web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Kol Tzedek: A Proven Tool In Prosecuting Abuse Cases

Charles J. Hynes

Charles J. Hynes

One father, in a recent case of ours, was told by a member of his synagogue that if his daughter testified in the criminal case, male community members would fill the courtroom on the day of her testimony in order to place even more pressure her.

I will not tolerate this type of intimidation of victims and their families. I have set up a law enforcement panel comprised of highly experienced law enforcement professionals whose mission it will be to root out and prosecute cases of intimidation. I am the chair of this committee and will do everything in my power to ensure its success.

The media requested that my office release a list of all the Orthodox Jewish defendants the Kol Tzedek program has generated. My position is that releasing the names of defendants involved in Kol Tzedek cases would inevitably reveal the identity of the victims and subject them to intimidation and retribution within the community. The New York Civil Rights Law prohibits the direct disclosure of the names of victims of sexual assault or any information that might identify them. Records of arrests and court appearances are, however, available to the public.

Our experience has shown that once a member of the ultra-Orthodox community has been arrested, the victim’s identity is relentlessly sought. When a victim’s identity is obtained, various levels of pressure and intimidation are exerted upon the victim to make his or her life unbearable. Concern over this exposure is the number one reason victims are reluctant to prosecute.

Another argument that has been raised to support the release of this list is that the people need to know if a sex offender is living in their neighborhood. That is precisely why the New York State Sex Offender Registry was created in 1996. One need only enter a zip code into the Registry and all the registered level-two and -three convicted sex offenders from the neighborhood will be revealed.

The suggestion that I condoned the practice of first seeking a rabbi’s advice before an Orthodox Jewish community member reports sexual abuse is an unfortunate distortion of my record. I have never suggested that someone seeking the advice of a rabbi about sexual abuse allegations is then relieved of the obligation of reporting sexual abuse to the appropriate authorities. I am well aware of the mandated reporting laws of this state, which require certain frontline professionals to report allegations of child abuse in custodial settings to the State Central Register. I would never condone the violation of these important laws.

Although I would not interfere with anyone’s decision to speak to his or her religious leader, these allegations of criminal conduct must be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. In fact, my concern that some rabbis might advise those with knowledge of sexual abuse to withhold that information from law enforcement is precisely why, with the assistance of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Ohel and the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, I created Project Kol Tzedek.

Kol Tzedek has been a very effective crime-fighting tool and will continue to be so.

Charles J. Hynes is district attorney of Kings County (Brooklyn), a position he has held since 1990.

About the Author: Charles J. Hynes is district attorney of Kings County (Brooklyn), a position he has held since 1990.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Kol Tzedek: A Proven Tool In Prosecuting Abuse Cases”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Jon Karl of ABC asks White House Press Secretary, "Yemen is a model of US strategy?"
White House Insists Chaotic Yemen a ‘Model’ for Obama’s War on Terror
Latest Indepth Stories
Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Gerstenfeld-032715

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Bibi0303.jpg

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!

“Tzedakah tatzil mi-mavet: Charity saves from death”; No death & a tax break? Where do I sign up?

InsideIL targets MBA students at 12 of America’s top programs for its paid Israel summer internship

More Articles from Charles J. Hynes
Charles J. Hynes

Prior to the creation of the Kol Tzedek program, only a handful of sexual abuse allegations from the Orthodox community were reported to my office each year. Our information was that victims of sexual assault in the community were afraid to come forward and report to secular authorities due to enormous community disapproval and pressure. In an effort to overcome these obstacles and encourage reporting of these heinous crimes, and to ensure the continued cooperation of the victim with the prosecution, my office launched Project Kol Tzedek.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/kol-tzedek-a-proven-tool-in-prosecuting-abuse-cases/2012/06/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: