Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hikind objects to Aguda's views on abuse

VINS Assemblyman Hikind

New York - On behalf of the countless sexual abuse victims – those whose stories of personal anguish still resonate with me, and those who still have yet to come forward – I respectfully urge you to reconsider your position regarding the statute of limitations bill containing a window provision which is currently before the Legislature.

I assure you it is not the intention of this legislation to bankrupt or otherwise jeopardize “vital communal institutions,” for we all recognize that the existence of yeshivas and the continuity of the Jewish future are irrefutably tied. Indeed, I believe it is our very commitment to providing our children with a solid Jewish education which has sustained us as a people for generations.

Tragically, however, many of our children, our most precious resource, have been sexually violated in a variety of contexts, and for numerous years, these victims were left without any remedy. Their pursuit of justice has, until now, been filled with endless days of shame, silence, and frustration. We are all guilty of not doing more to alleviate their suffering. You have stated that you have, “no objection to legislation designed to give victims of abuse greater recourse against perpetrators." In this regard, we are of the same heart and mindset.

While your concerns are valid, I implore you to reassess your decision about this bill, to take a closer look, and work toward achieving a satisfactory and equitable compromise on the one year window provision. There are potential alternatives to the bill in its present form which may be more amenable to you. Creating a cap on a litigant’s financial award or on the contingency fees collected by attorneys are just two possibilities which may prove viable.

Achieving justice for the victims need not come about as a result of the financial demise of our greatest institutions. But neither can we forsake those who have already sacrificed far too much.


  1. on the way back from lobbying in albany yesterday, we got the news that the aguda was against the markey bill. i can't even describe the reactions on the bus! PLEASE, PLEASE people, call the aguda and explain to them what we spent the day explaining to people in albany over and over again: no one actually went bankrupt in california or delaware! they filed for voluntary bankruptcy to reorganize and all they had to do was sell a few office buildings and parking lots. NOT ONE SCHOOL CLOSED DOWN AS A RESULT OF THE WINDOW! what it did do was reveal a total of 360 previously unknown predators.

    it's interesting that everyone is so worried about all these institutions and forgetting that the majority of abuse DOES NOT happen in school/the mikva or at other such institutions. it's mostly friends and family!

  2. Reb Doniel, Amu"sh

    I would be interested in your view on this issue.

  3. I am sympathetic with the just posted view of Dr. Lipner. While I understand the position of the Aguda - their explanation is not impressive.


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