Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rav Silman: Reporting molesters to the police


  1. Dayan Sillman is on Rav Wosner's beis din. There has been a lashon kodesh original of this floating around for years.

    But none of these teshuvos seem to suffice for the photo op gedolim of 42 Broadway.

  2. "Men should be selected...requires special expertise"

    Rav Hershel Shachter also said that you should ask a Rovin each case before reporting but it should be a rov that understands these inyanim. When asked if he could name any, he was unable.

    I do not know what happens in Israel, but here in America, Ohel ran the only frum program for sex offender treatment. It closed down because there is no system to make sure the offenders stay in treatment and too many offenders dropped out and continued offending.

    Therapists who are trained by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers suggest that reporting to law enforcement is the best way to assure compliance with treatment and with a professional safety plan.

    This Tshuvah is actally quite damaging to the safety of Jewish children because it naively assumes that there are rabbanim who are expert, and continues the myth that it is helpful to involve the rabbanim in the process from the start of confronting molesters.

    The average "kool-aid" drinking Jew will continue to allow him or herself to be convinced by corrupt or ignorant rabbis not to report molesters thereby continuing to embolden the predators who prey on our children, and increasing the Mageyfa, R"L.

    When will the rabbis learn? If this dayan had a child molested by a rebby, who the yeshiva knew about and instead of reporting asked a "rov" who told them it is not necessary, as usually happens, I suspect he would pasken differently.

  3. aha was maranan rav svei and rav pam photo op gedolim too?

  4. This Tshuvah is actally quite damaging to the safety of Jewish children because it naively assumes that there are rabbanim who are expert, and continues the myth that it is helpful to involve the rabbanim in the process from the start of confronting molesters.
    Rav Silman in fact has had a program for a number of years which is coordinated with the police as well as psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.
    Thus he is writing from his perspective and experience - he is not saying what the reality is elsewhere.
    You are right that competent dayanim to make decisions in this area are readily available.

  5. From what you say, it sounds like Rav Silman has a unique and sophisticated system.

    Here in America, the Agudah has made it clear that they do not want any part of working with the police, as their spokesman told the NY Times that the District Attorney should not be seen to be making a "power grab" from the rabbis. In addition, he publicly stated that an alternative to jail should be set up for frum sex offenders "because they have to earn a living for their families."

    I would like to point out, that if Rav Silman has such a system, and if it indeed is working to protect children as well or better than the secular system here in the States, in which people are encouraged to report all crimes to the police, it would be a great service if he would publicize or allow to be publicized in some detail how it works.

    Knowledge that going to the police is allowed (as indicated in the Tshuvah) is not nearly enough to convince most Jewish parents to do this, nor has it proven enough to convince any rabbanim here in America to cooperate with the police. Cover ups continue to abound. Rabbanim in frum communities from Baltimore to Lakewood to Monsey to Brooklyn continue to threaten victims and their families not to report.

    But knowing that real live rabbanim like Rav Silman are actually cooperating with law enforcement on a regular basis would certainly encourage Jews (even perhaps some rabbis) to reconsider and think more logically about the issue and would lead to untold suffering and evil being stopped.

  6. I have in earlier posts written about Rav Silman. Simply type the word silman in the search windown at the top of the blog. His program is not a secret here in Israel

  7. According to askanim who were at the meeting, Agudah was told by it's lawyers to do nothing about child abuse because they were guilty of covering up and abetting in the past and there could be financial sanctions & criminal charges. Of the gedolim at the meeting, Rav Pam protested that the advice is keneged the Torah but R' Elya Svei pushed and prevailed that the advice should be followed.

  8. Implicit in Rav Silman's tshuvah is the notion that some molesters can be trusted to do teshuvah, and therefore, may be referred to treatment, and not reported to the police.

    The teshuva states, for example, at point 2, that some molesters may be removed from their employment only, and not reported to the police, where there is "no concern" that he will attack children outside of his employment. At point 7 it is stated that treatment is preferable to treatment for some molesters.

    The logic is internally flawed. The overwhelming professional consensus is that there is no cure for child sex offenders. Even with a lifetime of treatment, there are repeat offenders.

    The public danger is also far too great. The public should not be asked to risk catastrophic harm to children based on the dubious promises of sex offenders that they will not reoffend.

    Referral to the police almost always means a criminal conviction, and in the age of Google and Internet driven background checks, that means the public is fairly protected.

    One Hareidi psychologist, Dr. Benzion Twerski wrote these words on December 6, 2009, in a comment section on Rabbi Yakov Horowitz's site:

    "The main reason we cannot rely on or accept the perpetrator's teshuvah is because we can NEVER know whether it has happened. No Rav, no Beis Din, no individual has any way to know anything about that. HKB"H alone knows, and He is not telling us anything. All we can rest on is his demonstrated behaviors, and we are lousy at predicting future behaviors, even the best of psychologists and researchers.

    The bitter tears and beggings for forgiveness do not shake me much. Here's why. In all cases I have seen, the nature of the request for mechila goes something like this: Please forgive me, my family is shattered, it is so painful to watch this, I am so lonely without a normal relationship with you, etc. The entire issue is the pain of the abuser - not the victim. We can prepare the abuser with a proper bakoshas mechila, but that just places words into his mouth. They need to grow and mature into a state of mind in which they have true concern for the pain they caused, undertake to do whatever can to help the victim tolerate the pain and deal with it better, and demonstrate a total attitude-behavior change in which the selfish feelings will not dominate his life. And that is a tough calling.

    Yes, long term therapy can help, true teshuvah can help, it is not hopeless. But the achievement will not arrive as quickly as a perpetrator will seek to ask mechila to get the parsha done and over with - again selfish.

    We need to get away from the discussion of teshuvah. It is not relevant to us, even though it is a real issue. "

  9. And the next day, December 7, 2009, Dr. Twerski wrote these words:

    "We are still discussing teshuvah, and I’m perplexed why. No human, dayan or otherwise can possibly base a conclusion that judges someone else’s teshuvah. We cannot know whether it is good, or not good. We are not privy to knowing this at all. We recite the Ani Maamin that only HKB”H knows thoughts of people. Yes, there have been tzaddikim who were sometimes able to reach beyond the natural boundaries of nature and access such information.

    Only a true bakoshas mechila from a victim can render teshuvah possible. Is the perpetrator ready for this, and is the victim prepared to grant a mechila gemura? Can we assess this?

    I’m not denying the merits of teshuvah. I still believe that the question is not relevant to us as we have no capacity of determining anything of value about it."

  10. Ombudsman:

    Your information is false and indeed lacks an iota of basis in reality.

  11. Additionally problematic is the idea of a dual criminal justice legal system for chareidi Jews and all others. Chareidim get the benefit of a beis din which may allow them to avoid prosecution. I believe that beis din in Israel has legal jurisdiction over personal status only - e.g., marriage, divorce - and not in criminal justice.

    Beis din also creates an incentive for lies and deception. To avoid referral to the police and prosecutors, you lie.

    As noted elsewhere, Aguda's spokesman in America told the NY Times that he also wants a dual system. Religious breadwinners who are also sex molesters should receive a different standard of justice. Strictly speaking, of course, the constitutional doctrine of Equal Protection of the Law stands in the way.


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