Thursday, July 18, 2013

Can molesters such as Mondrowitz and Lanner do teshuva & have a fresh start?

Updated I am raising an important question. Can a person, such as Mondrowitz or Lanner, who have abused numerous people over a long period of time - do teshuva and start fresh? Teshuva is a fundamental idea in Judaism. In addition once a person has done proper teshuva it is prohibited to remind him of his past misdeeds. Does this apply to every sinner and every type of sin?

This question does not present a problem for most of us concerning a person who once spoke lashon harah or stole a small amount of money when he was 14. However when we get to serious crimes that have been done to many people over an extended period of time - is teshuva possible? Let's start at the top. If Amalek or Hitler decided to repent - should they be accepted?  Does a person who lost his family in the concentration camps have to accept the sincere repentance of the Nazi soldiers who killed them? See this previous post

The issue recently was raised concerning Baruch Lanner who has allegedly been accepted by Rabbi Taubes into his home.  See Jewish Standard for more details .   Someone recently made the allegation on this blog that an alleged long time molester Richard Andron has been accepted as a baal teshuva by his rabbi who has allegedly prohibited anyone from reminding him of his past. Assuming these two individuals have in fact done teshuva - do they need to be accepted without reservation - as any other Jew? Would they get an aliyah in your shul?  Would you have them sit at the head table at any public affair? Would you allow your daughter to marry his son. Are you allowed to tell others about their past deeds?

My answer is that while on a theoretical level every sinner without exception can in fact repent and one is not allowed to remind a repentant sinner of his past - there is no halachic requirement to be stupid (in the immortal words of the Chofetz Chaim). The data on pedophiles and sexual abusers is extremely clear - they can never again be trusted.  Thus if it is a question of the welfare of your children or those of others - one does not have to be apologetic about reminding a pedophile to avoid yichud with children and to take appropriate steps needed to protect society from his possible urges.

A proof to this obvious and common sense understanding of halacha is found in a contradiction in the Mishneh Torah regarding heretic - which the Rambam himself reconciled in the way I am suggesting regarding sexual molesters. The following is from my Daas Torah page 106.

Is the Repentance of a Heretic accepted?
Contradiction in Rambam concerning repentance?

Rambam (Hilchos Teshuva 3:14): Concerning the sinners and heretics who lose their portion in the World to Come. … that is only if they die without repenting. However, if they truly repent then they obtain the World to Come since there is nothing which stands in the way of repentance. Therefore, if a person has been a heretic all his life but repents at the end then he has the World to Come…. All the wicked, the heretics and those like them, if they repent either openly or in private they are accepted

Rambam (Hilchos Avoda Zara 2:5): … a Jewish heretic is not considered a part of the Jewish people and he is never accepted back even if repents…It is prohibited to talk with them or reply to them in any manner…

Resolution of contradiction

Rambam (Letter #615:8): …concerning the apparent contradiction [between Hilchos Teshuva and Hilchos Avoda Zara] as to whether a heretic can repent and obtain the World to Come. In fact, there is no contradiction. The statement found in Hilchos Avoda Zara that his repentance is not accepted means that he is always presumed to be a heretic. His apparent repentance is to be assumed to be from fear or to fool people. The other statement from Hilchos Teshuva that their repentance is accepted is referring to the case where they have in fact genuinely repented - in their relationship to G‑d. That is why they obtain the World to Come. It is specifically dealing with their relationship to G‑d. The first statement from Hilchos Teshuva is describing their relationship with other people - and in that case, their repentance is presumed to be false.

43 comments :

  1. Some clarity in HalachaJuly 15, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    IF YOU LOOK AT THE WORDS OF THE POISKIM CITED IN MANY MANY PLACES (IF REQUESTED I CAN SUPPLY SOME) THE TESHUVA THAT IS MEANT IS NOT MERELY OUR ACCEPTING THE SINNERS CLAIM THAT HE OFFERED SOME WORDS OF REPENTANCE BUT IT INVOLVES DIFFICULT PAINFUL ACTS OF SELF AFFLICTION SUCH AS TANEISIM AND SEGUFIM. ONLY AFTER HE FULFILLED SUCH A REGIMEN OF TESHUVA (AS PRESCRIBED TO HIM BY A POISEK) WHICH IS ALWAYS ACCORDING TO THE LEVEL OF SIN, IT THEN IS CONSIDERED THAT HE HAS "DONE" TESHUVA.

