By Yerachmiel Lopin (Frum Follies blog)
August 12, 2013
Charles Hynes does a lousy job of protecting ultra-orthodox Jewish children from sexual abuse. I cannot think of any other large group in Brooklyn whose leadership colludes with the DA to protect their molesters. But the DA is not sworn to protect his voting blocks; he is supposed to protect its citizens, especially its most vulnerable ones.
Some will say, “But most ultra orthodox children are molested by their own.” This, alas, is true in every community. Sexual assaults on children are rarely committed by strangers jumping out of the bushes. Molesters are usually friends, relatives, youth workers, teachers, and neighbors. Almost all these roles are filled by other Jews in Williamsburg, Boro Park, Flatbush and Seagate.
It is also true that most acts of violence afflicting the African-American community are committed by other African-Americans. That does not exempt the DA from the obligation to prosecute them.
I am the first to agree with the District Attorney that many in the orthodox community obstruct the prosecution of sexual abuse. But it is the job of the DA to go after the obstruction of justice. To date, as confirmed in an earlier story on Frum Follies, no member of the ultra-orthodox community has ever been sentenced to even one day in prison for obstructing the enforcement of laws against sexually abusing children.
The DA claims he created a Kol Tzedek initiative under Henna White to facilitate the prosecution of sex crimes against children in the orthodox community. This was to be done in partnership with Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, an agency with an atrocious record on reporting sex abuse. According to Michael Lesher, “Bringing this agency into a partnership with the D.A. to prosecute Orthodox sex offenders makes as much sense as teaming up with the Gotti family to break up organized crime.”
However, other than Nechemya Weberman and Emanuel Yegutkin, he has been short on impressive victories. Most orthodox offenders get off, or get sweetheart plea bargains (e.g., Simcha Adler Solomon Hafner, Menachem Deutsch, Yehuda Kolko, Lewis (Lipa) Brenner).
Vecchione Stock 2aInstead of working hard on convicting molesters, Hynes’ disreputable rackets chief, Michael Vecchione, has been hounding Samuel Kellner, the Hasidic whistleblower who helped get other Hasidim convicted of sex abuse. In Hynes’ Brooklyn, no good deed goes unpunished.
I am not a lawyer and I have not looked into civil remedies for religious discrimination by omission. I leave it to others to propose actions. However I feel comfortable claiming that this is discrimination that ought to be remedied as a gross violation of the civil rights of these children. This should be investigated by the NYS Attorney General and the U. S. Department of Justice.
Legal remedies are slow and tedious. The swiftest solution would be a voter verdict on September 10th denying Hynes the Democratic Party line on the ballot in November.
City Councilman David Greenfield is Hynes’ most prominent surrogate in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community. He is trying to turn reality upside down by claiming that Kenneth Thompson, Hynes’ opponent in the primary, is anti-Semitic and will “target” Haredim. That is malarkey, or as we say, narishkeit (foolishness). Thompson has spoken of wanting to protect Jewish children better than Hynes. And duh, yes, he will have to target molesters and their enablers. Greenfield should be put on the Anti Defamation League’s hit list of bigots for daring to equate child rapists with ordinary orthodox Jews.
The election-day question is simple. Do orthodox Jews want to protect their cover-up artists and victim intimidators or do they want to protect their children? One preference leads to Hynes and the other leads to Thompson.
This is an issue that divides Haredim on generational lines. I am not talking about children versus adults; I am talking about voters. There is a whole new generation of younger adults who are parents and are determined to spare their own children the abuse that they and their siblings endured. Most of them are not brave enough to publicly fight the heavy hand of their leadership that quashes discussion. But in the privacy of voting booths many of them will cast their ballot for child safety. Thompson can pick up a chunk of these votes by sticking to his guns about fighting molesting. However, he also has to show the community that he wants their votes enough to court them. Otherwise, the “targeting” meme will get legs and spread.
Albert Friedman, the influential Satmar publisher of the Tzeitung newspaper has been sniping at Hynes, regularly conveying news reports about Hynes screw-ups. However, he has not come out for Thompson. He complains that Thompson isn’t taking the effort to show the community he really wants their votes. I don’t think Friedman is calling for pandering (though I suppose he wouldn’t mind it).
I think Friedman is voicing a suspicion that Thompson has decided that it doesn’t pay to campaign in the orthodox community and is instead content to rely on his surrogate Dov Hikind. If this is true, Thompson is making a mistake. Even if he can win, he will have to govern. He needs to build ties to the community. He might as well start now and improve his odds of winning.