Haredim Slam TV Exposé on Sexual Abuse in Community

By Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn (Daas Torah blog)
February 1, 2013

From Times of London: London’s Haredi leadership has hit back at a television program claiming that the community covers up child sex abuse, saying the show “has done nothing to assist, and may have damaged, the chances of bringing abusers to justice.”

The program, “Britain’s Hidden Child Abuse,” aired on Channel 4 on Wednesday and alleged that rabbis in the Orthodox community forbid or discourage alleged victims of pedophilia from going to the secular authorities. It showed secretly filmed footage of two Haredi rabbis approached for advice by a former member of the community, who alleged that he had been sexually abused as a child. [...]

A spokesman for the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, an umbrella organization for Orthodox institutions in London, told The Times of Israel that the program’s credibility was undermined by its reliance on anonymous sources. These included a rabbi whose face was not shown, who claimed that a young family had been driven out of its community after reporting abuse to authorities, and two young men who claimed to have taken the law into their own hands by attacking alleged perpetrators after their complaints of abuse were ignored by the rabbis.

“Channel 4 chose to use an anonymous ‘rabbi,’ an unidentified group of thuggish vigilantes, a young man whose claims cannot be verified and two specific cases that Channel 4 knew full well to have been investigated thoroughly by the local authorities and dropped without action to imply that our community does not take its responsibilities seriously,” the spokesman said.

“Our community does not need Channel 4 to remind us of our duty and responsibility to protect our children. They are our future, and we do all we can to protect them from these unspeakable crimes.