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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776
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GUEST OPINION

Molestation Cases Must Be Handled by G’dolim, Not by ‘Experts’

If you’re lucky enough to avoid losing your children, you’re still not home free.


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Rabbi William Handler

Rabbi William Handler



Please remember, the social worker gets paid to find cases of child neglect. If she does not find any cases, there is no justification for the existence of her agency, no justification for paying her salary and benefits. So, she has a clear bias in favor of seeking something—anything—that would justify a finding of “child neglect.”

The social worker’s report is sent to ACS/DCP.

Shortly thereafter, you will be visited by ACS workers, who will appear at your home suddenly—often in the middle of the night—to conduct interviews with your small children in an attempt to discover and document “child neglect.”

Each child will be interviewed individually, in a van parked outside your home. You will not be permitted to be present at these interviews. Any silly or indiscreet statement by your innocent child may be accepted as documented evidence of “child neglect.”

If your child mentions any behavior that the City defines as “child neglect,” slapping, yelling, etc., ACS may, at their discretion, haul you into Family Court and petition the court for the removal of ALL of your children from your home to live with foster parents.

You will have to spend a fortune on lawyers.

If you’re lucky enough to avoid losing your children, you’re still not home free. The law gives ACS up to an additional 60 days to continue their investigation of your family.

ACS will now send a “field worker” to your home to conduct “surveillance,” to observe how you interact with your family. The worker will note everything you do on her clipboard. This officious busybody will visit with you for hours upon hours, getting on your nerves, as you attempt to take care of your family. You must be extremely careful about what you say and do in front of her.

I’m sure most mothers with large families will agree that this is a nightmare scenario. However, it is something that is going on in our community right now. Just ask your friends and neighbors. As I said, I have witnessed it personally.

Now, if this is the way the City’s “professionals” abuse decent Jewish parents whose only crime was that their child accidentally spilled some hot tea on his hand, imagine how “compassionately” they treat someone who has been accused of the much more serious crime of molestation.

Do you really think the prosecutors are going to treat anyone accused of molestation fairly? Do you really believe they are going to assume that he is innocent until proven guilty?

God forbid that I should in any way minimize that great pain and the terrible damage that is inflicted on innocents by even one molester in our community. There definitely are such people in our midst, and we must take action to stop them.

But involving the cumbersome, insensitive, and largely incompetent government apparatus in the internal problems of our community can only result in even more terrible tragedies, chas v’sholom.

It borders on Mesirah (turning in a fellow Jew), and it is virtually certain that it will result in many innocent people going to jail for years and years, destroying their lives and the lives of their families and children.

I know that there have been complaints that rabbis have declined to take action when accusations of molestation have been presented to them. I have already discussed the conundrum they face earlier in this article—should they take action on the say-so of a single person, who may have malicious intent to harm the accused.

The Talmud tells us that “He who is not an expert in the laws of marriage and divorce should stay out of the picture, lest he increase the number of illegitimate mamzeirim in Klal Yisroel.”—only gedolei Yisroel—true experts—have the competence to rule in these matters.

The truth of the matter is that a situation this serious does not belong to your average rabbi, no matter how sincere and pious he may be. It must be refereed to our top Torah leadership, just as the question of Internet use was.

Only our gedolei Yisroel have the siyata d’shmaya (Divine help) necessary to guide us on the proper course of action in these painful and perplexing situations.

Can we settle for anything less in matters of pikuach nefesh (life and death)?

Rabbi William Handler

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