The Elephant in the Room

I really do try to keep my blog “pareve,” but on this one, I just had to speak out.

Recently there have been trials and convictions of pedophiles from the Orthodox community in New York.  Besides the sorrow, shame, horror and chilul HaShem, I would just like to point out a few things:

1. There is no “cure” for someone who is tormented by sexual desire for a child.  Even if the abuser doesn’t physically act out, his mind is always filled with desire.  It is usually only a question of time before he can no longer control his need to act upon this desire.

2. Castration (or medication which accomplishes a similar result) is not effective.  Abuse can occur with hands or other body parts just as easily as with a sex organ.

3.  Victims of abuse suffer for the rest of their lives.  That doesn’t mean that a victim of abuse cannot go on with life and live a happy life, but s/he will always be affected by the abuse s/he experienced.

4.  When school administrators, teachers, rabbis, youth organizations, camp counselors, friends, and family are aware of abuse and do not report it, they are enablers of said abuse.  Firing a teacher or youth leader guilty of abuse but then turning a blind eye when the accused moves to a different city/state/country and gets another job that will place him in contact with children and more opportunities for abuse, without the previous administration informing his new place of employment of the abuser’s past history, is intolerable, and an accessory to crime.

5.  If rabbis that give piskei Torah or administer kashrus organizations know about specific abusers but do nothing, why should we trust them as reliable when it comes to their rulings or their hechsherim?

6.  We must not send our children to a school that harbors abusers, even if our own child is not specifically targeted or affected.

7.  A false accusation of abuse will change an innocent person’s life forever.   While false accusations are rare, they are completely despicable and inexcusable, and should not go unpunished.

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