Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Staff writer for the Jewish Daily Forward Paul Berger discusses Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes' treatment of sex abuse charges in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.
In response to the various comments;Protecting a person because of "Loshon Horah". If a person commits a felony, the sin of Loshon Horah - doesn't apply for serious crimes. If a person did such a crime & is found guilty, it would be public knowledge as they would aPpear in the offenders registry.What special treatment does the city give the ultra ortho community? None that it wouldn't give any other community. Most Jewish Civil law follows American & western law, which the ultra ortho's follw.
This debacle is strong argument against the election of district attorneys. It is unacceptable to give a pass to certain communities with regard to minimum standards of law and order.
Prohibition, labor unions, and 1940s-50s mafiosi come to mind. Those rackets did not exert democratic pressure as an ethno-religious group; their pressure and influence was more direct.
The result, however, is the same: people will lose faith in one of the simplest unifying threads of American society... the commitment of the judicial system and elected officials that justice be fairly considered and evenly distributed.
Somehow I am not surprised by this development in the DA's office.Not too long ago someone I know was thrown out of synagogue by an ultra Orthodox Rabbi for telling the officers of the synagogue that one of the members was a 3 time Convicted Registered Sex Offender on the NYS Dept. of Justice Sex Offender Registry. This offender was observed on multiple occasions acting strangely inside the synagogue, including once bottle feeding an infant on his lap. This offender also donated large sums of money to the synagogue. The Rabbi's reaction was not being upset to have this questionable character as a member, on the contrary the Rabbi went balistic at the innocent member who was simply the messenger. The Rabbi called the innocent member a "mirror" of the molestor, accussed him of speaking gossip, saying over and over again what he did was wrong, and of potentially ruining the life of the molestor. This my NPR friends is what we are up against in Brooklyn today.
That there are "no more sex abusers in the orthodox community" as you (Brian) point out, is true. However, the effect of allowingthese (92!) abusers on the street up until the "kol tzedek" program,means that each pervert was free to molest many more children then in other communities.
Does anyone think the Muslin community would be treated with such deference if they had this sexual molestation problem? So the ultra-orthodox can practice Jewish Law, instead of the laws of the city, state and country.
Well, may be the Muslim community should use Sharia law when dealing with child sex abuse in their community.If that happens DA Hynes would probably bring in the Feds to investigate for a terrorist connection.Hynes in political hack and an opportunist.
whycome wnyc is only giving this discussion 5mins ? really, wtf.there's more time to discuss JPmorgan chase, than the way our DA pursues or ignores sex offender.
Hmmm, the orthodox community gets special treatment? Wow, I thought that was just the anti-Semitic babble of blacks before the Crown Heights riots. The things you learn everyday.
what other crimes are handled differently for members of the community ?
BRIAN, THERE IS NOTHING COMPLICATED ABOUT THIS!!!
NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW!!!
Yes, Brian, of course - it is ALL about political power. Just like the Catholic hierarchy used to have political power and used it to supposedly take care of their own problems - i.e., sweep them under the rug. The D.A. is now letting the Orthodox Jewish leaders do the same thing. It's disgusting.
Here you go: Paul Berger just claimed that the Forward is THE STORY not the journalist covering the story. He claimed that they were the reason victims came for help. AHAH: They want to be part of the action and with out names they can NOT be involved.
The news is, any closed community that allows this and guards its members (Orthodox jews, Catholic Bishops, Penn State athletics) is wrong and we need to NOT coddle the perpetrators. Enough already. No need for sensitivity: they've committed a crime, prosecute
The reason that victims have a problem is that the worst sin in Judaism is loshon hora - which is ruining someone's reputation by saying bad things about them. Even if the allegations prove true, the perpetrator's reputation is forever tarnished, which makes it difficult for him/her to make a living and feed his/her family. So observant Jews are always hesitant not only to make charges within the community, but to ruin the reputation of Jews in the general population.
...and folks are worried about Sharia Law???
We've got the Jewish flavor of the same thing, right here in Williamsburg!!
@Elle - yes, just as she said!
Catholic abuse scandals, theologically-influenced "law", Sharia, and now this sweeping under the rug for this Orthodox community - all GREAT reasons to keep religion out of legal decisions, where it has no place!
You mean the law is not applied equally across the board? Shocking! (sarcasm intentional).
...how about the signs mounted on the public sidewalks in Williamsburg stating that women should step aside when men approach?!?!?!?!?
...how about city buses with separate areas for women??
Hmmmm - tailoring the justice system's applicability based on religious doctrine - does it sound like a familiar item in the news recently (hint: Sharia law?)
Does this remind anyone of anything? The Catholic Church, maybe? A closed patriarchal system is, by definition, NOT a safe place for children. Open the windows, let in the light, and apply the same rules to everyone.
Don’t these communities have their own police force also?Also this community was allowed to have bike lanes removed from “their streets”
...how about the meningitis-spreading, baby-killing mohel??
RELIGION IS A VERY BAD IDEA!
With Anna and I.
"I" really? I'm shocked at your bad grammar. I expect more of you!
oh my god.... really, what's new here ? all of these orthodox sex offenders are getting red carpet celebrity treatment while being charge for crimes that anyone else, rightly so, would get many years in prison.
With NO Ultra-Orthodox Institution or individual blamed in the NY Times stories, is this a plain old STEREOTYPE on a grenaral community???? NY TIMES 5/9/12: "The New York City area is home to an estimated 250,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews" Are they all part of the story???
New York Times May 9, 2012 :"Scholars believe that abuse rates in the ultra-Orthodox world are roughly the same as those in the general population" That's like making a cover page story about "a dog bites man"
Politicians bend over backwards to curry favor with Orthodox Jews because they vote in blocks and if accused of breaking any law, claim they'd being picked-on because of their religion.
anyone who's grown up in brooklyn knows that the orthodox community has their own set of rules and laws and the amount of special treatment and accomodations given to them by the city is mind boggling....but i guess not- it's all about paying off the right city officials.
Please comment on the progress being made in looking into sex abuse cases in the public schols also, thanks.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
Brian Lehrer Weekend
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.