October 18, 2013
The RCA expresses its pride and respect for the courage of the now 16-year-old victim of Yosef Kolko, the confessed perpetrator of sexual abuse who was sentenced yesterday to almost thirteen years imprisonment. The victim’s reporting of the abuse to the civil authorities, despite organized and overwhelming pressures and ostracism, sets an important example for the entire community. He raised the level of understanding of the impact of abuse when he said in court, “My message to those monsters out there who are abusing: You will be exposed, you will be put behind bars, and you will go through hell on earth. Molesting may seem harmless to you, but the reality is that it kills people with every touch.”
Rabbi Leonard Matanky, President of the RCA, reiterated the longstanding policy of the organization by reminding its members, “There is an unequivocal halakhic and moral obligation for everyone, victim and community member alike, to report all reasonable suspicions of child abuse to the civil authorities. These are cases of piku’ach nefesh, the protection of the physical safety and the spiritual integrity of our community.” Rabbi Shalom Baum, First Vice President of the RCA, stated, “The moral and religious integrity of our community is shattered when communal leaders discourage and prevent others from responding to the cries of the victims of abuse."