Court decisions have opened dangerous loophole in law meant to protect public from sex offenders
Court decisions have opened dangerous loophole in law meant to protect public from sex offenders
Sunday, August 14th 2011, 4:00 AM
Two judges, one federal and one state, have issued rulings that could force New York to release several dozen sex offenders from confinement. This must not come to pass.
Both judges concluded that a state law permitting authorities to continue to hold convicted sexual predators after they have served their prison sentences is constitutionally flawed.
New York now confines an estimated 50 to 100 rapists and molesters under the section of the law that the judges declared invalid. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is appealing both findings.
The U.S. Supreme Court has authorized the so-called civil confinement of sex criminals. The tactic has been effective in preventing recidivism by individuals who cannot control their urges.
State law empowers the attorney general to begin civil confinement proceedings as a convicted predator nears release from prison. The process involves demonstrating to a judge that there is probable cause to believe the prisoner is dangerous and then proving the case at a trial.
If the attorney general prevails, a judge can release the individual under intense parole supervision or order the offender held in a secure facility.
The law does not give a judge both those options while the offender is being held pretrial. Therefore, the law is unconstitutional, the two judges ruled.
Manhattan Federal Judge Deborah Batts did so in March in the case of Mental Hygiene Legal Service, an arm of the courts dedicated to defending the mentally disabled.
Bronx Supreme Court Justice Colleen Duffy followed in May, ruling in favor of Enrique T, who had been locked up for molesting two children.
Their decisions are not based in the real world. It is insane to believe a judge can determine after a minimal probable-cause hearing whether it's safe to release a predator under supervision. The risk of a mistake is too great.
When a judge finds after an initial review that a predator is dangerous, common sense says that should be good enough to hold the person temporarily pending a full trial.
If these two jurists are right that the Supreme Court says otherwise, then state authorities must swing into quick action.
They must speed civil-confinement proceedings so they are completed while predators are still serving criminal sentences. And the Legislature must amend the law swiftly to maintain public safety.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/08/14/2011-08-14_keep_em_locked_up.html#ixzz1WfMXKp00
|Dr. Asher Lipner|
Book Review: Breaking the Silence about “Breaking the Silence”
By: Dr. Asher Lipner
In the recent sequel to the hit movie Wall Street, the protagonist, Gordon Gekko, gets released from jail after completing an eight-year sentence for committing insider trading and stock fraud. The “reformed” con-artist makes an “only in America” comeback by writing and marketing a book warning people of financial trouble in the real estate bubble that has been created by the very philosophy Gekko promoted in the 80’s: greed is good.
In their new book, David Mandel, CEO of Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services and his colleague, Dr. David Pelcovitz, Ph.D. similarly endeavor to lock the barn door after they have stolen the horses. The title, “Breaking the Silence: Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community,” attempts to convey a courageous heroism, as if the editors are exposing an unknown crisis to the public. But in fact, our community has had scandalous headlines about sexual abuse and cover-up for over ten years. Like Gekko, the editors are engaging in a public relations campaign to cover their backsides and to maintain the silence about the fact that as leaders in the mental health community, they have helped create the system that got us into this mess.
Mandel attempts to establish his credentials as an expert in the field by repeatedly referring to “our experience at Ohel”, so the book really needs to be read in the context of Ohel’s notorious record. Since the 1980’s when Ohel failed to warn the community about its “consultant”, infamous child molester Avraham Mondrowitz, thereby enabling him to escape justice, until this day Ohel has repeatedly been involved in protecting molesters, not children.
Even on the book cover in the short list of safety goals, “reporting” to the authorities is glaringly missing. While Rabbi Dovid Cohen commits to writing for the first time that one is “allowed” to report sex crimes to the police, he hedges his bet by equivocating that the issues of “mesirah, lashon harah and chillul Hashem” are complex, and one should consult “a competent halachic authority” when in question. Unfortunately, consulting rabbis is exactly what parents and survivors of abuse have been doing until now with catastrophic results, as almost all rabbis, out of ignorance or cowardice have breached halacha and advised protecting the abusers. Ohel’s own internal policy for staff is that no therapist is allowed to report child abuse without clearing it with Rabbi Cohen, a policy that is in breach of mandated reporting laws.
