Debbie Fox, an Orthodox social worker who founded the anti-child-sexual-abuse protocol many Orthodox and haredi schools and institutions use (if they use anything at all), is denying she helped protect a pedophile. But her defense rings hollow, and what it indicates is criminal.
Debbie Fox, an Orthodox social worker who founded the anti-child-sexual-abuse protocol many Orthodox and haredi schools and institutions use (if they use anything at all), is denying she helped protect a pedophile.
Her defense is that the Sydney Morning Herald, which first reported Fox's alleged coverup, took a quote from one of her emails out of context – but her complaints about the Morning Herald and her defense ring hollow.
Fox told the LA Jewish Journal that when she wrote, “I have no idea how anyone found out, but calls are coming daily from many sources. So far, we’ve been protecting you,” she was informing an admitted pedophile that if he did not follow through with the evaluation and treatment program mandated by Fox’s division of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service, the victim would go public with what the pedophile had done to him 20 years earlier in Australia.
Fox claims that the complete chain of emails make clear that she and her Aleinu division of the JFCS were not protecting the pedophile – but she refused to share those emails with the Jewish Journal.
She also claimed in support of her actions that every one of those emails was copied to the victim and to a rabbi on Aleinu’s Halachic Advisory Board (HAB) – i.e., Orthodox and haredi rabbis who decide what Aleinu should and should not do, including reporting pedophiles to police, although the Jewish Journal does not bother to ask Fox about that.
Fox, JFS and Aleinu are all classified as mandatory reporters and by law, have to report all suspected abuse –and Fox insists that law was always followed.
But it appears that Fox may have been less than truthful when she made that claim. Fox, HAB and the JFCS often had pedophiles psychologically “evaluated” to determine if they were still abusing children. If the “evaluation” found the pedophile is not, no report seems to have been made.
That these reports are imprecise and that the law requires reporting as soon as the suspicion of abuse exists and not weeks or months later (if at all) after private “experts” being paid by the Jewish community and/or the pedophile himself “determine” if he is still dangerous.
Fox claims that HAB only intervened where there was no reportable offense. She also claims it has handled between 25 and 30 cases of alleged or confirmed child abuse over the past eight years.
In this case, the Australian victim wanted to force the pedophile to go before the HAB, and contacted Fox in 2011 to make that happen.
The now-LA-based pedophile admitted abusing the victim in Australia 20 years ago.
Fox claims that she called the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services and was told, according to the Jewish Journal, that there was “nothing to report locally because the offense took place decades earlier and in another country. Fox said she also encouraged the victim to call police in Australia, but he declined to do so at the time, citing personal reasons.”
The Jewish Journal lets this go by without comment, but I won’t.
Fox escaped having to report the pedophile through a loophole. But she should have reported the man – who appears to be a rabbi – by contacting police in Australia. She chose not to do so, even though she knew there were active cases there involving pedophiles who abused Jewish kids at a Chabad school where the abuse went back that far in time, and when she also had to know that Australian police and prosecutors were very interested in hunting down, extraditing and prosecuting pedophiles like this.
But Debbie Fox did not make that report, and he decision to remain silent was almost certainly made in conjunction with rabbis from her Orthodox and haredi Halachic Advisory Board.
Under threat that the victim would expose him in the LA Jewish community, he underwent what the Jewish Journal calls “an in-depth assessment to determine whether he was still a danger to children,” even though the Jewish Journal has no proof at all of what the offender did or did not undergo.
The HAB’s evaluations “can last up to 50 hours and involve lengthy questionnaires, a lie-detector test and other examinations,” the Jewish Journal again claims – even though it has no evidence ot back this up.
Fox reportedly claims this pedophile’s ”evaluation” was atypical – it confirmed past abuse but allegedly showed that the pedophile had not reoffended in “more than 20 years.”
“The outside evaluators recommended the offender undergo therapy with an expert in the field, Fox said, and in accordance with the victim’s wishes, disclose his past offenses to his own rabbi. The offender is now required to meet with that rabbi on a monthly basis,” the Jewish Journal writes.
Fox claims that the pedophile complied and that his victim told her that he was, again in the Jewish Journal’s words, “completely satisfied with the results of the HAB’s involvement.”
But Fox also admitted that the offender took, in his own words, “a significant period of time” to get his “evaluation” and to get into treatment.
And those delays by the pedophile, Fox claims, is what her email quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald was about.
“We have NEVER had any evaluation take nearly this long,” Fox wrote in that email, warning the pedophile that he had to complete that process “for [his] security.”
“Fox declined to share the entire e-mail chain with the Journal, but read the text of those that preceded the one obtained by the Herald to a reporter over the phone. The e-mails were insistent that the offender move forward with the agreed-upon assessment and treatment regimen>” as the Jewish Journal put it.
How many of HAB’s “25 to 30” cases involved pedophiles who were actively offending or were likely to?
Fox would have you believe the answer is zero, but that is statistically impossible. The vast majority of pedophiles reoffend in perpetuity.
So what are these “25 to 30” cases really?
They appear to be cases in which the admitted or known offense is outside the statute of limitations, meaning X pedophile raped Y victim 8 years ago, but the SOL expires after 7 years. X pedophile is highly likely to reoffend and his HAB “evaluation” shows that he may be doing so right now, but no specific victim is known.
HAB, Fox and the JFCS do not report this pedophile to police, who may know of victims Fox, HAB, and the JFCS don’t know about.
Instead, they keep the pedophile in house – and out of the court system and out of prison, even while he may be raping more children.
The HAB, Fox and JFCS cannot do a proper forensic child sexual abuse investigation because they lack police powers and other tools, and because they lack the training.
What they have done and are doing is reprehensible.
What happened if a pedophile in HAB’s program walked off it? Was he reported to police? Od was he allowed to walk free and untreated?
What happened when a pedophile showed as active in his “evaluation” but HAB’s rabbis said there was not enough evidence to report suspicions to police or L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services? Did Fox report that pedophile anyway as required by law? Did the JFCS? How will anyone ever know?
Those are questions the jewish Journal should have asked and should have demanded answers to.
It did not, and one has the right to ask if that is simply a blatant reporting error or if it simply reflects the power of LA’s Orthodox and haredi community.