Friday, May 18, 2012

Child Sexual Abuse in Ulta-Orthodox Jewish Communities

The NY Times has had a series of astonishing articles about what happens to individuals in some NYC ultra-Orthodox communities who report child sexual abuse to the secular authorities:

They are...somewhat terrifying. The ultra-Orthodox come across as a cult. In tomorrow's paper, there's a letter from Rabbi David Zwiebel of Agudath Israel of American, and here's the appalling money graf:
Contrary to the implications of your recent articles and editorial about child abuse in the ultra-Orthodox community, the role of the rabbi in cases of suspected abuse is not to dissuade the individual from reporting to the secular authorities, but simply to ascertain that the suspicion meets a certain threshold of credibility.
Rabbi Zwiebel seems to have missed the point that in a secular society, the DA and police investigate and determine whether a suspicion meets an appropriate threshold of credibility. It is not the job of the rabbinate or the priesthood to do this.


Chanterelle said...

Cherry on the cake: tomorrow the Orthodox community is rallying against the evils of the internet, in a huge gathering at Mets Stadium, overflow to be seated at the nearby tennis stadium. Men only, of course.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Oh, thank you for the reminder! I meant to blog that too. The big problem is that the Internet will remind their young that there are other ways to live.

Aleksei said...

Ms. Hirsch,

"In a case late last year that did not get to the police, a 30-year-old molested a 14-year-old boy in a Jewish ritual bath in Brooklyn, and a rabbi “made the boy apologize to the molester for seducing him,” he said."

Does anyone else find this as mindboggling as I do?

I lived as a liberal Jew near many ultra-orthodox in Rockland County, NY as I grew up. This is only the tip of the iceberg with these people and their shtetl mentality.

Ultra-jews are certainly the most ridiculous of them all. Sure, Muslims decapitate sorcerers, but remember those ultra-Jews banning the spirits of swine flue from an airplane or that ultra-jew judicator sentencing a dog to be stoned to death because he was a reincarnation of a lawyer, or attacking women on buses, or banning mp3 players.

These people are off the charts even in the nut-religion category.

Lisa Hirsch said...

No, you're not the only person to find that completely mind-boggling and, yeah, they are off-the-charts 18th c.

JBernadyn said...

United Advocacy Group, Inc.
John Bernadyn, Managing Partner

Troubled Jewish Teenager Describes Horrors of Growing Up in Foster Care
John Bernadyn, UAG
(CHICAGO) – As an innocent twelve year old boy, John Bernadyn was taken from his dysfunctional home and placed in to the youth welfare system of the state. “Freedom often comes with a price,” recalls Bernadyn.
After spending many years lacking sleep, recalling horrible memories, and avoiding social situations he published a memoir entitled, Betrayed By The State: A Ward of the State Speaks Out. “These horrors won’t stop with me. Every parent needs to know that they are at risk of hearing these stories from their children – if the state so chooses to remove them from their home,” said Bernadyn. The statistics do seem to warrant his statement. While many organizations spend time campaigning or boasting about the positive outcomes for those having grown up in the foster care system, the silent majority go unheard.
Shortly after arriving in his first foster care situation he contacted his child welfare caseworker to lodge a formal complaint. This started a six year journey of transfers from placement to placement that would ultimately land him in what he describes as ‘hell’ – including all the torments of physical and sexual violence. His final stop prior to exiting the system would be to live with youth from the department of corrections with serious problems. “I had to grow up rapidly in order to survive this situation.”
In Bernadyn’s account he alleges that the child welfare system was unresponsive to his needs and the needs of those around him. In fact, he says, “They ultimately stopped taking my calls.” He is grateful to the final judge he met and ultimately released him from these horrors in a heart-wrenching and detailed account of the courtroom scenario.
The successful twist is what does not get discussed in Bernadyn’s memoir. Bernadyn would later become a successful healthcare executive and managing partner of United Advocacy Group, Inc. Although calling Chicago his home, he travels extensively for speaking engagements and healthcare consulting. He may be reached at JBernadyn@UnitedAdvocacy.com or (312) 489-0632.