Originally published Tuesday May 31 at 11:14 pm CST.
Hella Winston writing in The Jewish Week seems to have caught Ohel – the embattled Orthodox-ultra-Orthodox social services and mental health organization – in another ethics violation that may also be illegal.
Basically, the story goes like this:
1. Weeks ago, Winston reported that Ohel staffers had been told not to follow mandatory reporting law in a case where a woman disclosed to therapists that she was touching and becoming aroused by her young son. The law requires reporting when there is a reasonable suspicion of abuse. The details of the mother's story certainly rise to that level – indeed, shortly after that incident at Ohel, she was hospitalized without the involvement of Ohel. The hospital called ACS and the woman's child was removed from her home.
2. Ohel has engaged in a massive attempt at damage control, including taking out large ads against the JW and a named JW source in Jewish news papers.
3. But Ohel has done more than that – it made unqualified individuals, like attorney Eliiot Pasik and Rabbi Chaim Wakslak, "consultants" to skirt federal privacy law, and then showed them the woman's chart. Pasik – who specializes in serious personal injury cases and general commercial litigation – and Rabbi Chaim Wakslak – a clinical psychologist who works with people with disabilities – were asked to evaluate the chart (which appears to have been incomplete) and decide whether Ohel acted within the law or not. Pasik and Wakslak did not have access to all of the therapists and staff involved in that decision not to report, and Ohel managers sat in the room while Pasik interviewed the therapists and staff he was given access to.
4. This behavior is unethical. It impedes a fair assessment of the facts, biases the facts in Ohel's favor, and otherwise skews the results of any audit.
5. Pasik never should have agreed to do it for Ohel.
6. But Pasik did – apparently after Ohel discussed funding projects of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children. Pasik is president of JBAC.
7. Asher Lipner, the JW source mentioned above, is the JBAC's VP, and therefore Pasik, JBAC’s president, should not have done the audit in any case.
8. Despite clear issues of conflict of interest, Pasik did the audit, relying on partial information and poor methodology. Not surprisingly, Pasik found that Ohel acted properly.
9. Ohel also hired what it claims is a "forensic psychiatrist who specializes in issues related to sexuality and sexual abuse, and his psychologist wife," to evaluate the case of the sexually abusive mother. They concluded that “the allegations made in the [JW] article”… “were completely false.”
10. But Winston noted:
A March 10 letter from the consultants, Drs. Richard Krueger and Meg Kaplan, a copy of which was obtained by The Jewish Week, said they had “reviewed the chart and discussed the case” with Ohel’s attorney and absolved the agency of any wrongdoing in the case.
Several critics noted, however, that Krueger and Kaplan were not given access to the mother, her son or anyone else with direct knowledge of the case, including The Jewish Week’s sources. According to those sources, a number of discussions about the case that took place at the time among Ohel staff — and specifically about the mother’s disclosures about her own behavior — were not recorded in any patient charts and, because of this, there exists no written record of them.
When asked whether it is standard practice in a forensic evaluation to review only selected charts and not interview those directly involved in a particular case, Krueger referred The Jewish Week to Ohel.
In other words, Ohel cooked the books and the "forensic psychiatrist" and his wife did Ohel's bidding.
Frighteningly, according to her CV, in 2002 Meg Kaplan consulted on Ohel's sex offender program.
This sordid affair should further serve as a warning to people who seek Ohel's services or who fund it.
And it should also serve as a warning about Elliot Pasik, whose unethical and bizarre behavior should make him persona non grata in the anti-child-sexual-abuse community from this day forth.