    FOR INSTANCE, CERTAIN SINS REQUIRE THAT AFTER THE PERSON HAS FASTED THE NUMBER OF FAST DAYS AS PRESCRIBED, HE WILL NEVER AGAIN IN HIS LIFE BE PERMITTED TO ENJOY MEAT AND WINE AS WELL AS OTHER FORMS OF ABSTINENCE FROM THE MOST BASIC OF EARTHLY COMFORTS.

    TODAY THE WORLD IS VERY LIBERAL TO ACCEPT CRIMINALS AND CONSIDER THEM AS REHABILITATED, BUT WE ARE IN FACT DOING THEM A DISSERVICE BECAUSE AFTER 120 THEY WILL FIND OUT THAT THEY WERE DECEIVED INTO BELIEVING THAT THEY WERE GOOD TO GO AND THEY WILL PAY THE DEARER PRICE THEN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would appreciate sources. Please stop using all caps.

      The presecription of fasts etc is not required by din. It is a way of atonement to reduce suffering in the world to come - but it isn't absolutely required to be considered having done teshuva

      Delete
    2. Most perpetrators we speak of

      1) never aknowledged their deeds. Since vidui is the first step of teshuva, how can they have done teshuva without viduy?

      2) never paid adquate compensation to their victims. (this would be the second step of teshuva bein adam le chavero... How should someone forgive on words in the air, if there is no tachles behind it).

      3) never respected the victim enough to publicly aknowledge that the victim is telling the truth and that they themselves were lying.

      4) never asked the victim to be forgiven

      5) never could be believed when saying they would never do it again.


      all these are so obvious in most cases, that it would be preposterous to speak of teshuva.

      Delete
    3. PS: If I were a rabbi, I would impose the jail term and adequate monetary compensation as part of the tikkun.

      How come many rabbis are so gullible as to believe the "I did teshuva"-storyline?

      Delete
    4. Some clarity in HalachaJuly 15, 2013 at 6:48 PM

      You are right as far the the ETZEM teshuva is concerned but in order for us to accept him and to consider him a baal teshuva there things are required. See:

      Shulchal Aruch Yore Deah 119,15 and Ta"z there 16.

      Furthermore, even after this, he may never again in his life hold a psition like SHLIACH TZIBUR (Kal V'chomer RAV) Shu"A Orach Chaim 53,4 V'shelo Yatza etc. and Mishna B'rurah there 78 and more.

      Delete
    5. Some clarity in HalachaJuly 15, 2013 at 7:01 PM

      Also see Shu"t Rashda"m Orach Chaim 33 where it is clearly stated that it is not sufficient even if he "swears" that he has changed his ways and will never again do those things, until he does such a teshuva that is evident to everyone.

      Delete
    6. Remark wrote:
      "all these are so obvious in most cases, that it would be preposterous to speak of teshuva."

      Excellent summary of the problem i.e., why some sinners are declared to have done teshuva without fulfilling these requirments?

      Delete
    7. Some clarity in HalachaJuly 15, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      Thank you REMARK!

      See my comment in the previous discussion - "Does a victim have to forgive abuser if he asks three times?"

      Delete
  2. Could there be an analogy here with alcoholism? That is, if an alcoholic dries out and sincerely begins to lead a proper life free of alcohol, he still needs to be on guard against any alcohol consumption or even high-alcohol social situations, so nothing will start him on a new binge. Likewise, the offender who has served time should not be placed in any situation that could cause a relapse. If he has not even served time, a relapse might be more likely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An important point which has to be considered.

      Delete
  3. I would say that the possibility exists, with the caveat that forgiveness is easily gained, but trust might never again be given, especially considering that psychology believes pedophilia to be an uncurable illness.

