Forward An Orthodox parent whose child tells him he’s been sexually abused may not take that child’s claim to the police without first getting religious sanction from a specially trained rabbi, the head of America’s leading ultra-Orthodox umbrella group has told the Forward.
But one year after acknowledging that no such registry of trained rabbis exists, Rabbi David Zwiebel said that his group has now dropped the idea of developing one.
One of the main reasons, said Zwiebel, was a warning from Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes — issued only a few days earlier — that rabbis who prevent families from going to police could be arrested.
“If they [rabbis] don’t give the right advice, they can be in trouble,” said Zwiebel. “Why would you want to create some sort of a list that would make them more vulnerable?”
Zwiebel, who is the executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, said that despite the absence of such a registry, his group would staunchly resist increased public pressure to lift its requirement that parents obtain rabbinic permission.
“We’re not going to compromise our essence and our integrity because we are nervous about a relationship that may be damaged with a government leader,” he said.