Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes' claim that 89 haredi pedophiles had been dealt with or are in the process of being dealt with by his office since fall 2009, combined with his refusal to name any of those pedophiles, even those already convicted or pleaded out, or to show us their sentences has activists and legal experts crying foul. Is Hynes letting politics trump the law?
From yesterday's Village Voice:
…For victims' advocates, Hynes's reluctance to be more forthcoming [about the names and sentences of the haredi pedophiles he claims to have prosecuted] is the final straw.
"I think the DA's office thought when they did this initial thing with The Forward [claiming 89 haredi pedophiles were delt with by Hynes office since fall 2009] they were just going to flip this number out there, and that would be it," says Michael Lesher, an Orthodox Jew and a lawyer who specializes in sex abuse cases within the community. "But it's really galvanized public interest and public anger."
For Ben Hirsch, the founder of Survivors For Justice, a support organization for sex-abuse victims from the Orthodox world, it's clear that Hynes isn't interested in addressing the problem.
"There's only one solution here," Hirsch says. "We need federal law enforcement. We need prosecution of the people who are blocking the reporting -- the problem is less the sex offenders themselves and much more the people who obstruct justice, thereby creating a safe haven and breeding ground for sex offenders."
Lesher agrees. "In this one connection, in this one community, this one kind of sex abuse case, we have this tremendous sensitivity that I can only explain as politics trumping law," he says. "Someone needs to come in and set that right."