Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Sex Abuse Scandal

By Rod Dreher (The American Conservative)
December 13, 2011

Did you hear that between 80 and 90 members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in New York City have been arrested over the past three years in connection with what authorities say was a massive case of child sexual abuse? New York magazine calls the revelations "seismic." The New York Post reports:

He's one of an astounding 85 accused Orthodox child molesters that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes' office says it has busted in the past three years in an initiative called Kol Tzedek, Hebrew for "voice of justice."

The cases involve 117 victims — a number that has the community reeling from the extent of the horrors of pedophilia.

Launched amid complaints that Hynes was soft on Orthodox child predators, Kol Tzedek aims to coax victims to come forward, despite strong pressure in the insular religious community to cover up such crimes.

All but two of the suspects are men, and more than half the victims are male, said Assistant DA Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the sex abuse and crimes against children division.

Of the 38 cases closed so far, 14 perps got jail time, ranging from a month to 10-to-20 years for crimes that included sex abuse, attempted kidnapping, and sodomy, Jaus said.

The other 24 have walked free. They got probation, pleaded to minor charges, or saw their cases dismissed — often because victims or their parents backed out under community pressure.

Agudath Israel of America, a prominent body of Torah sages, requires anyone alleging sex abuse by a fellow observant Jew to first report to its rabbis, who decide whether the case should go to secular authorities.

No, no, a thousand times no! Shame on Agudath Israel of America, which by its disgusting ruling is helping to perpetuate the sexual abuse of children. Did they learn nothing from the Catholic scandal? Apparently not. The AP reports:

Assemblyman Dov Hikind says it's difficult to get people in the Orthodox community to come forward in such cases because of intense social consequences.

It also doesn't help when the Brooklyn DA appears to have been dragging his feet on this case, and stonewalling the press. The Jewish newspaper The Forward has been all over this story, an just last week demanded to know why the DA Charles Hynes was refusing to answer their questions about the arrests. Has Hynes been protecting members of the politically powerful Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox community? This strikes me as a much bigger story than it has been to this point.