Ohel’s misguided philosophy on dealing with abusers is due to the book’s stated belief in a “diversity of values and ends” that can create conflict among “reasonably rational, well intentioned persons…involved with sex offenders.” The “relevant stakeholders” that in Ohel’s opinion can “reasonably disagree on the ordering of priorities”, seem to include (based on Ohel’s history) the molester whose concern and legal right to confidentiality is constantly trumpeted by Ohel, the molester’s family, the community whose image is tarnished by revelations of criminality and deviancy, and the institutions that harbor molesters who want to protect their reputations and finances from lawsuits. This ideology of complex, relative moral values completely flies in the face of both Jewish and secular law that give simple, straightforward and unequivocal directives that protection of the past and future victims must be the primary value and consideration.
In their chapter on “treating” sexual predators, the authors ignore the experts who advocate that courts and probation departments play a particularly important role both as a motivating force, and an integral part of therapy. The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers treatment guidelines also insist that “supervision agencies work closely with victim advocacy organizations to ensure that their policies do not re-traumatize victims of sexual assault,” an idea that is neither recommended in this book, nor practiced by Ohel.
One example of a policy that certainly re-traumatized victims of abuse is that instead of joining virtually all child advocates groups in supporting the Child Victim’s Act, (aka the “Markey Bill”) Ohel advocated for a “compromise” bill giving legal amnesty to abusers. Furthermore, not a single of the recent pedophiles arrested in Brooklyn were brought to the attention of the authorities by Ohel, nor has Ohel given any support to the victims of abuse who courageously came forward to warn the public.
The book also continues to support the “Ohelian” idea that a rabbinic Beit Din should be utilized to address cases of child molestation. Refusing to learn from the fiasco of the Catholic Church’s shameful system of sheltering pedophile priests, or the doomed-to-failure attempts of the Batei Din of Yeshiva University, Lakewood, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Chicago to play “Law and Order” without the police, the editors and some of the authors are proud to help set up yet another rabbinical group to “deal with” (read: cover up for) sex crimes in Rockland County.
In the chapter on “Prevention and Intervention Programs,” highly trained professionals give dangerously bad advice to parents. They state that although there is no halachic problem of reporting abuse to the authorities, it is “understandable” that orthodox professionals who are mandated reporters nevertheless feel hindered by cultural taboo from doing so. Even more shocking is that parents are admonished not to tell other parents in their child’s school if molestation occurs, because it is a “private matter.”
Silence is not always golden
Psychologists and crime prevention professionals have long known that in communication, one can often learn more about the speaker’s thoughts from that which is not said than from that which is. While claiming to “break the silence,” Ohel’s book continues to censor important information that the community needs to know. The most glaring omission is the voice of a survivor of abuse. While the disclosures that were taken from therapy sessions and edited letters are educational, sorely missing is a first-hand account of an adult survivor about the real life experience of surviving abuse in our community. Survivors of abuse will certainly feel that yet another opportunity was missed to finally give them a voice, and they have once again been shut out of the discussion. By comparison, in the recently published scholarly book, “Daas Torah: Child and Domestic Abuse,” edited by Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn and Baruch Shulem, Ph.D. (to which this writer also contributed) two powerful autobiographical chapters are included, allowing the reader to hear what survivors really think and feel, unedited and uncensored.
Furthermore, “Breaking the Silence” can break one’s eardrums with its silence about the history of scandalous communal cover-ups. It is utterly ludicrous to discuss abuse in the community without addressing the real betrayal experienced by survivors whose victimhood has been denied, minimized, and silenced by our establishment leaders for so long with threats and intimidation. Most survivors of abuse agree that the community response to child sexual abuse is often a worse trauma than the abuse. The parents who have had their children thrown out of yeshivas for the “crime” of disclosing abuse, the families that were literally run out of town, the children who were slapped in the face for daring to name their molester, will all read this book and think “Here we go again.” The reasons for this betrayal are not unknown, as Dr. Michael Salamon explains in his new book, “Abuse: How Extremist Views Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims.”
