William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Friday, May 11, 2012

For Ultra-Orthodox in Abuse Cases, Prosecutor Has Different Rules

An influential rabbi came last summer to the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, with a message: his ultra-Orthodox advocacy group was instructing adherent Jews that they could report allegations of child sexual abuse to district attorneys or the police only if a rabbi first determined that the suspicions were credible.

The pronouncement was a blunt challenge to Mr. Hynes’s authority. But the district attorney “expressed no opposition or objection,” the rabbi, Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, recalled.

In fact, when Mr. Hynes held a Hanukkah party at his office in December, he invited many ultra-Orthodox rabbis affiliated with the advocacy group, Agudath Israel of America. He even chose Rabbi Zwiebel, the group’s executive vice president, as keynote speaker at the party.

Mr. Hynes has won election six times as district attorney thanks in part to support from ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who lead growing communities in neighborhoods like Borough Park and Crown Heights. But in recent years, as allegations of child sexual abuse have shaken the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, victims’ rights groups have expressed concern that he is not vigorously pursuing these cases because of his deep ties to the rabbis.

Many of the rabbis consider sexual abuse accusations to be community matters best handled by rabbinical authorities, who often do not report their conclusions to the police.
Read the rest here.

1 comment:

Jason said...

What a stark contrast to the Roman Catholic Church, which has no such support from within the government.

It's also a great demonstration of how far halachic law has penetrated into our society. While the great Watchers bewail the great menace of Islamic Sharia, the creeping vine of halacha is properly watered and cultivated.