    I can't speak to the Lanner situation however regarding Mondrowitz, it is clear that he has demonstrated no form of remorse and continues to put himself into the same situations which allowed him to abuse children before, so I would have to say that it seems to be a bit of a non-issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the fact that someone doesn't trust is not an indication of the halacha. The question is whether a person declared to having done teshuva needs to be trusted.

      Regarding Mondrowitz I was told by a talmid chachom that I know who had discussed this with a univerally accepted godol who stated that Mondrowitz had done teshuva!

      This is where the problem comes from. There are people out there who have been declared to have done teshuva by major rabbis. Do I have to accept those pronouncements especially regarding sexual molesters?

      Delete
    2. If the same person who once covered up or lied for an offender now declares that the offender has done teshuva, the declaration is suspect.

      Delete
    3. Yeah I heard that rumor, they were saying it before the attempted extradition three years ago, when the police found child porn in his house(according to media reports). So I'm not buying that he did Teshuva. If he did let him express remorse and apologize to his victims.

      Delete
    4. Forget about what he has told a talmud chacham. Has he apologized to the victims or their parents?

      Delete
    5. Given the high rate of recividism of child molesters, I don't believe Mondrowitz has done, or can do teshuva. Sad to say he wasn't only a molester. He was also a phoney psychologist/therapist and ripped off tons of money from his clientele. I recall that one of his fake resume's boasted of a degree from Harvard! Moreover he hasn't taken a single step towards even starting the teshuva process.

      This reminds me of Martin Grossman- who was put to death a few years ago for murdering a Florida State Trooper. While commendable to attempt to spare a Jewish life, his supporters at the time made Grossman's so-called "teshuva" a major component of their attempt to obtain clemency from then Governor Charlie Crist as the death penalty date approached. The Aguda, every major Haredi publication, and numerous Rabbonim used Grossman's adoption of Orthodoxy while sitting on death row as proof that he had done teshuva- as if THEY knew. After the death sentence, the same group made him into a Tzaddik; one commentator hoped that Grossman would be a "meilitz yosher" for the Klal Yisroel. So the whole notion that a low life like Grossman, Mondrowitz or Lanner can be presumed to undergo the teshuva process by virtue of their incarceration or refuge taken in Israel seem to be a bad joke.

      Delete
    6. Martin Grossman had a mental age of 12. He was not responsible for his actions. Please don't call him a low life.

      Delete
    7. Martin Grossman had a mental age of 12. He was not responsible for his actions. Please don't call him a low life.

      Delete
  4. Even if we were required to accept they had done Teshuva would we have to trust them? If someone tried to kill you once and then did Teshuva çould you ever trust him again, could you walk with him in a dark alley? Why is this any different?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Veda al ma sheEfshar leHoshivJuly 15, 2013 at 8:02 PM




    Molesters at best, if they claim to have done Tshuva, are bibchinat haomer echta veashiv ein maspikin beyado laasot tshuva. It is a known fact that they keep on repeating their aggression no matter what. It is analogous with a Sorrer Umoreh shehu nidan al sofah, because of his ADDICTION he will stop at nothing! Furthermore, it is incumbent on both parents to decree in public lifnei kahal vaeidah Baneneu ze Sorrer Umoreh. It is the Torah testifying to the nature of things, that Tshuva will not do on SUCH sins when it is yet only in POTENTIAL, al achat pi kama when it already has MATERILIZED.

    Amalek and Hitler according to the Talmud cannot repent,
    1) Reshaim afilu al Pitcho shel gehinom enam ossim Tshuva,
    2) Those Yidden that died al Kiddush Hashem at the hands of the Nazis that were Mechallel Hashem, No Tshuva or Kapara for them ever. Genocide, High crimes against Humanity, even by the United Nations is recognized as Unforgivable.

    The Public at large MUST be notified in order to be aware and protect themselves from these predators. The ideal would have been to lock them up in the same prison amongst themselves and throw away the key, even if they have relatives all the way to the TOP. They can all sit at one long HEADED TABLE, be each other mechabed with Aliyas to their hearts content. And finally, " Hamassi bito leMolester, keilu kofsso linei haARI".

