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Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn DA Condemned For Not Prosecuting More Hasidic, Orthodox Jewish Sex Abusers

Published on: March 30, 2012 08:18 AM
By:  WCBS TV
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Brooklyn, NY - Finding sexual abusers of children and prosecuting their cases is one of law enforcement’s top priorities.

But in Brooklyn, District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office has come under fire what not vigorously pursuing cases in the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities, a charge Hynes vehemently denies.

On Friday afternoons in Williamsburg families prepare for the Sabbath. It is a sheltered community known for its devotion to old world values, but some say its a community with a secret made worse by decades of cover-up and law enforcement that looks the other way.

“We have a wonderful community, a beautiful community, but we have some of the same of the problems the rest of the world have,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind recently told CBS 2’s Chris Wragge.

The problem is the sexual abuse of children and the failure to report it to authorities. In the insular world of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews, it is the accuser who is believed to bring shame on the community, while the abuser is often pitied.

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“It’s an environment that protects offenders,” said Ben Hirsch of advocacy group Survivors For Justice. “There are a lot of known perpetrators in the community and they’re not being reported.”

In 2009, the Brooklyn district attorney set up a special unit to deal with the abuse cases in the Orthodox community. Since then, there have been 85 arrests, but the cases are shrouded in secrecy. Hynes won’t release names of the alleged abusers, saying it could identify victims.

“It’s a civil rights statute that precludes us from identifying the people,” Hynes said.

But not all district attorneys agree with that interpretation of the civil rights law. Assemblyman Hikind said he finds Hynes’ position inexplicable.

“Why he will not release information that other district attorneys release readily to the public because it is in the public interest, I just don’t get that,” Hikind said.

Hirsch said Hynes is bowing to pressure from politically powerful rabbis.

“I do believe that Charles Hynes is playing politics with children’s lives,” Hirsch said.

A charge Hynes dismisses.

“There is no more forceful partner with advocates whether it’s sex abuse or domestic violence than I have been in the 21 years I have been district attorney in this town,” Hynes said.

Of the 85 arrests, 14 have resulted in prison terms and some are critical of Hynes’ commitment to prosecute cases.

“Justice, that’s all we wanted,” said one abuse victim’s father.

“I wanted something to be done about it,” another added.

Those fathers, who didn’t want to be identified by CBS 2, said their sons were abused by Rabbi Joel Kolko. They said both boys were willing to testify against him at trial, but they were stunned when the district attorney let Kolko plead to lesser charges of endangering the welfare of a child, and given three years probation.

“He basically walked free and that’s what they wanted,” one of the fathers said.

“It was just shocking … shocking. It was a shock. We waiting for justice and it’s not being done,” the other added.

But some say cases fall apart because families back out because they are afraid of being ostracized.

“I think they throw the towel in. They might notify the DA after they’ve been to the DA that we’re not pressing the case,” Hikind said.

However, the victims’ fathers and their children were willing to go forward and they said they will never forget the justice denied them by the district attorney.

“They should do what’s right for the families that has been a victim of this guy, and not what’s right for the other side,” one of the fathers said.

Rabbi Kolko was arrested for violating his probation. A spokesman for the district attorney said there will no plea this time. His lawyer said evidence needs to come out at trial before anyone makes conclusions.


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1

 Mar 30, 2012 at 08:44 AM bpwife Says:

i think most of us can agree that it is def true. to many abusers are getting special treatment when they contact their rabbis or their "connections"

2

 Mar 30, 2012 at 09:41 AM DavidCohen Says:

Good to see this getting publicity. The only way to get politicians to change their behavior is through increased scrutiny and exposure.

3

 Mar 30, 2012 at 10:09 AM maxedout Says:

Reply to #1  
bpwife Says:

i think most of us can agree that it is def true. to many abusers are getting special treatment when they contact their rabbis or their "connections"

If these "rabbis" do this, then they too should be arrested and charged as accessories. I would not stand up for such a rabbi, no matter how many times he learned shas.

4

 Mar 30, 2012 at 10:09 AM think Says:

Can someone explain to me why Dov hiknd goes to the media to hang our dirty laundary?? I agree that there is a problem but what is the expected outcome of this besides bad publicity and making jews look like we live the lowest life, which isnt true.

5

 Mar 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM CommonSense Says:

Reply to #4  
think Says:

Can someone explain to me why Dov hiknd goes to the media to hang our dirty laundary?? I agree that there is a problem but what is the expected outcome of this besides bad publicity and making jews look like we live the lowest life, which isnt true.

Has your father ever told you, "I dont want to do this..but it's the only language you know and respond to?"

6

 Mar 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM qazxc Says:

Reply to #4  
think Says:

Can someone explain to me why Dov hiknd goes to the media to hang our dirty laundary?? I agree that there is a problem but what is the expected outcome of this besides bad publicity and making jews look like we live the lowest life, which isnt true.

Perhaps he knows from experience that without media exposure the DA allows the 'askunim' to dictate the handling of sex abuse cases within the communities of Brooklyn.

Nothing like a bright light to make the rats scatter.

As an ehrlicher yid Dov must have spoken to a rov about going public to shame the DA into enforcing the law and not the will of the 'askunim'.

7

 Mar 30, 2012 at 11:43 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
think Says:

Can someone explain to me why Dov hiknd goes to the media to hang our dirty laundary?? I agree that there is a problem but what is the expected outcome of this besides bad publicity and making jews look like we live the lowest life, which isnt true.

It is your position that allows abusers to get away with it.

8

 Mar 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Once again, I have to quote Justice Brandeis:
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant"

10

 Mar 30, 2012 at 01:27 PM Chaim Says:

For all of the skeptics, look at how many decades the Orthodox Union, along with the NCSY covered up the physical abuse by a Rabbi, who worked with young people. In spite of many complaints going back many years, nothing was done, until only a few years ago. The perpetrator finally served over five years in jail, for physical abuse.

11

 Mar 30, 2012 at 01:00 PM Sherree Says:

The DA is playing fast and loose with the lives of our children in order to stay in the good political graces of those who control the vote. It is politics as usual. If the DA truly wanted to clean up this mess he could and he should start by cleaning his own house (office). He could taken a lesson out of the Guiliani clean up the city and corruption work book. It is high time politicians forget about their own political aspirations and start thinking about what they will say when they meet their maker. G-d is the only score keeper they should worry about.

12

 Mar 30, 2012 at 01:15 PM deney Says:

Reply to #4  
think Says:

Can someone explain to me why Dov hiknd goes to the media to hang our dirty laundary?? I agree that there is a problem but what is the expected outcome of this besides bad publicity and making jews look like we live the lowest life, which isnt true.

you my freind are part of the problem going to the media is part of the soloution study the matter before you comment and kuddos to dov

13

 Mar 30, 2012 at 01:19 PM Insider Says:

Wow. We have come a long way. Just a few short years ago, we would not have spoken about this out loud. Today, the DA is condemmed for not doing enough. In the past, such abuse was swept under the rug, today we shout that there is abuse and that abusers must be thrown into jail where they will, G-d willing, rot. It's not only Dov Hikind, it's more and more of us in the community that are demanding this - at the top of our voices.

14

 Mar 30, 2012 at 01:52 PM Anonymous Says:

When hirsch is the one speaking for our community we' re in big trouble. he will only always blame all the orthodox rabbis and saying terrible things about all our Gedoilim and making terrible chillel H-shem instead of worrying for the children.

15

 Mar 30, 2012 at 03:35 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #10  
Chaim Says:

For all of the skeptics, look at how many decades the Orthodox Union, along with the NCSY covered up the physical abuse by a Rabbi, who worked with young people. In spite of many complaints going back many years, nothing was done, until only a few years ago. The perpetrator finally served over five years in jail, for physical abuse.

He didn't serve five years. He wasn't even sentenced to five years.

Last I heard he was out pending his appeal.