On a bright note, David Mandel’s own chapter does provide some comic relief. Although he admits that the rabbis, adult survivors and child advocates who brought this issue to the awareness of the community deserve recognition, he declines to name them with the excuse that he does not want to get them into trouble. As if survivors like Mark Weiss, David Framowitz, and Joel Engleman, Esther Malka Reich, Sara Rosenberg, advocates like Vicki Polin, Ben Hirsh, Michael Salamon, Mark Appel, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Rabbis like Nochem Rosenberg, Yosef Blau, Daniel Eidenshohn, and Yitzchak Eisenman or bloggers like Paul Mendlowitz of UOJ, or Shmarya Rosenberg of FailedMessiah fear backlash in standing up for child safety. Dr. Freud would surely interpret this notion as Mr. Mandel “projecting” his own fear of bringing attention to these individuals who have, almost to a person, been harshly critical of his record (in UOJ’s words) of “letting no cover-up go uncovered.”
 Orbach, M. (April 23, 2010) New Square appoints Vaad to deal with sexual abuse. The Jewish Star
Header of POST on FailedMessiah August 24, 11
The Whole Story about this apology is a sad joke, and this whole business about his emails being read out of context is even a sicker joke. As Shmarya Rosenberg (no family relation) wrote on FailedMessiah, I spoke to Rabbi Feldman face to face, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is stubbornly of the opinion that reporting a molester to the police is mesirah.
I understand that this whole settlement and apology between Rabbi Feldman and the AJN is purely a legal maneuver to avoid a legal battle (read on FailedMessiah a more precise explanation). As you may notice, there are two versions of the AJN apology on FM, since Feldman could not wait until the text was finally approved by both sides and published in the paper, and emailed (read leaked) the article to anybody he felt like.
I communicated with Rabbi Moshe D. Gutnick, the administrator of The Kashrut Authority, by email, and he informed me that Rabbi Feldman was reinstated because "he only was speaking in theory", and that as a consequence he (Rabbi Gutnick) resigned from the Rabbinic Council.
In an email to FaileMessiah, dated August 29, (notice that this was written 3 days after the publication of the apologies by both parties) Rabbi Feldman attacks me personally in an undignified way, writing as follows:
Re Rabbi Rosenberg. I don't know what he reported or even what he or someone in his family may have been up to in the past that he may be trying to cover up, being such a proponent... but besides the many discrepancies reported, one vital thing that was omitted (as was with the AJN) as mentioned above was me asking him that just as police get experts to verify etc., what's wrong if a Rabbi also involves experts initially as principals do, according to the law, before they're required to report abuse, to which he had no response. I actually was quite surprised when he told me that he immediately reports abuse to the police before hearing details from the victim. I just wonder if a son of his was accused of molesting a child whether he would immediately report it. Actually maybe I'll accuse a son of his (as many may do when they have an issue with someone...) and let's see if he'll go running to the police... LOL.. I don't understand how he's taken so seriously...
I never told him to stop giving speeches and I actually allowed him to talk to teachers and others in Yeshiva of the good he has achieved and the importance of vigilance in this area etc.
It is true that he let me speak in the school, I don't think he had much of a choice as there was a big demand to hear me. Mrs. Gabriella Aber who is the principal of the school, actually asked me to speak, and there was no mention that I am going to say that police should be called. On the other hand had he asked me if I am going to say "call the police" and he would still have banned me from speaking, it would have been a dead giveaway of his policy forbidding reporting molestation, and he wouldn't have been able to claim that it was only theory.
Coming back to our discussions both on the 18th and on the 22nd of August. First of all, the part highlighted in green, is a blatant lie, I explained to him that rabbis have no resources to properly investigate these crimes and that there will always be a rabbi that is somehow connected to the perpetrator and would therefore cover up for him, and he kept arguing, that Jews don't go to gentiles with their problems - I wonder why he treathens AJN and Shmarya with going to the gentiles - He also had with him a Kollel man by the name of Shabse Tayar, who kept helping him out with the argument of not going to the goyim because of mesirah.
If he is of the same opinion like the Agudah as he claims to be, it is bad news. The Agudah still has a policy of going to the the rabbis, and when Mr. Zwiebel who runs the Agudah was on the Zev Brenner Radio Show, he kept repeating to every caller that you have to go first to the rabbis so that they can ascertain if there are raglayim ledovori (probable cause), and when one caller asked him point blank "If a child comes home telling his parents that so and so pulled down his trousers and touched him where he was not supposed to, if that is enough reason to go direct to the police". His answer was "Ask this of a rabbi". The caller further asked "can you give me the name of one rabbi that is competent to answer this question", and he drew a blank.
According to this theory, Levi Aron should have also been reported to the rabbis, not the police.
