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May 18, 2011

Another talmud torah suffering from accusations

There is an sexual molestation accusation against a staff member of a local talmud torah. The accusation led to his arrest, and if I am not mistaken he has since been released to house arrest to his house outside of the Bet Shemesh area. (standard operating procedure in these cases is to hold the accused for 72 hours and then release to house arrest during the investigation, unless there is suspicion that the accused might have access to and influence the victims or others involved and harm the investigation).

I don't know too many details of what is going on, so I don't want to discuss it. I know some, and I have heard some rumors that I don't know if they are true or not, so that is not my topic right now.

My question is, why do we hear about these cases in the haredi talmud torahs in RBS but not in the dati leumi schools and others?

I am not wishing it upon other sectors, but the fact is that this has nothign to do with religion - it is a problem that crosses all kipot, no matter what color kipa you wear there are molesters and abusers in your community in similar percentages. It is a sickness (I dont know if that is what they call it nowadays but that is what I am calling it) that affects all sectors equally.

Yet we seem to hear about it only in the haredi sector, at least locally. Why? Is it because people jump on these stories because it makes the haredim look bad but ignore them elsewhere because it is not a big deal? Do the dati leumi schools simply have a better way of hiring teachers and filter out people who potentially have these issues? Do the other sectors cover it up better? Do they report it quicker so it doesnt become subject to rumor and gossip?

Why does it keep happening in the haredi schools but we don't hear about it elsewhere?

47 comments:

  1. I think the fact that charedim are so much more sexually repressive from childhood through adulthood probably makes a huge difference. The extreme gender separation, the extreme modesty for girls, the lack of social and extra curricular outlets for both genders I think make a huge difference. I'm not saying it doesn't happen at all in DL society, but there are sharp contrasts in who both communities approach gender and sexuality and I think they make all the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In DL circles education isn't as prominent a career path, so there might be a higher percentage of problematic Haredi applicants. Also, Haredi hiring decisions might give more weight to social networking - think charisma. Further, perhaps some of the better and more altruistic (male) candidates are being kept in kollel.

    I also wonder whether in the DL community predators can get access to kids more easily in other ways r"l, so they don't have to work in a school to pursue their "love" of kids.

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  3. It could also be that the chareidi community in general has avoided this problem, to the point of denying it could even exist in their circles. Facing such a mindset, a sexual predator could easily get a job working with children.

    However, in other circles, the people in charge of the schools, as well as the parents, do not have have their radar similarly hampered.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Much of the issue has to be with the way that it has been handled (or not) by Haredi leadership.

    As was seen in a high profile DL case major DL rabbonim formed an organization to deal with the issue.

    The Haredi rabbonim choose to cover up, deny and even railroad accusers. We also know well that parents are warned not to go to the authorities.

    Such an atmosphere makes it easy for predators to do their damage without much consequence.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Dati-Leumi schools mainly have female teachers for the younger boys (apart from the dati-leumi talmudei torah).
    The dati leumi schools have also had their scandals. Such as the Rosh Yeshiva of Netiv Meir and more recently Rav Elon

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Dati Leuimi schools also have clear policies in place that include guidelines and protocol.

    Action is taken and children are more protected.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What will it take?May 15, 2011 11:24 AM

    Can someone out there with kids in Charedi schools answer a question for me?

    How in the world can you send your kids to school every day knowing the policy of denial, cover-up and the rebbe is always right?

    Do you people value your child's safety?

    We hear story after story of these incidents. We hear about rabbonim openly saying not to go to authorities and yet you put your most precious possession in such hands?

    Shame on you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A lot of these issues come about because the Haredi schools are run privately, so there is a "buck stops here" attitude from the school leadership. If you don't like the teacher/situation, you are free to leave, but the hanhalah doesn't need to "rock the boat" for the other families who haven't complained. At a local Beis Yaakov several complaints have been made against a female teacher accused of emotional abuse and inappropriate behavior. The parents were told "this has never happened before and other parents haven't complained, so it can't be true". Does this answer the question?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Child Safety Second?May 15, 2011 5:06 PM

    Whereas an old lady could walk the streets of most haredi neighborhood safely at night, her grandchildren may not be so safe during broad daylight in their cheder.

    Haredim in Israeli prisons are typically there for one of two types of crimes:

    1. Fraud
    2. Sex crimes - mainly child abuse.

    Criminality exist in every society. They just express that criminality differently, according to culture, opportunity, chances of being caught, etc.

    I guess, ya pays ya money, ya takes ya choice.

    Want to be hareidi? then the cost is to compromise the safety of your kids.

    This situation can be changed - but it requires a fundamental change in hareidi rabbinical control. Take the rabbis off the crime beat!

    Report child abuse crimes to the right address - the police, not the rabbis.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Can anyone explain how on Chedrei Charedim there are some who blame a chesed organization for this rebbe being caught?