    BOTTOM LINE:

    Tshuva, for starters, consists of at least Charata al haAVAR, veKABALA al haATID. A Molester has neither, once he knows that he WILL again do that in the FUTURE, he then can NEVER have a Charata al haAVAR, period!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Rabbi Eisensohn, you say Mondrowitz has allegedly done tshuva. Has he ever spoken to the victims?

    -ben dov

    ReplyDelete
  7. One must differentiate between innate and learned behaviour.
    Most pedophiles are "programmed" to be attracted to children and also lack the restraint that they need to avoid sinning from those urges.
    As a result you could put a person in prison as long as you want. When he comes out he'll still be the same person.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mondrowitz is innocent.

    Never was convicted of a thing.

    And even if you think he is guilty, you have no halachic right to claim as such.

    ReplyDelete
  9. ANYONE can do teshuva. End quote.

    There is no reason to think these guys cannot do teshuva any more than any run of the mill person who hit someone else or stole from someone cannot do teshuva.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Survivor of MondrowitzJuly 17, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      Mondrowitz never did teshuva and probably never will. He never contacted me, his victim, to ask for mechila. I have long struggled with should I forgive him if he calls to apologize. But then I was enlightened that I need not strugle with this moral dilemma since an actuary would give a statistical 0% chance he would ask mechila. Is is beyond his mental capacity to process doing teshuva. Heaven knows he is a genius but his brain is meshuga ledavar echad. In a very twisted turn of events, I have been harassed by shadchanim to entertain taking his nephew as a son-in-law. You can imagine the painful memories it evokes every time and also the answer I have given the shadchanim........

      Delete
  10. There are distinctions to be made between Aveiros bein Odom LaMokom & Bein Odom L'chaveiroh. If someone deliberately ate a loaf of bread on Pesach, following a genuine Teshuvah, he is totally accepted and one may not even remind him of his transgression. In a transgression against his fellow, the Teshuvah enhances the perpetrator's status in the Heavenly court, in this world we are able to forgive but certainly must not forget.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Back in 2009, when I first started blogging about abuse I was frustrated by all the rabbonim who waved the teshuvah claim inappropriately.

    I wrote a post as a fable about a rav addressing that very issue. It is long but sober and may make good Tisha B'Av reading.

    http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/rabbi-besdin-attacks-agudah-a-fable-that-should-be-the-truth/

    Part II is best saved for after Tisha B'Av

    ReplyDelete
  12. you should consider: a murderer was not excused from execution because he did teshuva...

    if he did teshuva, all the better for him, but this did not interfere with his punishment...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think the concept and realization of whether a person did teshuva is thrown around a bit too loosely. Some of us may recall the tragic story of Martin Grossman, who received the death penalty in Florida for killing a Florida State Trooper years before. At the time, it was claimed that Grossman was on drugs (proven false), had an IQ below 77 (never divulged) and had a horrible family upbringing. He essentially beat the trooper to near death with her flashlight, and then Grossman shot her with her own gun.

    Grossman was sent to prison and sentenced to death. While in prison, he became a religious Jew, purportedly put on Tefillin each day, and by decree of those around him, did "teshuva". The latter point became a major piece of emotional evidence in the widespread efforts to have the death sentence vacated by then-governor Charlie Crist. It was a constant narrative in virtually all of the public statements issued by various Rabbonim, the Agudah, and was repeated ad-nauseum in every blog and discussion group hosted by Haredi oriented web sites and news groups. The presumption that Grossman did teshuva was therefore taken as a chok l'halacha- despite zero evidence to support it, other than the observations of third party supporters who were really up in arms over the fact that a frum guy was going to be put to death for a crime he actually committed. They made Grossman into a Tzaddik; one commentator even said he would be a melitz yashar on behalf of Klal Yisroel- all for a guy who beat a women to death and then learned how to wrap tefillin while sitting on death row.

