Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tzitz Eliezar - Incest: Obligation to call the police to stop physical & psychological harm

Tzitz Eliezar (Nishmas Avraham 4:208-211): …  2) Concerning the second case where the father is repeatedly raping his little daughter and there is no concern that he will kill her – what is the halacha regarding the previous questions? In my opinion the halacha is the same as it was in the first case where there was a concern for pikuach nefesh (life threatening). That is because the father has the status of rodef (pursuer) after prohibited sexual relations, which are, treated the same as one who is a rodef to kill someone. That is true only since the incestuous rape of his daughter entails the punishment of kares – even though she is just a child but that is the father’s punishment and therefore there is a clear obligation to stop him… All this is in addition to the halachic fact that there is an obligation to save the girl from physical and psychological damage. Thus taking this all together the answer concerning calling the police is the same as in the case of physical abuse. Concerning the cases mentioned there were an additional two questions that were mentioned concerning the law of moser. In regards to the first case concerning physical danger, the parents have the status of rodef and therefore it is permitted to inform the police about them. … just as in the first case of physical abuse if it is clear to him that there is a danger it is permitted to inform on him since the parents have the status of rodef. Similarly it is also permitted in the case of incestuous rape because the father is also a rodef – though after prohibited sexual relations rather than danger to life as I mentioned before. Secondly even if the sexual relationship with the child is not one that incurs the punishment of kares [and thus the rapist would not be considered a rodef] it is still permitted to inform the police. This is so both in order to save her from being raped and also in order to save the rapist from this wickedness. … in our case the motivation is to stop him from committing a sin by informing on him. With such a motivation it is permitted to inform on him. Furthermore it is permitted to inform on him to stop him from harming the young child. … Look at the Shulchan Aruch (C.M. 388:7 where the Rema says that there is a view that if a person is beaten by another person he is able to go and complain to the non-Jewish authorities – even if it causes his assailant great harm. Furthermore the Shach (C.M. 388:45) makes a similar distinction. He says that it is permitted to inform on the assailant in order to prevent the assailant from continuing his beatings. Therefore concerning the present case – it is obviously much more severe than a mere beating. Consequently it is permitted to inform on the rapist – both because it is like the case of an assailant who hits and even more important – so that he is prevented from raping her anymore. It is important to remember that the beis din is considered the protecting father of little children.

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