Ohel Publicizes Confidential Patient Files
Protects Identity of Unreported Predatory Sex Offenders

David-MandelDear Friend,

As reported by the Jewish Week, Ohel Children's Home and Family Services circulated confidential patient files to members of the public in an effort to defend its decision to not report abuse to the authorities.

SFJ does not want to be drawn into a technical discussion of whether or not Ohel violated applicable laws. More relevant is Ohel's practice (legal or otherwise) of treating unreported predatory sex offenders at the request of certain community rabbis in lieu of instructing those rabbis to report these dangerous criminals to the authorities.

This practice has placed--and continues to place--children in grave danger.

Ohel insists that patient confidentiality rules prohibit it from reporting dangerous predators to the authorities. However, the agency seems to have no problem exploiting a provision in the privacy law in order to share highly sensitive patient mental health records with the public in an effort to protect its own reputation.

What does this say about the integrity and professionalism of an organization that our community has long entrusted with our communal social service and mental health needs?
Read the full Jewish Week story here.

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In the words of Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."

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Established halacha (Jewish Law) places a pedophile in the category of rodef (an imminent threat), in part due to a recidivism rate well in excess of 50-percent. In his 2004 psak (ruling) on this issue, Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv writes that one should report those who sexually abuse children directly to the police and that doing so is of benefit to society. Click here to read a partial translation of this ruling.

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