TV Rabbi May Apply to Ofcom

By Jonathan Kalmus (The Jewish Chronicle)
February 8, 2013

A Manchester rabbi who was secretly filmed by last week’s Channel 4 Dispatches on Charedi sex abuse is considering making an Ofcom complaint.

Lawyers acting for Osher Westheim, a former Manchester Beth Din dayan, accused Channel 4 of breaching parts of the broadcaster watchdog’s regulations, in relation to rejecting an offer from the rabbi to be openly interviewed.

Dayan Westheim said the programme was “disappointing” and included incorrect remarks.

The rabbi said he was separately involved in setting up a communal liaison team of rabbis and medical and psychology professionals to address abuse and work with local child safeguarding authorities.

This week the Manchester Beth Din also hosted a meeting of 20 communal rabbis with representatives of Salford’s Child Safeguarding Board, who provided guidance about the duty to report abuse. The Beth Din’s Rabbi Yehuda Brodie said it showed the issue of child abuse was “being taken very seriously” by the community.

Separately, a 63-year-old member of Salford’s strictly Orthodox community in Salford was arrested this week on suspicion of historic sexual abuse. He has been released on police bail pending inquiries until April 10. The allegations relate to a report of sexual abuse said to have happened 10 years ago.