|Hey rabbi, check out the sexy boy in the third row.|
Crimes against children by adults who claim to live the word of God are not new. Many religions have demons, and the ultra-Orthodox Jews are no exception. Most deny it could happen in their midst. Child rape and molestation don’t fit their pious image."The (ultra-Orthodox) Jews are no exception." That's the point. And by understanding that point, abuse of children and minors can be stopped everywhere.
On the CNN pages, the following part of the story is the most interesting:
The Hasidim in Brooklyn are a powerful voting block. That’s why District Attorney Charles Hynes is accused by victims’ rights advocates of going easy on alleged Hasidic child molesters and rapists. He’s been elected six times, and is accused of appeasing the rabbis in order to get their support and keep his position.Hynes ought to disclose names of people arrested through Kol Tzedek because ultra-Orthodox Jews are no exception. What's more, the interests of a single community do not outweigh justice for our society's most vulnerable.
Hynes strongly denies the allegations. In 2009, he established a program and a hotline to help victims called Kol Tzedek (“Voice of Justice” in Hebrew). But critics are outraged because he refuses to disclose the names of the men arrested through the initiative. The Jewish Daily Forward’s request for the records filed under the state’s Freedom of Information Law was denied.
Hynes claims that revealing the names of the suspects could lead to the community identifying the victims and intimidating them. That decision raises concerns about the rights of the public, the legality of shielding the men, and the DA’s motives.
Tuchman asked Hynes how he reconciles instituting a policy for the Hassidim, but no other groups, like the Roman Catholic Church. He says because “there’s never been any intimidation by priests.”
In a May 16 op-ed, Hynes wrote:
Since the inception of Kol Tzedek, we have made 95 arrests; 53 cases have been adjudicated, with a conviction rate of 72%.While some may persist in protecting the community ahead of justice for the young victims, there are signs of progress. On June 10, a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews held a meeting in Crown Heights to talk about combating child sex abuse. Hynes was on the panel. Some rabbinic leaders have said anyone with knowledge of abuse should go to the police and do not need to talk first with a rabbi. It will take the courage of the victims and the compassion of the community to make lasting change.
I stand by these numbers.
The statistics show how absurd it is to suggest that we cover up, downplay or in any way “give a break” to sex offenders in the Orthodox Jewish community. Like any other defendants, they are often arrested in public by the police, and their court appearances are open and available to the public as part of the public record. I welcome scrutiny of these cases.
The suggestion that I have ever condoned the practice of first seeking a rabbi’s advice before an Orthodox Jewish community member reports sexual abuse is a distortion of my record. I have never suggested that someone seeking the advice of a rabbi is then relieved of the obligation of reporting sexual abuse to the appropriate authorities.