A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

The Prosecutor Uses Different Rules, the Ultra Orthodox Abuse Scandal Explained- NYTimes.com

In News on May 11, 2012 at 08:21

For Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Abuse Cases, a Prosecutor Uses Different Rules 

This is the fourth post I have had on this in the last three weeks, because I really don’t understand how this could possibly have happened.  The politics involved are shameful. Both religious and civil leaders have engaged in repugnant behavior.. and it needs to be exposed 

An influential rabbi came last summer to the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, with a message: his ultra-Orthodox advocacy group was instructing adherent Jews that they could report allegations of child sexual abuse to district attorneys or the police only if a rabbi first determined that the suspicions were credible.The pronouncement was a blunt challenge to Mr. Hynes’s authority. But the district attorney “expressed no opposition or objection,” the rabbi, Chaim Dovid Zweibel, recalled. – Seriously? Honestly. You reprehensible scumbag!

In fact, when Mr. Hynes held a Hanukkah party at his office in December, he invited many ultra-Orthodox rabbis affiliated with the advocacy group, Agudath Israel of America. He even chose Rabbi Zweibel, the group’s executive vice president, as keynote speaker at the party. (Yes, you read that right)

Mr. Hynes has won election six times as district attorney thanks (large?) in part to support from ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who lead growing communities in neighborhoods like Borough Park and Crown Heights. But in recent years, as allegations of child sexual abuse have shaken the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, victims’ rights groups have expressed concern that he is not vigorously pursuing these cases because of his deep ties to the rabbis.

Many of the rabbis consider sexual abuse accusations to be community matters best handled by rabbinical authorities, who often do not report their conclusions to the police.

In 2009, as criticism of his record mounted, Mr. Hynes set up a program to reach out to ultra-Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. Called Kol Tzedek (Voice of Justice in Hebrew), the program is intended to “ensure safety in the community and to fully support those affected by abuse,” his office said.

In recent months, Mr. Hynes and his aides have said the program has contributed to an effective crackdown on child sexual abuse among ultra-Orthodox Jews, saying it had led to 95 arrests involving more than 120 victims. (Let’s take their word for it?? ) 

But Mr. Hynes has taken the highly unusual step of declining to publicize the names of defendants prosecuted under the program — even those convicted. At the same time, he continues to publicize allegations of child sexual abuse against defendants who are not ultra-Orthodox Jews.

This policy of shielding defendants’ names because of their religious status is not followed by the other four district attorneys in New York City, and has rarely, if ever, been adopted by prosecutors around the country.

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