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ותשחק ליום אחרון
רבי נחמן ברעסלעווער האט א נקמה אין סקווער
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov Takes Revenge in Square
עוז והדר איז אן תורה אנשטאלט וואס ערצייגט ספרים אויף א נייעם הערליכן פארמאט אז עס זאל זיך לערנען מיט א געשמאק, וואס ווערט אנגעפירט דורך הגאון ר יהושע לייפער פון די גרויסע דיינים אין שיכון סקווירא, מאנסי, אן איידעם פון רבי משה ניישלאס אב"ד שיכון סקווירא, וואס האט זיך אנגעהויבן מיט א קליין כולל אין סקווירא שטעטל און זיך אויסגעוואקסן אויף א וועלטס פארנעם. דער אנשטאלט איז הויפטקווארטירט אין ירושלים, מיט צווייגן אין ביתר און בית שמש.פון וויקעפידיע
לויט ווי זיי שרייבען, איז זונטאג געווען אדווערטייזט אין "יתד נאמן"
אז מען זאל צוריק ברענגען די ספרי מינות וואס זיי האבען געדריקט בשם דעם "מלבי"ם"
לאמיר זעהן אויב עס וועט אויך זיין אדווערטייזט אין די אידישע צייטונגען
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Posted by Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg at 8/29/2011
Aug 26, 10:28 AM EDT
Austria: No children born in alleged incest case
By GEORGE JAHN
|AP Photo/Rudolf Brandstaetter|
VIENNA (AP) -- Austrian prosecutors investigating suspicions that an 80-year-old man sexually abused his two mentally disabled daughters for 41 years said Friday that no children were born of the alleged incestuous relationships.
The case has parallels to that of another Austrian, Josef Fritzl, who imprisoned his daughter in a windowless cellar for 24 years and repeatedly raped her, fathering her seven children. Fritzl was sentenced to life imprisonment two years ago for that crime and for responsibility in the death of one of the children.
But state prosecutor Alois Ebner said that questioning of the 80-year-old's two daughters and other leads had not turned up any indications of offspring.
The man - from the Upper Austrian village of St. Peter am Hart - is suspected of assault, torture or neglect of defenseless individuals, threat to life or physical condition, rape and other sex crimes. He denies the allegations.
Despite being questioned weeks ago, he had been free and living in a senior citizens' home until police detained him Thursday. On Friday, an investigative judge ordered that he remain in custody at least until Sept. 9 pending continued investigations.
Police said the man's daughters - now 53 and 45 years old - have accused him of repeatedly raping them at their home between 1970 and May 2011. The women said their father frequently warned he would kill them if they resisted, occasionally threatening them with firearms and beating them with a stick and a pitchfork, police said.
They also said that their mother, who died three years ago, was repeatedly abused by the suspect.
Police have not named the man or his daughters. The nameplate on the family house identifies the owner only as "Wagner."
The house itself, a well-kept, two-story dwelling, stands at the end of a road on the village's outskirts, almost hidden from view by a large tree. The family had no immediate neighbors.
A village resident who refused to give his name said the father had worked as a road maintenance worker for the region before retiring. Others were even more reluctant to talk, with the most vocal muttering "leave me alone" when approached by a reporter.
The women told police that they escaped when their father fell and was unable to get up after the older daughter pushed him during the last attempted rape.
Authorities have given contradictory versions of why it took so long for the allegations to become public. First news of the case were published Thursday by local media - more than two months after the women said they escaped.
In the latest explanation on Friday, regional government politician Georg Wojak told reporters that the initial allegations of sexual abuse surfaced Aug. 8 when a social worker who discovered the father two days after he fell first went to police with her suspicions.
State prosecutor Ernestine Heger said the two women, who were already questioned by police, would now be interrogated by her office and that an expert opinion would be drawn up about how "meaningful" their testimony is.
Police and local media originally said the suspect had allegedly kept the victims locked in a tiny room of their home for 41 years, but later revised that version, suggesting they had limited freedom of movement, even though all three slept in one small room.
"They were seen in and around the house," local police commander Martin Pumberger told state broadcaster ORF. "But the daughters were prohibited from any and all social contact."
Pumberger said that the women's accusations "are believable," adding that they "are relieved that they were able to speak about their decades-long martyrdom."
AP Television News videojournalist Alex Schuller contributed from St. Peter am Hart, Austria.
Posted by Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg at 8/26/2011