Sunday, March 28, 2010

Child abuse R' Silman - force payment for therapy

This is from the current issue of Yeschurun


  1. Thank you for posting this important teshuva. Although you didn't post the "punchline," I assume from the title of the post that he says to require payment?

    Also, R' Silman makes a fundamental point at the end of answering his first question, which, given the way many of us currently handle such cases, is quite radical. In deciding whether to report an allegation of abuse to the secular authorities, not only do you not need a formal "trial" in B"D—or even a court action by B"D, or even a psak halacha from a rov—but it is actually more advisable to not become delayed by those steps. Rather, one should go straight to the authorities who have the legal auspices and practical capacities to address the issue in a way that rabbonim and talmidei chachomim do not.

  2. Footnote 2 seems vague to me. How is he proposing to define "agreement"

  3. I agree that this tshuvah, which I hope to read in full when I can get it, is groundbreaking in saying to go to the police first and ask "shaylas" later.

    A major breakthrouh for Klal Yisroel. Mazal Tov.

    As for payments, it doesn't say here how the Rov rules, but the question of paying for therapy, it would appear, is a question of the chiyuv D'oraysa of Vrapoh Yerapeh.
    What about the other 4 Chiyuvim of Hachovel B'chaveiro?

    Nezek would be difficult to evaluate, although there is certainly a damage to a person's value on the shidduch market in our society when they are victim of molestation. Sheves needs to be looked at because people who suffer from chronic symptoms of PostTraumaticStressDisorder often find it difficult to hold jobs, Tzaar is obvious, and Boyshes is actually Mefurash Bikrah:

    The Gemorah learns out the Chiyuv to pay Boyshes for humiliating someone from a case of sexual abuse: "Vehechzika B'mvushav - And if she groped his private parts" "Vkatza Es Kappa - You shall cut off her hand", which is interpreted in Torah SheBaal Peh to mean make her pay damages.

    One Rov paskened for me that since the halacha is to evaluate these chiyuvim based on what a person would be willing to pay not to go through the damaging experience, and since in the case of child sexual abuse, it can often be practically impossible to set a price on one's basic dignity, it is a Mitzvah to sue in the Arkaos for every dollar you can get. The more the perpetrator pays, the closer he can come to fulfilling his chiyuv D'oraysa.

    In some cases, when a victim is now older, the police will not get involved because of ridiculous statute of limitations laws (that do not apply to any other seriuos crime). Furthermore, when a Rav takes advantage of his authority as an adult to coerce students into sexual activity, such as were the cases of Rabbi Elon AND Rabbi Tropper, there is no law broken. It is here that a Beys Din and or a civil suit could be most helpful in holding the guilty accountable.


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