Reporting Child Sex Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community

The Jewish Daily Forward reports on a controversy in Brooklyn over D.A. Charles Hynes’s refusal to name scores of Orthodox Jews arrested for child sex crimes over the last three years. Hynes has charged 85 members of the Orthodox Jewish community with such crimes, but says that releasing their names might identify the victims, which NY law forbids. ¬†Critics say this is a pretext and that Hynes, an elected official, is in fact trying to maintain the support of the influential Orthodox Jewish community, which opposes releasing the names. The Forward article also discusses a controversial policy adopted by Agudath Israel, an umbrella group of Orthodox rabbis, that requires Jews who suspect child sex abuse to consult their rabbis before reporting their suspicions to secular authorities. Critics argue that Orthodox rabbis often persuade people that approaching the civil authorities would violate Jewish law principles such as the prohibition on lashon harah, or “evil gossip.”

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