Letter to the Editor in NY Magazine June 26, 2006
In "On the Rabbi's Knee
" [May 22], Robert Kolker gratuitously mentioned that while he researched a story on child sexual abuse, my office declined to discuss Project Eden, a program for adult victims of domestic violence in the Orthodox community. Project Eden is not for child sex-abuse victims; it's funded by the Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Office, to help prosecute domestic-violence crimes against Orthodox women. It is one of many grant-funded, culturally sensitive programs we have to combat domestic violence in Brooklyn's diverse neighborhoods. He also wrote that my office would not discuss in detail how we handle sex-abuse cases in the Orthodox community. Yet he had unrestricted telephone conversations with my Sex Crimes bureau chief, Rhonnie Jaus, discussing the details of several such cases.
—Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney, Kings County, Brooklyn
Robert Kolker responds:
Although Jaus did agree to discuss certain past sex-abuse cases, the district attorney's office repeatedly refused to discuss the larger point—what unique measures, if any, it takes to investigate and prosecute child-molestation cases in the ultra-Orthodox community, given the community's resistance to outside forces and cultural pressures on victims to stay silent.