16

 Mar 30, 2012 at 04:30 PM OYVY2 Says:

Reply to #6  
qazxc Says:

Perhaps he knows from experience that without media exposure the DA allows the 'askunim' to dictate the handling of sex abuse cases within the communities of Brooklyn.

Nothing like a bright light to make the rats scatter.

As an ehrlicher yid Dov must have spoken to a rov about going public to shame the DA into enforcing the law and not the will of the 'askunim'.

yes this is correct Hines has a reputation for his kind of dealings with child molesters
talking deals and pleading them out, he is a puppet and the ones to blame are the organizations that are making him do this, yes, let's wash our dirty laundry in public, it seems that the frum community did not handle this right for years and years, let's remember mondrowitz, same old same old time to not depend on some "leading" rabbis and organizations to do what has to be done with this.

17

 Mar 30, 2012 at 05:22 PM TheLionKing Says:

There is a famous story of when someone told R' Yaakov Kamenetsky zt"l that he had told his rav of a certain person who was a child molester and the rav said he would "take care of it", but he wanted to know whether he should go to the police too.

R' Yaakov's response was that he didn't understand the question: "If by 'taking care of it' the rav meant that he'll go to the police then of course you don't have to, and if he didn't mean that he was going to the police then of course you must."

A shame there's no gedolim like that today

18

 Mar 31, 2012 at 11:45 PM hi Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

When hirsch is the one speaking for our community we' re in big trouble. he will only always blame all the orthodox rabbis and saying terrible things about all our Gedoilim and making terrible chillel H-shem instead of worrying for the children.

i agree to you.
you people here don't know rabbi kolko, he was never convicted and there is no evidence against him. All his so called victims which have over time slipped off the derech had some personal grudge which they channeled to start this smear campaign against him and shockingly they did this campaign a already few times just to back out once he lost his reputation. It's a shame people don't try to get the truth about his case and follow these reshaim which aren't even religious.

19

 Apr 01, 2012 at 02:03 AM schwartzi Says:

Reply to #16  
OYVY2 Says:

yes this is correct Hines has a reputation for his kind of dealings with child molesters
talking deals and pleading them out, he is a puppet and the ones to blame are the organizations that are making him do this, yes, let's wash our dirty laundry in public, it seems that the frum community did not handle this right for years and years, let's remember mondrowitz, same old same old time to not depend on some "leading" rabbis and organizations to do what has to be done with this.

Mondrowitz is KING! And no one can touch him,much less extradite him back to the states for trial. I remember this mamzer,and the effects he had on the kids, Rachmona Litzlan. the kids were mesmerized by him . I remember driving home some boys in my van from yeshiva one night,and he had his radio program on and how the kids listened and drank his every word,they were spellbound. Of course this was before he was unmasked.
One of the fathers of one of the kids who was abused by this ruusha,( a large framed tough talking Israeli) came to tears,describing how Mondrowitz destroyed his child.
Cant understand how this lowest of lowlifes is able to hide in Ger,in Israel, and the govt cant get him back here to face the music.

20

 Apr 01, 2012 at 08:57 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
hi Says:

i agree to you.
you people here don't know rabbi kolko, he was never convicted and there is no evidence against him. All his so called victims which have over time slipped off the derech had some personal grudge which they channeled to start this smear campaign against him and shockingly they did this campaign a already few times just to back out once he lost his reputation. It's a shame people don't try to get the truth about his case and follow these reshaim which aren't even religious.

You must be either a member of the Kolko family, or just stam a liar. I have personal acquaintance with several Kolko victims. I have also spoken to Rabbonim (some of the same ones the fanatics accuse of covering up) who have since met and believed other victims. In case you are blind to the facts, Kolko was convicted, albeit to a lesser charge of reckless endangerment. This was NOT a smear campaign. Those that left the derech did so in a rebellious reacton to their abuse. Those aree documented facts. Shame on you for siding with a menuval who is a disgrace to Klal Yisroel. And don't bother us with the garbage about his doing teshuvah. That is only between him and Hashem. We are obligated to deal with him as the criminal he is. May Klal Yisroel be protected from him and those like him.

21

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