May 11, 2012
The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes takes pains to conceal the names of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish defendants in sex abuse cases as part of an effort to reach out to alleged victims, according to a report.This policy is not followed by the city's four other district attorneys.
Sex crime experts like Cardozo School of Law professor Marci Hamilton, who wrote the book "Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect its Children," are troubled by the report.
"The system that's been concocted by the DA's office is a system that's woefully inadequate to children, putting them at risk on a daily basis," Hamilton told WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond. "Frankly, I don't know how he sleeps at night."
"Right now, what we have is a district attorney who has a misguided notion of a need to protect religious groups from themselves and that's exactly the opposite of what those poor children need," Hamilton said.
The New York Times also reported that last summer, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel approached the DA's office to say that he was instructing his people to only report allegations of child sexual abuse to authorities if a rabbi said the claims were credible.
Many in the Ultra-Orthodox community believe that sexual abuse claims are best handled internally.
The Times reported that Hynes did not object to this apparent challenge to his authority.
"Rabbis are wonderful people. They're respectful people. They are our guide. They are our spiritual leaders," Mark Appel, founder of the victim's advocacy group Voice of Justice, told Diamond. "But they're not trained in this."
The Times said the DA's office defended its outreach to victims of sexual abuse in the Orthodox community, adding that Hynes cares deeply about the issue.