Agudath Israel of America's Rabbi Zwiebel is explicit about his expectations of Hynes. "If the DA doesn't understand [that there is a Jewish law] there will be far less cooperation with the criminal justice system – because of the culture and the general sense in the community, that has prevailed for thousands of years, that typically there are things which, if at all possible, should be handled internally within the community.… I think [Hynes] is working within a reality. And he's wise to work within that reality." In Brooklyn, there appears to be a pattern of weak prosecutions, out of step with national trends. The national average sentence for child molesters is seven years with three of those served and probationary sentences are unusual. All sex crimes against children – both penetration and fondling – are treated with great seriousness, and there is little difference in sentencing between them – unless you are haredi and live in Charles Hynes' Brooklyn.
This is the first comprehensive coverage of this scandal and its coverup by haredi leaders and the D.A. done by any major newspaper. The New York Times had much of the basis for this story given to them in great detail in 2006, and there were reporters and lower level editors who wanted to do the story and who cared about it. But the Times' senior editors killed the story because they didn't want to target one particular community – something they did before and after to Catholic priests. And for the ensuing six years, the Times did not do a comprehensive general report on child sex abuse and coverups, either. And in a way, that makes the Times part of the coverup the Guardian – a British newspaper – has now exposed:
Silence and self-rule: Brooklyn's Orthodox child abuse cover-up
Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox rabbis claim they are co-operating with authorities over child sex abuse. But victims say they are being persecuted – and that the DA is doing little to help
Zoë Blackler • The Guardian
When Mordechai discovered his mentally disabled child was being molested, he reported the crime to the police. A local man was arrested and charged with repeatedly raping the boy in their synagogue's ritual bath. When news of the arrest got back to their Brooklyn community, the neighbours launched a hate campaign. But the object of their anger wasn't the alleged perpetrator, Meir Dascalowitz, it was the abused boy's father.…
Zwiebel argues the [Child Victims Act] would invite capricious litigation "that could be extremely harmful to some of the most important institutions in our community". But it isn't the capricious law suits that really worry Agudath but the genuine ones, says Shmarya Rosenberg whose blog Failed Messiah has been following the issue. Just like the Catholic Church, the yeshivas stand to lose millions.
"If the rabbis do what is really necessary to solve the problem they will expose themselves to lawsuits and public ridicule because quite frankly they have done a lot of very bad things," Rosenberg says. For now, their strategy is to shore up their defences.
And it's companion story:
Brooklyn DA accused of failing to tackle Orthodox Jews' cover-up of sex abuse
Critics say Charles Hynes has failed to wrest control from rabbis who refuse to co-operate with secular authorities
Zoë Blackler • The Guardian
A systemic cover-up of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclaves continues to obstruct justice for young victims, despite claims by religious leaders and the Brooklyn district attorney that the problem is in hand.
A long-standing culture of non-cooperation with secular justice by Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jews keeps many child sex offenders out of the courts and at large in their communities.…