Monday, February 18, 2013

An Apology to the People of Kiryat Sefer

Modi'in's Anava Park near Kiryat Sefer - photo credit Ha'artez
Case closed. Allegations made about the rape of a five year old girl appear to have been false. So have the police determined about this case reported in the media a couple of weeks ago. My sincere apologies to the Charedi town of Modi’in Illit (Kiryat Sefer) where these allegations were made... and which I wrote about.

Those allegations included suspicions of a cover up and threats by the town rabbis to anyone who dared to report it. That was the implication of the story as it unfolded. Apparently nothing of the sort occurred. The woman who brought these allegations to the police has recanted.

The sad part of this is why it happened. Why did a woman there make up a story like this? What moved her to do it?

I discount the possibility that it really did happen but that she was forced by rabbinic or community pressure to recant so that the town wouldn’t look bad… and so that the story would go away.  I doubt it. I don’t see that town being so devious. And I trust that the police did their due diligence in this case and feel that there is nothing to pursue – except for a possible charge being brought against the woman who made this false report to the police.

But questions about why she did it remain. I think it unlikely that she is just a deranged person who wanted to do harm to the community in which she lived. Although I do think she probably could use some psychological counseling, I don’t think she is evil or deranged. At least no one has made that charge.

If I recall correctly this woman claimed that she was once a victim of sex abuse herself – and that this was her way of bringing attention to a problem that does exist in her community although it did not actually happen in this case. She was of course absolutely wrong to do it this way. It is never OK to intentionally smear a town no matter what the purpose. The ends do not justify the means.

But if it did happen to her – it is understandable that she may have been desperate to make the public aware that these things were happening in her community and that it might be happening to others.

That she resorted to doing something so drastic makes me wonder if there have been any real cases of abuse in that town and if so - how they were treated.

It is also telling that her initial story was so believable. The reason for that is understandable too, if one looks at how this issue has been treated in other Charedi circles. Llike Williamsburg for example. But at least in this case, there seems to have been no rape. And for that I am glad.