Agudath Israel of America CLE Conference Message:
Mandated Reporters to Defy Law and Not Report Sexual Abuse to Authorities
Furthering their efforts to isolate the insular ultra-Orthodox community from the secular criminal and civil justice system, Agudath Israel of America sponsored a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) conference where participants were instructed to not report child sexual abuse to the authorities. Instead, they were directed to report child sexual abuse to a rabbi. Listen to a recording of the Agudath Israel CLE conference.
As reported by the Jewish Forward, David Zwiebel, a licensed attorney and Agudath Israel's Executive Vice President, told the conference that even mandated reporters - teachers, social workers and people in certain other professions who are required by law to promptly report any suspected cases of sexual abuse - should seek permission from a rabbi before going to the authorities. Read the full Forward article here.
Agudath Israel of America provided Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Credits for attendance at a conference where they instructed participants to defy the law.
SFJ believes that the existence of a "parallel legal system" governed by religious doctrine poses a grave danger to society.
Our Freedom to practice religion must not be misconstrued to allow religious leaders the freedom to practice lawlessness.
In the words of Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."
Established halacha (Jewish Law) places a pedophile in the category of rodef (an imminent threat), in part due to a recidivism rate well in excess of 50-percent. In his 2004 psak (ruling) on this issue, Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv writes that one should report those who sexually abuse children directly to the police and that doing so is of benefit to society. Click here to read a partial translation of this ruling.