    Mah hakesher?

    ReplyDelete
  11. some people think that by blaming others they can now say they are not at fault. because Magen helped him get stopped (whether they did or not is a different story) they must be bad, and they would have no problem if not for Magen.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I saw the Chedrei Charedim.

    How was Magen involved in rooting out the perp at Avi Ezri?

    Surely the cheder should be immensely grateful to Magen?

    Or are the cheder/rabbonim simply shooting the messenger?

    ReplyDelete
  13. as far as I understand it, some parents turned to magen for guidance, before they went to the hanhala. Magen assisted them. Then the hanhala took over and Magen offered to continue and assist them in getting the school through it. The school, as far as I know, rejected the offer and brought in their own people. from what I hear the school is dealing with it fairly openly. I have no idea if they are doing a good job or not (I would not even know how to judge that), but it is being dealt with differently than in previous cases, and seems to be better.

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  14. The school's in-house people seem underqualified and overwhelmed...

    Does anyone know if they have any experience or training in this?

    Seems to be that their main qualification is Rav K trusts them to do whatever he says.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree with both Commenter Abbi and Michael. Part has to do with an "ultra-pure" repressive environment which then expresses itself in sickness/perversion. Part has to do with a coverup mentality in the ranks. (Both have a parallel in the Catholic community.)

    Add to that a total rejection of secular legal/punitive structures, and you have an environment ripe for this kind of exploitation.

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  16. in the DL system, they are dealt with faster and there are more controls on inappropriate behavior.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I would second Rafi's point - here it has potential to be handled properly for a change.

    It isn't a problem that Magen was told no thank you. It isn't a problem that the school doesn't have a child abuse expert on staff.

    The school's role is to protect the children and report violations properly. Unlike past cases where teachers kept teaching and parents were intimidated, this teacher was arrested and has been removed from teaching.

    That's a very good sign.

    Can you say it never happens in non-Charedi schools? That would be incorrect. The point here is how it's handled.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Miriam,

    It wasn't the school who was looking to protect the children and handle things "properly".

    It is the brave parents (and most probably with Magen's assistance)who are the heroes in this case.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "...this teacher was arrested and has been removed from teaching."

    The school gets zero credit for that.

    The parents turned to Magen instead of telling the school, presumably because the parents felt the school would cover it up (as has indeed happened in these cases until now).

    No kudos for the school. Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Excellent responses to Rafi's original question.

    I think the real answer is that when a group projects a holier than thou attitude, saying "You should be like us," then it really stands out when things aren't as they claim.

    ReplyDelete
  21. i am horrified.
    i just heard the suspect's version of the story. There is a lot of explaining to do from everyone around
    how is it, that a paranoid parent can just destroy a person's entire life without anybody listening to his side of the story before hand.
    these organizations put such a paranoia into the public that if the school even had a shadow of doubt to believe the educator they would be toast.
    therefore everyone runs to cover their backs and and a poor unsuspecting person gets a knock on his door in the middle of the night by the police and his entire life's accomplishment is destroyed, no parnassah and much embarrasment.
    no one tries to back him up.
    poor guy
    the world has turned upside down.
    the police arrest right away before they even have any evidence. how many times have the police arrested people for these things and left the case opened because of a lack of evidence. but the damage is done.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think this article once again shows an anti haredi agenda by people. There are dl people who are child abusers as well as haredi. Before the author writes such a blog, he should check his facts rather than slander a whole group of Jews. I just don't understand how this blog writer as well as others feels free to speak bad about Jews in public and still feel it is within the framework of halacha.
    #2-No one knows that the so called abuser really did anything. What ever happened to being innocent until proven guilty? I agree 100% that when someone is accused of such a heinous crime, they need to be removed from their position until the facts are known however when it becomes public knowledge, their life is ruined and sometimes wrongfully so. I wonder if all the people who jump on the bandwagon to "stone" someone so quickly, are willing to now support that person for the rest of his life if he is found to be innocent but can't find a job because of the negative publicity. Maybe you will also pay for his counseling due to the embarrasment and that of his families. Your all big shots but put your money where your mouth is.
    Rafi G, I would love to see the written heter you have from your Rabbeim that allow you to post many of the things you say and also that allows you to advertise certain blogs on your roll that are baalei lashon hara. Go ahead, show us. Please print the heter from your Rav but please make sure he signs it too.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am not sure what your issue is. I said there is an accusation and that was it. I did not say he is guilty, and I did not even discuss the specific case because, as I said, I dont know too many confirmed details.

    As well, I didnt say the name of the school, the name of the accused, or any other details.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'll be happy to pay for Anonymous's remedial tutoring in English, if he'll provide a statement with his real name.

    And don't forget to sign it...

