From the New York Times:
To the Editor:
Secrecy, fear of public scandal and a closed hierarchal structure are the main factors that allow child sex abuse to occur both in the Catholic Church and the much smaller Orthodox Jewish world (“Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Deaf Boys,” front page, March 25). The reports of senior church officials being unresponsive to complaints about deviant priests are exceptionally disturbing, and parallel what we have seen in Jewish institutions.
Strict laws requiring clergy to report sex abuse to law enforcement are essential. Mandatory background checks of all personnel are a must. The church scandal we are witnessing now is the fruit of civil lawsuits for damages. Ridiculously short statutes of limitations should be liberally extended. Since churches, synagogues, parochial schools and yeshivas can’t police themselves, government, acting through its laws, needs to step in.
Elliot B. Pasik
Long Beach, N.Y., March 25, 2010
The writers are, respectively, president and vice president of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children.