Thursday, March 26, 2009

Assemblyman Dov Hikind Responds

I received the following letter from the office of New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind yesterday. It was in response to my plea for him to release the names of people accused child molestation. I think it clarifies his position.

I am still conflicted by this issue. As I've been saying all along - my primary concern is for the victim.

For those victims who have gone public - justice demands that their abusers be punished. But for many who have not gone public - the fear of their exposure by identifying the names of their abusers to the police is overwhelming. As for the safety of the community the only real justice is to expose and prosecute all abusers.

These are tough and conflicting choices to make.

What follows is the unedited response from Dov Hikind’s office:

Rabbi Maryles,

Assemblyman Hikind asked me to reach out to you concerning your article titled 'Please Mr. Hikind.....'.

I would like to bring to your attention some information that may be helpful in addressing your concerns.

Assemblyman Hikind has gathered information from many different Jewish communities, some as far away as Belgium, and some as near as Borough Park. The timeline of abuse incidents range from thirty years ago, and as recently as a couple of months.

Victims reputations have unfortunately been decimated when disclosing abuse, and survivors who gathered the resolve and courage to report incidents have been compromised on many occasions, even though current law tries as best possible to protect the identity of those pressing charges. When reporting allegations of abuse, victims have been threatened, pressured to keep silent and have been labelled pariah's who have no regard for Jewish law.

This is the sad reality.

Concerned individuals who reach out to the secular authorities will find a different reality then what is being reported, that in fact there is a working relationship between our office, the NYPD and district attorney regarding these matters.

Finally, unless victims are willing to present their information to the district attorney, providing information to the public and the secular authorities without providing a source to substantiate it will not achieve the necessary response in properly addressing this issue, and will not answer the prevailing doubt in the community's mind as to the prevalence and severity of said condition.

I hope you find this information helpful and thank you for your dignified critique.

Elliot S. Schreiber
Legislative Aide
Assemblyman Dov Hikind
48th A.D.
District Office 1310 48th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11219
718-853-9616/17718-436-5734 (Fax)