Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Failure of religious leaders in abuse cases

NY Times   The men were spiritual leaders, held up before the children around them as wise and righteous and right. So they had special access to those kids. Special sway.  

And when they exploited it by sexually abusing the children, according to civil and criminal cases from different places and periods, they were protected by their lofty stations and by the caretakers of their faith. The children’s accusations were met with skepticism. The community of the faithful either couldn’t believe what had happened or didn’t want it exposed to public view: why give outsiders a fresh cause to be critical? So the unpleasantness was hushed up. 

This is not a column about the Catholic Church. 

This is a column about Orthodox Jews, who have recently had similar misdeeds exposed, similar cover-ups revealed. 

And I’m writing it, yes, because the Catholic Church over the last two decades has absorbed the bulk of journalistic attention, my own included, in terms of child sexual abuse. There are compelling reasons that’s been so: Catholicism has more than one billion nominal adherents worldwide; endows its clerics with a degree of mysticism that many other denominations don’t; and is just centralized enough for scattered cover-ups to coalesce into something more like a conspiracy. The pattern of criminality and evasion has been staggering. 

But some of the same dynamics that fed the crisis in Catholicism — an aloof patriarchy, an insularity verging on superiority, a disinclination to get secular officials involved — exist elsewhere. And the way they’ve played out in Orthodox Judaism illustrates anew that religion isn’t always the higher ground and safer harbor it purports to be. It can also be a self-preserving haven for wrongdoing.

Early this month, 19 former students of the Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan filed a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by two rabbis in the 1970s and 1980s who continued to work there even after molestation complaints. The rabbis were also allowed to move on to new employment without ever being held accountable. School administrators, the lawsuit alleges, elected not to report anything to the police.[...]


  1. This was brewing for a while. A large portion of the media, especially organs like the NY Times, and writers like Frank Rich, have spent years going after the RC Church, dealing them very heavy blows using this issue. Although of course there are and were very important and great issues of justice involved, there also is the aspect of the liberal war on religion involved as well. Result - RC church is now a shadow of its former self.

    Now, having done that, they turn their attention to a different old faith still standing - namely Orthodox Judaism. We are their new target, the new Catholics (ch"v) to them. Hashem yeracheim.

    1. It's high time that Modern Orthodoxy be given a taste of its own medicine with their past constant harping on this issue light is now shed on the Great MO Coverup of Sexual Abuse led by Dr. Norman Lamm and Yeshiva University.

      Bravo New York Times and Frank Bruni.

  2. Bruni's column is dishonest. The point of Rav Schachter's lecture was that you are allowed to report abuse to the authorities, unless the abuser would himself be subjected to abuse not prescribed by law. In addition, Rav Schachter did not say anything about mandated reporters, although Bruni obviously would have you believe that he did.

    Rav Schachter was not caught on videotape, nor were his remarks racist, although in today's politically correct climate he should have known better. FYI I am a federal judge.

    1. Please stop defending the indefensible. If Modern Orthodoxy is guilty its guilt must be brought to the forefront of discussion.

  3. It is important to know when the complain, and who to complain to. If this blog is full of complaints that the New York Times echoes, many months later, we cannot blame the NY Times for hate. Yes, there is an element in the secular media of prejudice towards biblical religion or really any religion that violates their ideas. But in this case, we should be the ones taking care of the problem and not the ones defending the hideous evil that exists in our community.

  4. To JJ: Was there something that I said that is incorrect, or misleading? If there is, plaese tell me. If not, then what are you talking about?


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