Sunday, January 17, 2010

A survivor of Mondrowitz speaks up

Jersey State

As a victim of sexual abuse, and the subsequent failure of his childhood community to follow up on the incident, Mutty Weiss of Highland Park says Jews need to "vote with their dollars" to make sure their institutions are safe.

Community members need to ask schools if they have safety plans and detailed policies for dealing with sexual predators, as well as if they administer background checks and fingerprinting for new employees, Weiss said at the Orthodox Forum of Highland Park/Edison's "Facing Up to Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Community" program Jan. 9 at Congregation Ohr Torah in Edison. For schools that answer "no," Jews must send a message by exploring other options for their children's education, Weiss said.[...]

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    In light of the recent ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court against the U.S. extradition request for Mondrowitz, Rav Moshe Shternbuch was asked what the proper Torah response should be. Rav Shternbuch’s response was that even years later, an offender should still be punished “Lemaan Yishmeu VeYirau" - a biblical term meaning "so that all should hear and fear.”

    This statement indicates that there is an obligation on the community to ensure that such types of activity be taken very seriously and to publicly demonstrate that offenders will be punished.

    The extradition request came a full quarter century after he arrived in Israel. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office had indicted him 24 years ago on suspicion of committing 13 crimes against five boys aged nine to 13.

    Justice Ayala Procaccia wrote that Mondrovich's right to a proper judicial procedure would be harmed if the extradition was carried out. She explained that this was on account of the lengthy period of time that had elapsed. Justices Elyakim Rubinstein and Miriam Naor agreed with Justice Procaccia, making the decision unanimous, and unappealable. The Supreme Court had rejected a lower court ruling handed down on February 10, 2008, upholding the state's request to extradite the suspect.

    In the past Rabbi Shternbuch has warned schools that they have to take quite seriously any allegation of abuse and misconduct along these lines and not ignore rumors but rather investigate them properly. His views were written in the latest edition of his responsa (Teshuvos VeHanhagos Volume Five.)


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