Received this letter today with permission to post it. Any constructive suggestions welcome. I don't deal with this type of assessment - and I am not sure it is even is valid. Therefore I think the family needs to be informed as a first step - and the father evaluated by an experienced professional. Since he hasn't molested anybody recently - there is no requirement either according to halacha or secular law to report him. The issue is entirely whether he is dangerous.
[Update 11/16/2011]. I discussed this issue with a number of psychologists who deal with abuse. The consensus was that while testing can be useful - there in no test which can establish that a person is not a threat. So while it does happen that an abuser stops - it is difficult to determine whether a particular abuser has permanently stopped and is no longer a danger. Often it simply means that he choses his victims more carefully so that he doesn't get caught. Therefore this abuser can not be trusted and care must always be taken not to leave him alone with children. So while there is no requirement to report him to the police in the absence of any known abuse in many years - he is a major concern. However how to inform others is not a simple matter - especially where no one is willing to file a complaint. Therefore an expert in child abuse should be consulted for advice how to proceed. It is important to know that sometimes an abuser will abstain for 20 or 30 years and then start again.
Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,I am writing because of the work you have done into the problem of pedophilia, etc. My question is as follows.
A (female) student/friend of mine was incested as a child by her father, a rabbi from a prominent Chassidic family. She knows of cousins who were also abused by him, many years earlier, when he was still a bochur. (These cousins include two women and a man). She (my student) has reason to believe that her brother and another sister were also incested. My student is now over forty and the abuse occurred between age 2 and 12.; Her father admitted to it. Until last night she had not spoken with anyone in the family about it (except her mother).
My friend has distanced herself from her family (gently but firmly with no explanation) starting about 10 years ago, but in the course of her own healing process she realized that her nieces and nephews are likely in danger for the scientific research suggests that a pedophile rarely ceases his predatory behavior at his own initiative, even in elder years (her father is probably in his late sixties). So yesterday she spoke with her brother, and told him her story, and charged him with informing their other siblings to be cautious with their children and to not leave them alone on any regular basis, with their grandfather.
The brother took it in, and then said that there is this therapist who gives people a test that is supposed to distinguish between pedophiles who are likely to be still dangerous and those who are probably not. He wants to ask his father to take this test to see if it is really necessary to inform his siblings. (Also if his father is really a danger than maybe he must inform the next generation his own children, nieces and nephews to watch their children).
My question is,: Do you know anything about this test. Do you think it is reliable. What if the perpetrator lies about the extent of his previous offences, can it detect that. Do you know about this therapist. Is there someone you can refer me to who might help me sort this out. My friend/student does not want to be involved any more. She feels like she did her bit by telling her brother, and feels that further involvement would be harmful to her, so she has dropped the ball in my court.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks