Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rabbi Padwa recorded saying not to go to police

Times of Israel   The leader of Britain’s Haredi community has been caught on video advising an alleged victim of sexual abuse not to report the claim to police.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, was recorded by a community member using a hidden camera as part of a Channel 4 documentary on Haredi child abuse.

In a scene that will air Wednesday, the insider, who hails from the Haredi London neighborhood of Stamford Hill, tells Padwa, “Someone who you may know of . . . sexually abused me when I was younger, when I was a child,” and asks how to proceed.

After Padwa responds, “We are dealing with this,” the insider asks whether he should go to the police.

“Oh no,” Padwa answers, explaining that doing so would constitute “mesirah,” or turning a Jew over to secular authorities. He adds in Yiddish, “People mustn’t tell tales.”

Asked to comment by The Times of Israel, a spokesman for Padwa questioned the credibility of Channel 4’s undercover insider, saying the allegations had already been investigated and dismissed as “malicious” by social services in the borough of Hackney. They were investigated again in 2007.

Padwa’s on-camera advice about avoiding the police was made, the spokesman said, with that in mind.


  1. It is high time we stop honoring "Rabbi"s such as Padwa.

    There is plenty of room for disagreement on a wide variety of issues but throwing around "mesira" to prevent investigating abuse is criminal. Padwa will have to pay for this in Shomayim.

  2. Forgive my ignorance but the law on reporting abuse applies to all citizens regardless of background. Does mesirah apply?
    And if it doesn't, how does Rav Padwa get around dina d'malchusa dina?
    And if he says it does, then can I start making up my own rules too?

    1. I don't know the law in the UK, but in NY, only certain categories of persons are mandated reporters -- typically teachers, psyhcologists, etc. You can look it up. Some states do have mandatory reporting for every citizen. As we previously discussed here, the DA of Brookyln proposed adding clergy to the list of mandated reporters, which in IMO would be unconstitutional.

  3. Whatever Padwa says, he was in very serious breach of the UK's charity legislation covering the UOHC which is a charity. This obliges Trustees and those responsible for a charity to report to the Charity Commission even a suspicion of improper conduct or conduct which could lead to harm to any beneficiary of the charity, whether proved or not. The charity is also required to report even *suspected* criminal acts to the police as part of these requirements. Trustees and employees proved to have acted contrary to the legal guidance can be vicariously liable for costs and damages resulting from neglect of their responsibilities. The charity can also be stripped of its charitable status, as has just happened to a fundamentalist Christian school where it was discovered that pupils were being submitted to cruel and unreasonable restrictions and punishments (ring any bells?)

    The charity is also required to have *and enforce* a policy re the care of vulnerable persons and of children. Judging from the reported comments, it appears the UOHC is keen to attempt to discredit abuse reporters.The report that they propose to establish a committee to deal with abuse issues has been issued in Hebrew-- so it's clearly aimed first and foremost at protecting rabbis and administrators, rather than children and vulnerable people who may have suffered abuse. As for reviewing their past record in the light of what's emerged-- the spokesman seems keener to explain everything away, including Padwa's firm advice not to go to the police on the grounds that this constitutes Mesirah.

    In order to hold a responsible role in a charity, the person must demonstrate that they are "a fit and proper person". Do these actions meet the test/

    Relevant UK Charity legally binding guidance re reporting serious incidents here: (see particularly section 8)

    The matching guidance re the liabilities of the Trustees and the charity: (see particularly Example 2 & related discussion)

  4. His father was one of the leaders of London's Haredi community. He also held the same position about 20 years back.

  5. The picture is not R' Padwa, it is Halpern.


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