    This narratative was so widely repeated- "Grossman did teshuva", so cloyingly thrown about, that it became a massive chillul hashem. To pose the question whether Grossman, Mondrowitz, or Lanner can, or did, teshuva, should really concentrate on their actions and personal attempts to unwind the trouble they caused. Quite frankly, I don't think its possible.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tshuvah is between the molester and Hashem. Our job is to keep these people from re-offending. As they are invariable unable to stop by themselves, they need to be reported to police and sentenced to jail as you would any other rapist or murderer. The only deterrent society has is jail time. Public trials also inform others what the molester has done so they can take care when he is released. It also helps the victim heal.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Teshuvah is always possible, no matter what the crime, however some crimes just harden the crimianl and make it so much harder for him to do Tehsuvah.

    I think the real issue here is, "is it really incumbent upon us to figure out whether someone has done proper teshuvah or not?" (which in my judgement might very well be an impossible task. Only Hashem who knows how to read hearts can know if someones Teshuvah is real or not.

    Having said that, I do believe that if an ex-perpetrator cannot understand or accept why he doesn't get an Aliya, this to me seems to make it quite clear that he doesn't appreciate the severity of his past actions, which is one of the first things needed in order to do Teshuvah.
    Same thing should be said about an ex-perpetrator who protests the fact that he isn't being trusted to be alone with children; I believe a proper ex-perpetrator Baal Teshuvah would insist that he never be trusted with children again, as he should fear that he might slip again.

    This idea of not reminding a Baal Teshuvah of his past misdeeds, I believe is only applicable if one is doing so to taunt him. It is bizarre to me that one will deduce from this that one must question if he may implement precautionary measures to make sure the misdeed doesn't get repeated. is there any basis for this in halacha?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I fail to see how this discussion passes the point of the perpetrator's obligation to his/her victim.

    Absent the bain odom l'chaveiro why are we bothering with a discussion of what appears to be a question of bain odom l'mokom? This seems to be a "grubba finger" exercise.

    ReplyDelete
  17. M finkel of monsey sold trefot for 9 years and ammassed a fortune. Then asked for forgivness and said he rePents. Let the rasha return the gezala.

    ReplyDelete
  18. For all those that think anyone can do Tshuvah.
    Can a Sorer Umoreh do Tshuva so that his execution is waived? He yet didn't commit even for what he is being punished for. How does a Molester compare to a Sorer Umoreh?

    ReplyDelete
  19. "Fordaas" speaks common sense. Only Hashem knows if someone has truly done teshuvah, but if a former molester demands that he be trusted in a situation similar to that in which he previously offended, it is evidence that he doesn't really appreciate what he has done. The test of teshuvah is whether the person will re-offend when placed in the same situation -- but we should not be eager to risk fresh victims.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm not sure what this discussion is all about. Teshuva is between someone who does an aveiro and Hashem. Is it OUR place to decide whether or not that Teshuva is accepted in Shomayim? What hubris!
    We also have clear statements from the Gemoro that NOTHING stands in the way of honest Teshuva - and even the Bas Kol that Acheir heard was only a test - and if he had repented then his Teshuva would have been accepted.
    So there certainly is Teshuva for these people. The question is, what does this have to do with us?
    The answer is: nothing. I do not believe that we are allowed to permit these people to have access to any children under any circumstances. No matter how sure you are that they repented, you can't bet another human being - even your own child - on your beliefs.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Avrohom from MD

    I think this discussion about teshuvah is preposterous. Not withstanding anyone's opinion, any crime done to another or to others at a high enough level can never be rectified. If someone walked in to a very happy wedding and used a shotgun to kill a very loved family patriarch at the chuppah in front of his whole family, is teshuvah possible? Can Adolph Hitler do teshuvah? Can someone who has totally ruined another person's life do teshuvah? I believe, rationally, that that is absolutely impossible.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Tshuva? 2B or not 2BJuly 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    @ YZ

    Is it OUR place to decide whether or not that Teshuva is accepted in Shomayim?

    Teshuva is between someone who does an aveiro and Hashem. Is it?
    In such cases as Molesters, it is clearly both, Bein odom lachvero AND Bein odom lemakom.

