Rabbi Avi Shafran writes:
…Last year, an article appeared in New York magazine that told the tawdry tale of an alleged serial Orthodox child abuser.
The New York writer did more than salaciously detail an alleged victim’s accusations. He went on to share with readers his own consideration of the prospect that such ugly behavior is “more common in the Orthodox Jewish community than it is elsewhere.”
“There are no reliable statistics,” he admitted, “… but there’s reason to believe the answer to that question might be yes.”
Now, the actual quote:
Is molestation more common in the Orthodox Jewish community than it is elsewhere? There are no reliable statistics on the subject—molestation often goes unreported, even in relatively liberal communities—but there’s reason to believe the answer to that question might be yes.
The difference between what Robert Kolker actually wrote and Shafran's reportage of it is wide. This is even more true if you read th entire Kolker article, where you see clearly Kolker has spoken to many, perhaps dozens of abuse victims and family members, who are quoted in the article before the above section. Also found before that section in the article is mention of a rabbi once charged with investigating abuse claims in Borough Park. The rabbi told Kolker Rabbi Yehuda Kolko's name came up frequently in his investigation.
The truth is, many past and current Agudah leaders belong in jail. They intimidated victims, stopped these victims from seeking justice and, intentionally or not, enabled monsters like Rabbi Yehuda Kolko to abuse more children. Agudah itself along with Torah u'Mesorah, Ohel and others may very well be sued by victims and their families. What Shafran is doing has more to do with damage control than it does with truth or with preventing abuse.
Similarly, his continued attacks against Hella Winston are meant to discredit her, even though the information she reports is echoed by literally dozens of other professionals who deal with haredi communities, and even though Shafran is well aware of those other witnesses.
The idea that Kolker "salaciously detail[ed]" David Framowitz's allegations is obscene. Framowitz courageously tells the story of his abuse at the hands of Rabbi Kolko. He tells it in detail. Framowitz's story matches the stories of other victims, many of whom did not know of each other until long after they first told about their ordeals.
Koker's reporting serves a purpose. It not only gives voice to victims long shunted aside by the haredi community, it tells that community in great detail the agony boys suffered as their rabbis looked on.
None of this is what is really important here. As I wrote last night, the main thing is to take immediate steps to stop child sexual abuse. But Rabbi Shafran opposes the one thing that could have immediate positive impact. And that may be the greatest crime of all.