Thursday, April 23, 2009

Abuse - Markey Bill - critique of Agudath Israel

VIN reports Dr. Asher Lipner writes

New York - Agudath Israel in consultation with its Moetzes Gedolei Yisroel (Coucil of Torah Sages) has finally decided not to support the Child Victims Act of State Representative Margaret Markey. The Markey legislation would extend the statute of limitations on both criminal and civil cases involving the sexual abuse of children, and it would open a one-year "window" durring which all past cases of abuse could be presented in court. It is being supported by both Orthodox assemblymen - Dov Hikind, who has become a champion of the rights of victims, and Sheldon Silver, the Speaker of the Assembly, who has voted for it three times. The benefits of allowing all victims of abuse to confront their abusers in court are best explained in Cordozo Law Professor Marci Hamilton's book, Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect It's Children. Aside from giving survivors of sexual abuse a chance for justice, similar "window" legislation in two other states have helped society identify over 350 sexual predators who were unknown before the legislation. The alternative bill that Aguda is presumably backing, which does not include such a window, is referred to by Ms. Hamilton as the "Hide the Predator Act".

In lockstep with the Catholic Church, their partners in fighting this much needed legislation, Agudah argues that allowing victims of all ages to sue molesters would put into jeopardy, not only the molesters themselves, but also any institution that knowingly or negligently harbored molesters. This would constitute a potential drain on community resources, (since some important Jewish institutions will undoubtedly be implicated because of a long standing tradition of silencing victims in the community) especially at a time when the economy has hurt our institutions’ ability to do so much good for so many people.

I hope the Agudah reconsiders its misguided position and takes into consideration that on this issue, doing the right thing may actually pay dividends "both in this world and the next". Showing the proper compassion, integrity and sense of justice that the victims of sexual abuse deserve and parents of Jewish children demand, not only is the moral thing to do, but may actually serve to avert many a lawsuit in the long run.[...]


  1. as i said in the message i left at the agudah yesterday. they have blood on their hands. my blood, and the blood of my friends.

  2. To put Lipner's comments in context, here is a quote from his own blog.

    "This blog will be about something that because of it I feel like I am a bad person and unworthy of any goodness in this world. Because of it I hate God and I hate myself. It makes me want to rebel and go "off-the derech". Becuase of it I am filled with a tremendous about of anger and rage. It almost caused my death. It causes me to feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame on a daily basis."

    What kind of credence can we lend to a person that writes like this? His words and opinions are very suspect.

    This is not to say that there is no problem but to base any conclusions on this persons fulminations is questionable to say the least.

  3. tzoorba, go back to the blog where you found that and look again. dr. lipner commented on that blog the same way you commented on this one, he didn't write it!

  4. those comments are not from lipner. they are from a blogger named angry soul lipner posts a comment there supporting the guy get your facts straight

  5. Simple logic would seem to dictate that if those Jewish institutions are knowingly harboring predators, then they are not actually in the community's best interest. Unfortunately that is only simple logic.

    What we are confronted with in reality are Torah views that deny actual psychological problems. They see lasting harm being done as an impossibility and they don't see the "predator" as having a psychological malady. How can you really expect someone from that view to see the need to do something like this?

  6. I apologize for quoting what I thought were Dr. Lipner's comments.

    The Google search results for Asher Lipner hit on this statement and I didn't research deep enough.

    Has anyone contacted Aguda or heard and explanation of their position from them?

  7. the secretary who picked up the phone when i called had no clue what the markey bill is. when i finally said "i'm calling about the agudah's decision to cover up child sexual abuse" she quickly said "hold on please" and i was transferred to zweibel's secretary, who didn't answer. i left a message.

  8. Mekubal said,

    "What we are confronted with in reality are Torah views that deny actual psychological problems. They see lasting harm being done as an impossibility and they don't see the "predator" as having a psychological malady. How can you really expect someone from that view to see the need to do something like this?"

    By Torah views I assume you mean Aguda's point of view.

    Why should we assume that predators have psychological problems? Maybe they are just evil baalei taavo that should be punished for their vile deeds.

    I am very skeptical about our perverted pro gay society dealing with these issues in the right way. I don't have much confidence in the government handling this any better than the Jewish community.

    I am very surprised that the word doesn't get around that such and such a Yeshiva has this problem. Once it got around, people would avoid sending their children there. This would seem to be an effective deterrent to covering up.

  9. word does spread. but the prevalent attitude in our community is still, unfortunately "it can't be true", and people carry on with their lives as before, the yeshiva stays in business, and so does the predator.

    i'm not sure why you think that because society is pro-gay they can't properly prosecute these criminals...

  10. Little Sheep,

    I have to ask, has your abuser been prosecuted? Is he a registered sex offender? If not than honestly I find your rhetoric just a little hypocritical, as essentially you want others to do what you are not willing to do yourself.

    To be completely honest every reliable study we have on the behavior of sex-offenders is that unless confronted with serious intervention they WILL offend again.

    For those that have had the necessary intervention the recidivism rate is close to 80%, hence we have databases registering known offenders so that the populace may identify them and take the necessary precautions.

    It seems from a read of your blog that your offender is permitted to live a normal life. Was never convicted of the cirmes he committed, and is not registered as an offender. So I am at a loss as to how you can campaign for others to be labeled as predators when you are not willing to see that through with your own predator.

    Are you fighting for your opportunity to see justice? Is this you seeking an opportunity to seek the prosecution that you previously declined? If so than Kol HaKavod. If not than your position is untenable.

  11. currently, my abuser is out there, in forced therapy. going to court is not as simple as you'd like to think. based on various factors, i may or may not end up in court. i'm campaigning to give EVERYONE a chance. some people want to but can't.


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