It is Rabbi Baruch Lanner's last Shabbos behind bars. The Jewish Week's Gary Rosenblatt reports:
After serving nearly three years for sexually assaulting two teenage girls in his charge in the mid-1990s, Rabbi Baruch Lanner, the former yeshiva principal and a longtime leader of the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth, is scheduled to be released from a New Jersey state prison next week, The Jewish Week has learned…
The rabbi was terminated the day after the article was published, and the OU commissioned an extensive study that found “profound errors of judgment” among the leadership of the organization and called for sweeping reforms.
Major personnel changes were made at the OU, and stricter policies regarding parental supervision of and involvement in youth activities at NCSY were put in place.
The Orthodox Union declined to comment on Rabbi Lanner’s impending release. …
Elie Hiller, who worked with Rabbi Lanner for four years at NCSY and later testified against him at a bet din in 1989, said he and others who have been following the case for years “knew this day was coming,” when the rabbi would be released.
“I expect some of the victims will have a bit of anxiety, but I hope they realize that his release does not change the fact that he has a criminal record and remains on the Megan’s Law list,” which makes public the names of sex offenders in New Jersey and requires them to register their whereabouts with authorities.
Hiller said he hopes those who were abused by Rabbi Lanner “are at a place in their lives where they are making their lives whole and that they won’t feel intimidated. At the very least,” he said, “people will now be reminded that he has been in jail and that the brave ones who spoke out had a real effect” on Jewish communal life.
Hiller added that he is hopeful that Rabbi Lanner will not be given another position, here or in Israel, that would put him in contact with young people.
Rosenblatt's report makes it seem as if the OU cleaned house of all those who supported, enabled and covered for Rabbi Baruch Lanner. Yet I have been told by an OU insider close to the cleanup process instituted after Rabbi Lanner's misdeeds were made public that most of Rabbi Lanner's enablers are still working for the OU and no real housecleaning has taken place.
The untold story here is exactly that – the dozens of current OU employees who allegedly knew of Rabbi Lanner's misdeeds but failed to act to protect the children under the OU's care.
Let's hope the story is told soon and that those who enabled Rabbi Baruch Lanner are removed from public Jewish life.