Brooklyn’s D.A. Charles Hynes says he will work to get state legislation passed that would add rabbis and other religious leaders to the professionals now required by law to report suspicions of child sexual abuse to law enforcement or A.C.S., the New York Times reported late Wednesday.
Originally published at 11:00 pm CDT on May 23, 2012
D.A. Wants To Pass Law Making Rabbis, Priests And Other Clergy Mandatory Reporters Of Child Sexual Abuse
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Brooklyn’s D.A. Charles Hynes says he will work to get state legislation passed that would add rabbis and other religious leaders to the professionals now required by law to report suspicions of child sexual abuse to law enforcement or the Administration of Child Services (A.C.S.), the New York Times reported late Wednesday.
Hynes has been under intense pressure due to his decision to treat haredim accused of child sexual abuse with what many observers say are kid gloves, giving them better plea deals, dropping more cases and shrouding their names in secrecy – even after these sex offenders have pleaded guilty or been convicted.
Assemblyman John J. McEneny, an Democrat from Albany, introduced a similar bill in 2003. It was opposed by the Catholic Church and Agudath Israel of America – two religious bodies that have consistently blocked legislation meant to make it easier to prosecute pedophiles. The bill did not pass.
McEneny has a new bill he hopes will be passed into law. However, unlike his earlier effort, it does not mandate that past suspicions or past allegations of child sexual abuse be reported. Both the Catholic Church and Agudath Israel of America told the New York Times Wednesday that they could support a bill of that type.
Both religious organization fear being sued for decades of enabling and covering up child sexual abuse, and routinely oppose any legislation that might lead to making such lawsuits possible.
Hynes told the Times that he did not know about Mr. McEneny’s bill, but said he would discuss it with him.
Hynes plans to work with the New York State district attorneys association to write his own bill, which he wants to model after similar laws in New Hampshire and West Virginia. These laws do not mandate clergy to report suspicions or allegations of child sexual abuse told to them in confession.
Judaism does not have a confession rite, and it is unclear how this provision would be applied to rabbis.
Hynes is also creating a task force to crack down on witness tampering and intimidation in haredi child sexual abuse cases. However, the task force is made up of Hynes cronies and Hynes employees. Yesterday, Hynes refused to meet with Dr. Asher Lipner, a psychologist and leading haredi advocate for child sexual abuse victims, or to add him to his task force even though former New York City Mayor Ed Koch had asked Hynes to do so.
The task force was Koch’s idea, proposed to Hynes in an email exchange a few days ago.