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Prioritizing Our Children’s Safety As We Approach The New School Year

Pedophiles frequently move and/or change jobs as a result of organizations, schools or leaders not reporting them to the authorities but rather just “asking” them to leave.

A teacher who molests a child, has likely molested or attempted to molest other children in the class.

Pedophiles sometimes marry for convenience, for cover, or to gain access to children from a spouse’s prior marriage.

Parents should beware of anyone who wants to be with their children more than they themselves do and showers the children with lavish gifts and attention.

Pedophiles try to get children into situations where they stay with them overnight or where there are no other adults. Although having two adults present is a good idea, it does not guarantee a child’s safety, as the other adult may not recognize what is happening.

Education- Learn Certain Facts on Victimized Children:

Children resist disclosing their victimization based on fear of stigma and shame. Some victims, after their disclosure, will recant out of positive feelings for the offender or threats by the offender. Children often distort facts to describe what happened to them in a more socially acceptable manner. For example, they may try to excuse themselves claiming they were forced, which is seldom true of molestation by pedophiles.

Consider the developmental process of children and totality of the circumstances when they disclose molestation. It cannot be assumed children never lie, however, because of their developmental stage, they may make inaccurate statements.

The key to getting child victims to disclose their victimization is to communicate subtly to them an understanding of the grooming process.

After molestation is discovered, Mr. Lanning cautions that offenders, and those who harbor them, threaten, harass or bribe victims and witnesses, as well as those involved in the investigation. Some molesters may express deep regret and claim they are pillars of the community in order to arouse pity and compassion. Any indicator that an offender is justifying or minimizing his activity makes him more dangerous and likely to reoffend. To combat this problem, we need to learn how to detect offenders and to seek professional help immediately upon the slightest suspicion of molestation. Offenders should be compelled to seek treatment, and children should learn to speak out and stay away from them.

I take this opportunity to thank Mr. Pinny Taub, a survivor of childhood molestation, and an advocate for victims, for helping me with this article. He has taught me that it is possible for a child to survive abuse, mature into a strong, healthy adult and raise a fine frum family. Together, as a community, we can educate ourselves on abuse prevention and find the balance between denial and paranoia. By combining faith in hashgacha pratis, awareness, knowledge, and reasonableness, we will prove that our community is different from all others as we unite our efforts to protect the future generations of Klal Yisrael and to preserve the communal trust we value and cherish among our family, friends and neighbors.

Ruchie (Rachel) Freier, Esq. is a practicing Charedi attorney, admitted in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, with offices in Brooklyn and Monroe. In 2008 she founded B’Derech, the organization advocating for chassidic youth. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Children & the Law and New York City Family Court Attorney Volunteer Program. She can be reached at freieresq@aol.com or 718-259-4525.

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As the new school year begins, we parents must gain insight into one of the common causes of youth at risk — abuse and molestation. It is a highly sensitive issue generally deemed the domain of mental health professionals and community leaders, with a host of significant halachic ramifications, such as raglayim l’davor – meaning reasonable suspicion, which is the halachic threshold to permit reporting to authorities under the rules of mesira.

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