Australia's rather ethically challenged Orthodox community has "cleared" Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future and the Vice President for University and Community Life, of all wrongdoing in abuse cases by having a YU insider with close ties to Brander "investigate."
As I reported Saturday night, Australian child sex abuse victims are upset that Yeshiva University's Rabbi Kenneth Brander has been invited to speak there this week. As Tzedek wrote:
Tzedek, Australia’s only dedicated advocacy group for Jewish victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, is dismayed by the decision of several local organisations to host a representative of Yeshiva University to speak on ethics and morality.
Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future and the Vice President for University and Community Life, is scheduled to speak next Tuesday, August 6 in Melbourne on “Ethics in Philanthropy: Should synagogues and Jewish institutions accept tainted funds?” at an event held under the auspices of the JBD – Jews of the CBD, Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria and HWL Ebsworth Lawyers..
Tzedek was strongly attacked by the usual apologists for abuse and by people close to the event's sponsors. The latter claimed that Brander had been "cleared" of all wrongdoing by a secret investigation of sorts done for them.
Isaac Baalbin, whose idea it was to bring Brander to Australia, wrote a viscous piece attacking Tzedek (and me). He claimed Brander was "beyond reproach" and that he had done "1000 times more for victims of abuse…than our own Captains of Morality."
And then Baalbin wrote:
I have personally seen current correspondence from arguably the most respected professional experts in this arena, who are very well acquainted with a situation in which they support Rabbi Brander unequivocally based on personal knowledge of the facts.
I'm told that the person Baalbin is referring to is David Pelcovitz, the abuse expert who is closely tied to both Yeshiva University and OHEL, the haredi community services agency whose own misconduct in abuse cases has been severely criticized.
In other words, Brander was 'cleared' by someone close to him and close to his institution, not by an independent, honest investigation.