By Harry Maryles (Emes Ve-Emunah blog)
August 17, 2012
“Camp directors waited about 35 hours before calling a criminal lawyer, who advised them to alert authorities.”
This line from a story in the New York Post about an alleged sex abuse case is why we ought to be reporting suspicions of sex abuse directly to the police. The accused, 31 year old Yoel Oberlander is a delivery person for Golden Taste – a Kosher food company. He was delivering milk to Camp Shalva, an Orthdodox Jewish summer camp. He snuck into one of the bunks at night under the cover of darkness when the boys were asleep.
Although according to the article there are no allegations of any sex abuse… this fellow’s hands are not clean. He is a convicted pedophile who in 2002 sexually abused an 11 year old girl.
The camp’s directors twiddled their thumbs for 35 hours and then called a criminal lawyer who advised them to make the report. 35 hours is a long time. As the advocacy group Survivors for Justice (who reported the incident to the police after they received reports of it and the fact that boys were told not to call their parents) said:
An immediate report would have protected kids in other camps where this driver was making deliveries that day and the next. We hope the children were not pressured into changing their stories.
Has this community not learned anything? This community still feels that they can handle things. At the expense of the victims and their families.
And how in heaven's name does a pedophile who is convicted and registered sex offender get a job delivering milk late at night to a summer-camp full of children? Don't they do background checks?
I had a discussion recently with an individual who works very closely with victims of abuse and their families – a man who has been ‘around the block’ on this issue and knows the score. I happen to know that he is highly respected by the right wing and he knows that world well. He is grieved by the way sex abuse is being treated there. He doesn’t seem to think there is going to be any change unless... (verbatim quote):
1) there are high-level arrests and convictions of their roshei kehilla and (certain) rebbes for the unbelievable terror campaigns they are conducting against the poor victims and their families.
2) there are huge lawsuits against their mosdos that result in yeshiva building sold at auction to satisfy tens-of-millions in damages.
3) both of the above.
Perhaps that is what it will take!