    There are a lot of halachot that are nogea if one did or didn't do Tshuva that is acceptable in Shamayim.
    All business aside, how many Molesters do you know that in fact, did do Tshuva?
    If they didn't, why didn't they? "SEOR" shebeIssa meakev?
    Indeed, the only protection that is workable is to lock them up and throw away the key. Minayin?
    "Omrinan leNazira, Schor Schor".
    After all the Talmud does state such as " Ein maspikin beyodo laasot Tshuva". The best example is what you brought as "Achar", that they never GET to the stage of Actually DOING Tshuva!!!
    It is analogous with "Vayachbed Elokim et lev Paroh, not that they can't, they JUST DON'T!

    Since "Ein Apotropos leArayot", the Sages added all kinds of gedarim and Syogim, in order not to come to the point of "No Return" in YETZER terms. Straight people do have the strength to overcome, should they so choose, not so the perverts, they acquired the HIGHEST LEVEL of Addiction. See how a Sorer Umoreh is treated, no option is given that he repent and live amongst others. The Torah KNOWS & predicts, since he is so ADDICTED to his dosage he will ROB and KILL in order to acquire his Addiction. How many Drug Addicts have you seen doing that? Even their own parents were expendable R"L. They have sold their SOULS to the DEVIL.

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Tshuva? 2B or not 2B -
    Of course an abuser has to obtain the mechila of his victims, if possible. However, this was not the question asked.

    "Can a person, such as Mondrowitz or Lanner, who have abused numerous people over a long period of time - do teshuva and start fresh? Teshuva is a fundamental idea in Judaism. In addition once a person has done proper teshuva it is prohibited to remind him of his past misdeeds. Does this apply to every sinner and every type of sin?"

    I think the answer to THESE questions must be YES!

    As to whether or not any abuser has actually done Teshuva, I couldn't tell you.

    In addition, I don't see a connection between not reminding the ba'al teshuva of his aveiros and remaining wary that he does not harm anyone else. Even if an abuser does a complete and absolute Teshuva, who gives anyone the right to put a child at risk.

    I also don't understand your comparison to a Ben Sorer uMoreh. You say that 'straight people' have the strength to overcome their ta'avo for arayos. Does a glutton have the strength to overcome his ta'avo for food? Of course he does! So does an abuser. However - it may take a super-human effort which he is required to make!

    Because if you say that he cannot control himself, then he has no bechiro and should be considered b'geder ones who is potur (at least as far as shomayim goes - ones rachmana patrei)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tshuva? 2B or not 2B -July 19, 2013 at 1:51 AM

      @ YZ

      First you must understand that there are different types and all sorts of levels of addiction, behavioral or otherwise. The Torah states "Vechol yetzer machshevot libo rak ra kol hayom", lepesach chatos rovetz, yetzer lev haadam ra minirov. All these don't excuse anyone from their chet. Some addictions are stronger, some weaker, and some are beyond control. The responsibility of the addict is to stop while not ingrained. Therefore, only he remains responsible for what he does and brings himself to. A Sorer uMoreh should have eaten like a mentsch and not like an eisav, and the Bechirah was there for him before he brought himself to a point of no return, once he passed it, will not bring himself to tshuva, he already is nidan al sofoh. The Sorer umoreh is in the stage like a Tovel vesheretz beyado, can never get clean, he missed his Stop, 'STOP' tartei mashma. The victims that grow up to be the same, they are in the category of tinok shenishbu. That is the reason to root out offenders by notifying authorities before they inflict on others, and the victims should go into therapy before they indulge and get hooked. In Mitzrayim Bnei Yisrael were in Mem Tess shaarei tumah, had they sunk lower, they would have remained hopeless.

