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May 17, 2012

Ed Koch v. Charles Hynes

Ed Koch color“The answer to the problem is, you have to go after those in the Hasidic community who are engaging in the obstruction of justice and intimidating the victims and their families. I believe bringing a single, successful case with a prison term will end the problem.”

 Originally published at 8:29 pm CDT 5-16-2012

Ray Rivera of the New York Times reports the text of a stunning email exchange between former NYC Mayor Ed Koch and Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn D.A. The exchange was given to the Times by Koch:

Here's an excerpt:

Mr. Hynes: “Mayor, I am really disappointed that you didn’t ask me to explain my decision to withhold the names of Orthodox Jewish men I have prosecuted over the last three years. The decision was a change of policy and was directly related to our investigations and arrests of many Orthodox Jewish men in Brooklyn over several years. In virtually every case, after the name of the defendant was made public, it was followed by a relentless pursuit by members of the Orthodox Jewish Community for the name of the victim.”

Mr. Koch: “Others, myself included, take issue with your position, believing that public disclosure of the identity of the alleged predators, especially those convicted, applies to all similarly situated regardless of their religion. Your fear of disclosure of victim identities would apply to Catholic clergy and the many altar boys who were victims of sexual abuse. Yet you disclosed, as do all district attorneys, the names of the alleged predators in the Catholic clergy. There must be one standard before the law. It is public disclosure of the names of the predators.”

Mr. Hynes: “I don’t know what else to say, Mayor. Before Kol Tzedek, when we published the names of the defendants, our victims were regularly harassed, and most of our cases fell apart. Since Kol Tzedek and the policy of nondisclosure of defendants’ names, dozen of victims have come forward” and “were confident that we were protecting their identity. That is the paramount reason how we have successfully prosecuted most of the 95 Orthodox Jewish cases we’ve brought over the last three years. With reference to the Catholic priest cases, until recently I was the only D.A. in the state who negotiated a memorandum of understanding with my bishop.”

Mr. Hynes added: “I have had no problem identifying an indicted priest because there is no evidence that victims are intimidated. I have made it plain to all members of the clergy that any attempt to obstruct an investigation of sexual abuse will result in prosecution and punishment.”

Mr. Koch: “The answer to the problem is, you have to go after those in the Hasidic community who are engaging in the obstruction of justice and intimidating the victims and their families. I believe bringing a single, successful case with a prison term will end the problem.”

So here's what we know.

1. Hynes has not prosecuted witness tampering and harassment of victims of haredi child sexual abuse, even though he admits the problem is rampant.

2. Hynes insists that there is no problem with witness tampering and harassment in Catholic Church child sex abuse cases, meaning haredi behavior is quite a bit more lawless and much more evil than Catholic's behavior in similar situations, if Hynes is to be believed.

3. Hynes continues to claim many cases as Kol Tzedek cases that empirically are not.

4. Kol Tzedel's hotline, claimed by Hynes to operate 24/7, is mostly closed. Callers get a voicemail message according to CBS 2 News, which called the hotline 25 times at various times of the day over a considerable span of time. The phone was only answered twice.

5. Ed Koch, who earlier this week called on the governor to appoint a special prosecutor to handle haredi child sexual abuse cases, is right.

6. Hynes has demonstrated that he lacks the judgement and the honesty to do his job. Either the governor acts or the US Department of Justice must act. There is now no other choice.

Read the entire New York Times piece here.

Comments

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when we published the names of the defendants, our victims were regularly harassed, and most of our cases fell apart

There you have it in a nutshell!

That's Ed Koch - he tells it like it is. Good for him!

Kudos to Mayor Koch!! Thank you for standing up for what's right and just!

@Likeitis,
It is the purview of the presiding justice(s) to decide when and if records are to be sealed; that is to say we already have a mechanism for dealing with such situations and it is one in which the power resides within the judicial branch and not with the prosecutor (ie not with law enforcement which is ultimately part of the executive branch).

Additionally, there is another means by which the DA may choose to address the specific issue you point to: bringing charges of witness tampering and intimidation against the responsible parties.

Mayor Koch is correct; equal treatment of all parties under the law is required to maintain 'the rule of law'.

Mr. Koch: “The answer to the problem is, you have to go after those in the Hasidic community who are engaging in the obstruction of justice and intimidating the victims and their families.

There is a point that seems to be missed and where the problem lies is that to intimidate the victim the victim has to be identified. Herein is the problem. When the press gets involved and the publicity machine churns away the victim winds up being identified. Here is where the secondary damage begins against the victim. It can be harassment or it can be the destruction of the victims and their family’s shidduch prospects.

One can't haul a shadchin off to court for not recommending a person for a shidduch because of this form of blemish. Same thing with a neighbor who decides not to speak to someone because of the perceived damage caused to the community or sect.

Like it or not, this is a very tight knit community and it needs to be factored in to make sure the perp gets punished without destroying the victim as well. As the expression goes "Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater."

Warning: this is pure speculation.

Is it possible that they have got some juicy, blackmailable piece of info on the D.A.? Hynes' behavior and statements defy the most basic logic. It's happened before where controversial and contradictory decisions have been made by people in high places based on the hidden arm-twisting that the public never sees. Maybe he has no choice (in his eyes).

Warning: this is pure speculation.

Posted by: Haredi or not, here I come | May 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM

How true!

One can't haul a shadchin off to court for not recommending a person for a shidduch because of this form of blemish. Same thing with a neighbor who decides not to speak to someone because of the perceived damage caused to the community or sect.

Like it or not, this is a very tight knit community and it needs to be factored in to make sure the perp gets punished without destroying the victim as well. As the expression goes "Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater."

Posted by: LikeItIs | May 17, 2012 at 09:44 AM

i hear RICO allows quite a bit of latitude.

LikeItIs makes a very valuable point. These gangsters would stop at nothing and there will be no way to prosecute them. Just maybe Hynes is doing right by the victims.

I don't know. But neither do y'all.

I hear RICO allows quite a bit of latitude.

Posted by: Proton Soup | May 17, 2012 at 01:09 PM

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because they did not actually do it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act

Just what does that have to do with shiduch prospects and friendliness of neighbors and community acceptance?

Yasher Ko(a)ch!

Just what does that have to do with shiduch prospects and friendliness of neighbors and community acceptance?

It's not about that at all. It's saying these people are criminals who need to feel the sharp edge of the law. And by that I mean U.S. law.

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