Home since 2010 because religious services can be led on Government Property by anyone, lay or Ordained as long as they are not Government Employees. However, what the Government does not permit is the solicitation of donations at religious services which are held on Government Property for Residents like Cohen does when he has these services at the Veterans Home of California West Los Angeles.

Reasonable minds would conclude that Cohen makes these false claims of being a Chaplain at the Women’s Prison in an effort to look important in order to get new and continued donations for support of his said non-profit. The IRS says that when potential or existing donors are lied to by a non-profit that this is deemed “IRS CHARITY FRAUD”. While Cohen solicits for Tax-Deductible Donations for his SHIR HASHIRIM non-profit on his website, the IRS Tax I.D. Number for this non-profit is missing.

Writer’s Note: Up until to about 6-months ago or so I was a supporter of Dov Cohens activities until I discovered that he was not a Chaplain at the Prison, and evidence of other Unlawful activities by Cohen was presented to me in connection with his and other non-profits with whom he is associated.


A Daughter’s portrayal of her dead-beat-dad Chaplain Dov Cohen