Thursday, March 31, 2011

Abuse: Yosef Kolko case - Should beis din's social worker have to testify?


A former yeshiva teacher and camp counselor spoke in detail about sexual abuse accusations against him to a social worker hired by a rabbinical council months before the case was brought to law enforcement, according to testimony in Superior Court Wednesday.

Now, an assistant prosecutor wants the social worker to be able to testify against the teacher, Yosef Kolko, at upcoming criminal proceedings regarding accusations that he molested a boy he met while a camp counselor.

Kolko's attorney, Michael E. Wilbert, argues that his client, as a patient, is entitled to confidentiality.


  1. It would kind of hard to prove that Kolko was the patient of the social worker, as the social worker was hired by the B"D.

    Furthermore even for Mental Health professionals, there is in many states a legal mandate to report planned or ongoing criminal activity that will endanger the life or well-being of another. So had he known and not reported as required, he may also be legally liable(depending on the State).

  2. 1. Mekubal, the article does not state who was paying. Probably Kolko if this case follows the pattern in other cases of which I am aware. Secondly, the patient retains confidentiality rightrs regardless of who is paying unless they waive them, or it falls under a number of exceptions that are primarily court orders or public health emergencies (e.g., reporting diseases for which quarantine is critical).

  3. Yerachmiel

    The article says quite plainly that the Social worker was hired by the Rabbinical Court.

    It also says that it is occurring in NJ which has mandatory reporting laws, for child molestation. A mental health professional or social worker who does not report a known offense is according to NJ law an accomplice to the act.

    Doctor-Patient privilege is only extended Medical Health professionals as opposed to Mental health professionals, social workers or clergy.

  4. Wouldn't a mandated reporter be required to testify? What is the debate over, then?

  5. Mental health professionals in NJ have been fighting for patient client privilege since I was in University(and probably before that). My guess would be that the debate would be over whether or not it fell within the limits of mandated reporting, as well as the classic struggle for patient-client privilege.


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