Brooklyn DA Appears To Violate The Law To Protect Haredim From Bad Press

By Failed Messiah blog
December 13, 2011

DA Charles Hynes' office claims that the law forbids it from releasing any information which could lead to the identification of a victim, and is using that law to hide the names and case numbers of haredi pedophiles who were convicted and imprisoned – and will by law be publicly registered as sex offenders upon their release.

Lets be clear.

What the DA is doing is illegal. His "understanding" of the law and its application to these cases is laughable.

What the DA is forbidden from doing are things like this:

1. Releasing the address of a victim but not her name, when anyone can find her name on the Internet in less than five minutes if they have her address.

2. A group of girls is victimized. They are warned by the perpetrators that the family of any girl who reports the crimes to police will be harmed. Only one member of that group of girls is Asian. She goes to police and presses charges. The other girls are too afraid and refuse to help the prosecution. The DA is forbidden from identifying the victim bringing charges as "Asian" because that tells the perpetrators who she is. The same would apply to identifying age if one victim was significantly older or younger than the others.

The idea that the criminal's name would be kept secret was never part of the intent of the law or of its normal application.

Even if Hynes' basic reading of the law was correct, it would be trumped by the public's need to protect its children.

So, for example, if one of Hynes "arrests" processed in November 2009 had pleaded guilty to a felony count and been sentenced to 2 years in prison, he would now be free, and he would have already been registered as a sex offender on the national and state registries.

But Hynes would still be refusing to release his name, even though his name, his crime, the type of victim he victimized, his plea, his sentence and release date, and his current address would already be public information. The only people Hynes would be protecting by hiding this pedophiles name would be the pedophile, his family and the haredi rabbis involved in his case.

Warning the public about a released sex offender trumps vague interpretations of a law meant to protect victims but which is instead being used to protect pedophiles and their rabbis – as long as the decision is not being made by a corrupt DA named Charles Hynes.

Hella Winston reports for The Jewish Week:

...While a spokesman for Hynes' office provided The Jewish Week with information about the charges and sentences related to the 14 cases in which defendants received jail time, he declined to provide their names or case numbers. In the 24 cases involving probation, pleadings to lesser charges or dismissals, the spokesman declined to provide any information at all.

When asked why the DA's office does not publicize the names of convicted ultra-Orthodox sex abusers, the spokesman, Jerry Schmetterer, told The Jewish Week that "The Kol Tzedek Program is designed to encourage victims of sexual assault in the ultra-Orthodox community to come forward and report their abuse. Under the Civil Right Law of New York State, we cannot release the names of any victim of sexual assault or any information that would tend to identify them."

This statement has confounded some advocates and observers who question why revealing the name of a convicted sex offender would identify the name of a victim. It is of particular concern because most such cases — including the majority of Hynes' 14 that resulted in jail time — require the convicted offender to register on a public sex offender list upon release from prison.

"The government has not adequately explained why publicly disclosing the names of convicted sex offenders alone would likely reveal the identities of victims of such crimes," said Itai Maytal, a media attorney specializing in access litigation at the law firm of Miller Korzenik Sommers LLP.

"Blanket denials of such information are contrary to the law and public policy," Maytal said. "In fact, it seems logical that more victims would be willing to come forward if they knew reported sex crimes lead to convictions."...

When asked what, if anything, the DA was doing about the intimidation of victims, Schmetterer told The Jewish Week that "we work very closely with the victims and their families in these, as in all, cases. Every victim is provided with a culturally sensitive social worker as well as an assistant district attorney. All victims are encouraged to report any intimidation or other pressure they receive regarding their case. Any evidence of threats or other criminal conduct is fully addressed with detectives from our office and the NYPD."

When asked about whether his office has dealt with any such cases of intimidation, Hynes' spokesman said he "cannot comment on that." However, The Jewish Week has learned that the DA is pursuing parole violation charges against Yehuda Kolko. Kolko, who was initially charged with multiple felony counts of sexual abuse but ultimately allowed to plead to lesser charges and three years' probation, is accused of having violated an order of a protection signed after his guilty plea....

According to Mark Meyer Appel, president of The Voice of Justice, an advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse, said, "It seems to me from the statistics made available by the DA, about 30 percent of the cases are being dropped after the DA has spent thousands of dollars to get these cases started. I think it's time for the FBI step in and investigate to find out who is obstructing, who is intimidating these victims, and get them arrested. If we do this, then we have a chance to move forward and bring justice to victims."

Read the entire Jewish Week article, including the sections I did not post, here.