      Tshuva consists of many parts, bits and pieces, recognizing that he has a problem, is not the least. Before you have charata, you must first gather your thoughts and admit, ready, willing and able to stop. These abusers can never bring themselves to this stage because they never want to give up their addiction, and that is why they never do Tshuvah. We recently had Weberman and Lebovits not owing up to, but others have already learnt from their mistakes. Kolko admitted in Court so that he should get a reduced sentence, as in modeh ( veozev ) yerucham, not because he truly never inflicted anyone. Even rabbi B. testified that his admittance had zero to do with tshuva. The rabbanim that are mechazek yedei ovrei aveira give support to their criminal way of thought. The same applies to berland, C.H. of England, Shmendrekowitz etc. The straights on the other hand, is davar sheyesh lo matirin, since they can have legitimate outlets and get married, it is pas besalo.

      None of these perpetrators asked mechilah from their victims and families, none of them compensated any damages, and that is so much more even before tshuvah. That is why they are not believed that they had done so, and that is why they can never be cured, only prison.

      Delete
  24. "The data on pedophiles and sexual abusers is extremely clear - they can never again be trusted."

    The sentence above is the overlooked heart of the matter, and the error that many rabbis make. In the past, and even today, the abuser promises the rabbi not to repeat his deviant behavior, and the rabbi accepts the "teshuva" which in fact is a lie. The consensus of professional opinion is that there is no cure for the pedophile. The deviant urge is always there.

    Nevertheless, the pedophile can be managed which means that for some, he will, with therapy, not act upon his urge. Additionally, he can be watched by community members in common areas such as shuls, yeshivas, etc., for the protection of the public.

    We should not refuse to accept that some offenders do want to change - but how? They also continue to possess halachic and legal rights. Much of the injury inflicted by sex abuse is about loss of dignity. The sense of dignity needs to be affirmed in all sectors of society, no matter how odious it might seem at times.

    But Baruch Lanner in New Jersey, or Yudi Kolko in Flatbush, so near to many victims, is undignified. It is triggering and harmful. They belong elsewhere, receiving therapy, and being monitored.

    The sefer, "Eye to See: Ethical Principles Lost in the Holocaust", is an excellent source for actual teshuva. It is authored by Rav Yom Tov Schwarz, ztl, and received many positive reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Here's a passage from Robert A. Heinlein's classic novel, Starship Troopers. In it, the narrator, at this point young military trainee, reacts to the execution of another trainee who had deserted, and then kidnapped and murdered a baby girl.

    "But suppose, as seemed more likely, that he was so crazy that he never had been aware that he was doing something wrong. What then?

    Well, we shoot mad dogs, don’t we?

    Yes, but being crazy that way is a sickness –

    I couldn’t see but two possibilities. Either he couldn’t be made well – in which case he was better off dead for his own sake and for the safety of others – or he could be treated and made sane. In which case (it seemed to me) if he ever became sane enough for civilized society ... and thought over what he had done while he was “sick” – what could be left for him but suicide?"

    While Heinlein didn't say so explicitly, I think we can infer that kidnapping and rape were not the only crimes. The point Heinlein was making, that for a monster to stay for the rest of his life – as surely he must if he is not to be a deadly danger to children – in a state of "חַטָּאתִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד" would be extraordinarily difficult, is germane to the discussion here. It seems to me that halachic teshuvah for such a transgression might well include being distressed by what one has done for the rest of one's life.

    Given that a molester has been willing to do appalling things in order to avoid certain feelings he disliked or to feel other feelings that he enjoys, to be truly conscious of wrongdoing in this way would surely be very difficult and very distressing.

    It would seem to me that unless that distress is there, the molester, asserting his rights to be where he wants, is likely to be making the choice to be on a dangerous path. He has not yet given up the cruelty or the violation of boundaries that were part of what gave him pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
  26. i am a somewhat regular commenter here, but wish to post this anonymously.

    baruch lanner and his wife daven in my shul, and are exemplars of torah here.

    he never "hits" on any of the young ladies here (note: do not confuse hetero with homo in your thinking; others named here are homo, r lanner is completely hetero), and occassionally gives our youth leader advice on managing his job. he participates in out shul torah, besides shul affairs.

    parents of young women have no problem with their daughters being in the building while he is here (and i would have no problem either, but i have sons.)

    whatever might have happened in the past, he is completely proper in all his dealings with our shul members and mitpallelim.

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED!
please use either your real name or a pseudonym.