    ReplyDelete
  25. Mikage-
    Stick to the issues. One doesn't have to speak english well to defend an innocent person.
    Everyone in this specific story jumped too fast to clear themselves of involvement without even hearing out the mefakeach's side of the story

    ReplyDelete
  26. Concerned ParentMay 17, 2011 10:30 PM

    The alleged pedophile had access to all the children in the school (including my own), in isolation and privacy (he locked the door routinely).

    There are literally dozens of alleged victims.

    Although the school is being open about the existence of the problem (they didn't have much choice after the arrest) - the school is now methodically covering up the *scope* of the problem.

    They have sent in a drama therapist (who is hopelessly under-qualified for this mega-piguah, a nogeah-bedevar parent from the school, and is a loyal disciple of the schools rav), in order to preserve the name of the insitituion and avoid any further reports getting to the authorities.

    Children who say they were abused are being deprogrammed (through ridicule, denial and aggression) by the therapist.

    99% of the parents are zombified and going along with this scam.

    Whatever the cost to their kids.

    Nebech.

    Someone should call the police on the minahel.

    ReplyDelete
  27. i don't believe there are dozens of alleged victims.
    even this story doesn't really add up.
    all the kids in the cheder know what allegedly happened and they are all reminiscing that every time the mefakeach touched them on the shoulder it must have also meant the same thing.
    busha vecherpa that an entire cheder of children should know abiut these things.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Concerned ParentMay 17, 2011 11:25 PM

    "busha vecherpa that an entire cheder of children should know abiut these things."

    Oh I see!

    The busha vecherpa is that now kids are *aware* that child abuse exists.
    (Perish the thought).

    But NOT that an alleged pedophile molested these kids for years under the watchful eyes of Rav S and Rav K.

    THAT's not a busha vecherpa.

    Thanks for clarifying this, Anonymous.

    (I seriously want to vomit).

    ReplyDelete
  29. if indeed he molested them then it is indeed a busha vecherpa, no argument about that, but it is a proper responce to have the entire student body know what happened?
    parents can be informed modestly and told to discuss with their children whether anything happened to them and then allegations can be dealt with accordingly.
    the children that weren't affected have no reason to know about these things.
    children don't have to be aware that molestation occurs. they have to know what shouldn't be done to them and that they can open up to their parents.
    we don't teach cheder children about the birds and the bees and we shouldn't be teaching them about the birds and the birds either.
    i hope that that clarifies a little more what i was saying and I hope that you made it to the toilet and didn't vomit on the keyboard of your computer- they can get ruined that way. (if you did you can pop off the keys carefully one by one to clean out underneath them. that's what i had to do once)
    also i don't know if Rabbi K and S can be blamed if they weren't aware but dealt responsibly once they were.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Rafi,

    As this is an ongoing saga I suggest that you move it closer to the top.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Concerned ParentMay 18, 2011 10:27 PM

    I agree - Rafi - please put this thread, or create a new one, so this ongoing situation can be publicly monitored and discussed.

    ReplyDelete
  32. actually Mr. Anon, children sadly today NEED to be aware that molestation occurs. By explaining to a child about inappropriate touching and that some adults are not good - stranger danger - we can reduce the false accusation rates where the child was not inappropriately touched and is just confused about what is or isn't appropriate. Also, the kids can tell a parent faster and issues dealt with better when kids - lifee darkum - understand what's allowed and what evil is.

    ReplyDelete
  33. The gas chambers didn't differentiate neither should weMay 19, 2011 7:42 AM

    For those who consider this "charedi bashing" or anti-charedi....

    GROW UP!

    Addressing a problem in the community doesn't make one anti-charedi just as having a policy to not accept children whose siblings are in DL schools doesn't make one anti-DL (or maybe it does).

    There are 2 points here:

    1) Care,concern and action for kid's safety doesn't make you anti-charedi just "pro" children.

    There are elements who say this just to deligitimize the people dealing with the issue.

    2) The behavior of many in the Charedi world can certainly be interpreted as anti Dati Leumi, anti chiloni, etc.

    Just read the comments on bhol.co.il and you will see exactly what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous: "...are willing to now support that person for the rest of his life if he is found to be innocent but can't find a job because of the negative publicity..."

    The "oy the man's parnasah!" argument is absurd.

    Anyone who is accused of a crime, will have some negative consequences. Whether he is accused of fraud, theft, child abuse or murder. Not a comfortable position to be in.

    But if nobody reports crime allegations to the authorities, because of concerns for the possible negative consequences on the accused (parnassah, shiduch, good name, etc etc), we would live in a lawless and dangerous jungle.

    Fair, not fair, that's just reality.

    In this case, even if this man is never found guilty(unfortunately most pedophile cases do not end in a conviction) people will/should avoid placing him in a professional position with children. True.

