The Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) is appalled by, and unequivocally distances itself from, comments attributed to Rabbi Boruch Lesches [the former Chabad rosh yeshiva in Sydney] as reported in The Age (23 June 2013). As stated on numerous occasions,the RCV encourages the reporting of all incidents of child sexual abuse to the police.
Among other things, Leches said that poor "goyyim" as young as five have sex with dogs as a matter of course because they're bored and don't have much else to do.
He also said that young Jewish boys who were raped by a Chabad pedophile may have wanted the sex and consented.
Leches is now the mora d'asra (senior rabbi and community leader) of Chabad's main synagogue in Monsey, New York, and is often called on to act as a posek (decisor of halakha, Jewish law) for Chabad followers worldwide.
So far, no official Chabad group has publicly condemned Leches' remarks or distanced Chabad from them (although many Chabad rabbis do sit on the RCV).
As you read this, remember that Victoria (Melbourne) is not Sydney (New South Wales), and so far Chabad in Sydney – the Feldmans – have been completely silent on Leches' remmarks as has Chabad owrld headquarters in Brooklyn.
For Immediate Publication
RCV's reaction to comments by Rabbi Lesches
The Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) is appalled by, and unequivocally distances itself from, comments attributed to Rabbi Boruch Lesches as reported in The Age (23 June 2013). As stated on numerous occasions,the RCV encourages the reporting of all incidents of child sexual abuse to the police.
In recent years the RCV, in conjunction with the Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence (JTAFV), has held numerous training sessions for its members and members of the Victorian Rabbinate in general; these sessions have been focussed on appropriate response to disclosures of all forms of abuse, including the reporting of child sexual abuse to the police.
RCV President Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant said that any suggestion that the reported comments are "consistent with the approach of many senior orthodox Jewish figures in the community" is malicious in nature and incorrect.
"It is deeply regrettable and shocking that there still do exist some individuals out here on the fringe in the religious leadership world who take positions contrary to the clearcut contemporary halachic (Jewish law) approach on the matter of child sexual abuse."
"The RCV will continue to promote the reporting of abuse to the police and to renounce any suggestions or individuals who take a contrary position on this matter," said Rabbi Kluwgant.