Sunday, February 15, 2015

Royal Commission: Sydney rabbi 'did not know' it was a crime for an adult to touch a child's genitals

ABC Australia      A former director of an Orthodox Jewish school says he did not know it was a crime for an adult to touch a child's genitals, the royal commission into child abuse has heard.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman was questioned about the way he dealt with abuse claims against a rabbinical student known as AVL at the Yeshivah Gedolah in Sydney in 2002.

Counsel assisting the Commission Maria Gerace asked: "did you understand that it was against the law for an adult to touch the genitals of another child?"

"I didn't know that as a fact," Rabbi Feldman answered.

The Commission heard AVL admitted lying down and massaging the child.

The rabbi said he "didn't have a clue" that could be a criminal matter.

"My role in general is to look at things from a Jewish perspective, from a religious perspective," Rabbi Feldman said. [...]

Rabbi Feldman told the Commission he did not think child sexual abuse was a widespread problem.

"There are many issues of life, and child sex abuse I didn't believe was something that's very common at all, and even now I don't believe it's common. It happens," he said.

"I haven't seen the statistics, but I think it would be ... about five to 10 per cent ... based on things that I've read about it."

Rabbi Feldman said he was not aware of the issue of child sexual abuse or mandatory reporting obligations in 2002.

Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald asked: "are you saying to the Commission that notwithstanding you were a director of a school, an ordinary school, you had no knowledge at all of the issue of child sexual abuse, nor of the requirements that existed in New South Wales at that time, is that your evidence?''

"Correct," Rabbi Feldman replied. [...]
   Rabbi Yosef Feldman declares himself a 'sacrificial lamb' and will sue
 The Guardian   A senior orthodox Jewish rabbi who was forced to resign as director of a religious centre over remarks about child sex abuse victims says he has been made a “sacrificial lamb”.

On Wednesday Rabbi Yosef Feldman resigned from his position at the Sydney Yeshivah Centre, which runs schools, youth camps and prayer services, because of the backlash after comments he made to the royal commission into institutional responses into child sex abuse.

Giving evidence, he said perpetrators of child sex abuse should be granted leniency if they had stopped offending and had repented to God; massaging a child inappropriately was not a criminal act; it was not necessary to report to the police an alleged sex offender who was about to leave the country.

He also told the commission that despite holding a senior position within a school, he did not know about mandatory reporting laws for child sexual abuse.

But Feldman told ABC radio on Thursday he had resigned not because he regretted his comments but because “perception by the public is unfortunately more important than the truth”. [...]


  1. "Sydney rabbi 'did not know' it was a crime for an adult to touch a child's genitals"

    Oh yes, and the "tooth-fairy" also leaves you a dollar when you leave your baby-tooth in a shoe!

    Ever heard of Pinochio?

  2. This is very bad. Not knowing about reporting laws is in itself a crime. Such people must be taught law and order.


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