    However, there a numerous ways for a man to earn an honourable living. Most readers of this blog are not teachers or youth group leaders.

    Those who wish to assist this man can arrange for him to work in a machsan, a money changer, selling life insurance, retrain as a book-keeper...etc..etc..

    The parnassah excuse for not reporting child abuse allegations is always brought up, and is nonsense.

    It is simply an excuse to use the "traditional" and discredited methods of dealing with child abuse in the frum community - cover it up, or turn a blind eye.

    The absolute priority MUST be the safety of our kids.

    And this requires us to report any and all suspicions of child abuse to the authorities - the police and child protection services.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Clean Up or Cover Up?May 19, 2011 8:57 AM

    Anonymous: "..vomit on the keyboard of your computer...if you did you can pop off the keys carefully one by one to clean out underneath them. that's what i had to do once"

    Do I detect an inconsistency?

    Why wouldn't you just cover that up, anonymous, so no-one can see it?

    ReplyDelete
  36. If someone wants to contact Magen, how should they do it?

    ReplyDelete
  37. By Phone:

    New Magen "Hotline" Service: 052-765.2929
    Sunday thru Thursday - 9am-12am; 8-11pm
    Fridays - 9am-12am
    Motsei Shabbat - till Midnight

    Less-Urgent Matters: 02-9997026; 050 8789001

    By email: magenprotects@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. "we don't teach cheder children about the birds and the bees and we shouldn't be teaching them about the birds and the birds either."

    And this is why, mr. anon, your children will be much more likely to become targets for sexual molestors and will probably end up having very difficult marriages, since they will have absolutely no clue about sexuality and assume that it's horrible and untzanua. Thank you for contributing to the next generations sexual, emotional and psychological dysfunction. Read this woman's blog if you want to see a glimpse of your children's future marriages: http://unconsummated.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  39. This is so disgusting. Some persons have lost all sense of right and wrong. Issues involving this topic are rampant among the entire world, it matters not one's profession or religion. Although some settings are more conducive than others, plus children are more vulnerable. It is part of the perversion prevailing in societies, as a result of family breakdown, immorality, anything goes ideology, lack of moral religions, et al. The Greeks were immoral, the Romans were immoral, ditto on the Persians. Breakdown in morality was usually the last step in the dissolution of the particular nation's fall from power. The "Evil one" is being allowed to use all his tricks before HaShem snuffs him out.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Where can one find the link to the story on bhol?

    ReplyDelete
  41. http://bhol-forums.co.il/topic.asp?cat_id=4&topic_id=2892896&forum_id=3845

    ReplyDelete
  42. Do I detect an inconsistency?

    Why wouldn't you just cover that up, anonymous, so no-one can see it?

    no iconsistency. i cleaned it in the privacy of my office. i din't take it out to the city square to clean it

    ReplyDelete
  43. Do I detect an inconsistency?

    Why wouldn't you just cover that up, anonymous, so no-one can see it?

    so perhaps we should take all the first grade students of the chadarim and show them all graphic porno movies so they should know what to do.
    also check our her side bars at that sight. you will see that one has nothing to do with the other. despite her openness that she describes there she still has her problem. so your siliness won't help anything.
    apparently you have no concept of kedusha and therefore can't appreciate the desire to raise kids in an atmosphere of kedusha vetahara.

    ReplyDelete
  44. woops that last comment was to commenter abby. guess i did paste an extra time by accident

    ReplyDelete
  45. Can anyone confirm if Nitai Melamed is treating (therapy) individual kids from Avi Ezri?

    ReplyDelete
  46. It IS a more common problem in the charedi families and schools. According the the revacha, 70 percent of reported cases that they deal with are charedi...and this community is more likely NOT to report than others. Conclusion: If you want to protect your children from child molestation better belong to a community other than charedi.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Anonymous feels it is a "busha vecherpa" that the issue of what occurred in the cheder is being discussed openly. I agree, but not for the same reasons. It is correct that this is a sensitive issue that is meant to be discussed gently between children and their parents--if one hopes to create the kind of safe and supportive environment a victim needs in order to reveal what has happened to him. Many victims may feel overwhelmed in the current climate and not talk. It is also correct to say that if this is being openly discussed among all the boys, it will be difficult to differentiate between true victims and boys along for the ride, at least from a legal perspective. This muddies the waters terribly for legal purposes WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY THE SCHOOL IS HANDLING THINGS THIS WAY. The testimonies of other victims may be deemed invalid for exactly this reason which may lead to not enough evidence to convict which suits the cheder just fine; this way they can say it was dismissed for lack of evidence and not have the stain of having hired someone who was later convicted of molestation under their noses. Of course this leaves him free to move on to the next cheder, maybe yours... Busha vecherpa indeed.

    ReplyDelete

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