Thursday, February 5, 2015

In national abuse probe, leading Australian rabbi decries Orthodox community’s ‘cover-up culture’

A senior Australian rabbi told a government commission of inquiry on Wednesday that the Jewish-Australian Orthodox community was guilty of covering up sex crimes against its members, going so far as to use intimidation to prevent people from coming forward.

In testimony before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, a senior Chabad leader in Sydney and the head of the Organization of Rabbis of Australasia, said that “a culture of cover-up, often couched in religious terms, pervaded our thinking and our actions.”

Gutnick asserted that those who reported abuse were labeled mosers (“informers”), and subjected to social ostracism, according to The Guardian.

Such actions are a “gross misuse of rabbinic power,” he said, adding that those who push for victims to go to their rabbis rather than the authorities are trying to “hush it up, to cover it up, to prevent the victim from finding redress. There is no doubt at all: Mesira [‘informing’] has no application whatsoever to instances of child sexual abuse. To use mesira in this way is an abomination.”[...]

Victim’s rights advocate Manny Waks, who was himself sexually abused as a student in a Chabad school, took to Facebook to praise Gutnick for his statement, which included an admission that he had been informed about allegations of abuse 20 years ago and had not followed up properly. [...]

1 comment :

  1. It would be interesting to ask Rabbi Schochet whether he still stands by
    his article from just a few short months ago:


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