Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Unlikely Ally?

Although I do have some reservation about it in this particular instance because I think they still fall short, I nevertheless must give credit when it is due.

Through their spokesman Rabbi Avi Shafran, Agudah has added its own voice in protesting the blanket protection given to the identities of Orthodox sex abusers by the Brooklyn DA’s office.

While Agudah’s view is not exactly the same as mine and does not go quite far enough, I am happy to see this step in the right direction. From the Forward:

Rabbi David Zwiebel, Agudath’s executive vice president and a legal expert, defended the D.A.’s right to evaluate whether to release the names of offenders on a case-by-case basis, according to Agudath spokesman Rabbi Avi Shafran.

Such an evaluation could take into account whether naming the suspect might allow the victim to be identified. But a blanket policy of withholding names of perpetrators should not be “across the board” in any community, he said.

I do not agree (as implied by this statement) that the risk of exposing the identity of the victim outweighs the benefit of knowing the identity of the accused sex offender, when the evidence of abuse is great enough for him to have been arrested and indicted.

I believe that the risk of victim exposure (which is very unfortunate if it is against their wishes) is worth the protection it gives to everyone else. But at least they agree that such protection should not be automatic.

On the plus side for the victim who did not want to be exposed - but was – is the greater probability that they will seek professional help… and get the therapy they often so desperately need.

Interestingly the Forward ends with a question about who exactly does agree with the DA?

My guess is that is is mostly the Chasidic community. Their general distrust of secular values; their antipathy for secular society; the feeling that there decisions are guided by the Torah; with the accompanying attitude that they therefore know better than the secular experts how to handle their own, and their general isolationist tendencies - easily explains why they would advocate such a blanket policy.

And it would not surprise me that it is the Chasidic leaders that are the ones mostly behind the decision of the DA.