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New York - Activist Appeals For Albany Abuse Law To Jewish Community

Published on: March 16, 2009 11:13 AM
By: VIN News by David Gold
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Today dozens of activists have flooded the streets of Williamsburg and Boroug Park distributing these fliersToday dozens of activists have flooded the streets of Williamsburg and Boroug Park distributing these fliers

New York - New York - Noted Jewish community activist Meir (Mark) Appel made a passionate appeal to the frum community to rally behind a controversial new sexual abuse bill to be proposed in Albany.

The bill, if passed, would extend the “statute of limitations,” or the time legally allowed for sexual abuse victims to press charges, to 10 years after reaching the age of 18, as opposed to the 5 years currently allowed—effectively allowing victims to sue to the age of 28, not 23.

Most significantly, the bill would create a temporary one-year “window” in New York State in the near future during which any victim could come forward to press charges for any alleged past crime, regardless of when it occurred or how old the victim is.

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Appel made the appeal live this past motzoei Shabbos radio show of Jewish radio talk show host Zev Brenner.

“People should call their organizations… to get this bill passed,” said Appel. “We don’t need any more conferences.”

Addressing those who felt the issue of frum-community sexual abuse is being disproportionately emphasized, Appel praised the Jewish community to put the relatively small but critical problem in context. “There is no community like us in the world… there is no greater nation in the world than Am Yisroel.”

Most significantly, however, Mr. Appel directly addressed prominent Agudath Israel official Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, whose organization has yet to take a public stand on the issue.  “Please… I ask you like a father to a son.  Ich bet dir… get on board.”

Appel also inexplicably wondered aloud why outspoken activist Dov Hikind did not mention the bill at his recent abuse-victims chizuk event, when he did just that several times.

The interview wrapped up with Appel defending his position against several frum and irate anti-bill callers and reiterating his call for the frum grassroots to call upon their organizations to support the bill. Appel also exhorted listeners to “flood the lines” of State Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-50th Dist.), who as the Assembly Chairman on the Committee of Codes decides which criminal justice bills even make it to the floor for voting.

In an e-mail to VIN News, Orthodox Union Executive Director Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Weinreb insisted that the OU supports the intent of this bill.  “The Orthodox Union generally supports the expansion of the statute of limitations to enable victims of sexual abuse to pursue legal claims, and we are not opposed to this legislation,” Rabbi Weinreb wrote.

Also today, the Am Echad organization will hold a news conference in Borough Park in front of Amnon’s Pizza at 13th Ave. and 48th St. to rally support for the Markey bill.

VIN NEWS ALERT: Assemblyman Lentol’s office has asked that when you call, please know which bill you’re calling about—there are TWO!  The main bill, the one being pushed by Appel, is Bill A2596/S2568, a.k.a. the Markey Bill.  The alternative bill, A5708, is known as the Lopez bill. (It contains no “window” and only extends the statute of limitations to age 25, not 23—for full details on both, click here .)


For audio of the full interview on the Zev Brenner show, click below.

 



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Read Comments (25)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 16, 2009 at 10:32 AM Anonymous Says:

Hashem should help that all those out there helping victims should never need to know of such suffering!!

2

 Mar 16, 2009 at 10:30 AM Our Problem? Says:

We all understand that the Church is fearful and with good reason. The Church has acknowledged that they had a systematic problem and has taken steps to address it.

Do we have the same reasons to be fearful? I believe that we don't and that abuse in our kehilos is not systematic.

On the other hand, if we do have a systematic problem that is being hidden, then a grass roots effort is needed to ensure that this bill passes.

Any organization that takes a position opposing this bill is declaring publicly that they have something to hide.

3

 Mar 16, 2009 at 10:50 AM Yossie Says:

Kol Hakvod to Meir Appel and his Am Echad institute for fighting for us.

I think this bill should be passed and even enacted on a federal level. Here in Florida agroup of us have gotten together, and before we send our kids to any day-school/yeshiva we want to know whether they have a Sexual Predator check in place, do they fingerprint the workers, teachers, rabbies, etc. Do they have training for staff that are in contact with kids, and what action do they take if obuse alegations surface.
If this is not in place WE TAKE OUR KIDS OUT OF THE SCHOOL! I can tell you that I know of several cases during the past few months where kids were taken out of such schools.

4

 Mar 16, 2009 at 11:04 AM chaim Says:

Where is hikind stand I see he is a cospansor at both bils bill A02596 from markey has him as a cosponsr and bill A05708 from lopoz has him to as a co sppnsor is he dancing at both and now we know why he is quite...

5

 Mar 16, 2009 at 11:23 AM Erlich Says:

Why is there no endorsment from any Gedolim? The Agudas Yisroel is not endorsing it. The only endorsments they have is Noach Dear and Zev Brenner. I listened to the show and there are opposing veiws too. So find out from your local Rov or local Kehila that you belong to what you should do.

6

 Mar 16, 2009 at 12:13 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #4  
chaim Says:

Where is hikind stand I see he is a cospansor at both bils bill A02596 from markey has him as a cosponsr and bill A05708 from lopoz has him to as a co sppnsor is he dancing at both and now we know why he is quite...

Biklal Mosayim Moneh, Lopez's bill is incorporated in the Markey's bill which goes even further. Lopez's bill has one strongpoint over Markey's bill in that it includes public institutions too. Why should public schools be exempt from prosecution? Are we trying to protect children or first trying to protect public schools? I would support the Markey's bill if it was fair; but it isn't. There is no excuse for exempting public schools.

7

 Mar 16, 2009 at 12:18 PM shmiel glassman Says:

meyer youre a good guy but i disagree!
mark this bill will do very little for 2 reasons (its hype w/o substance)
a.it is very difficult to prosecute very old stories under cross examination where much of the details are sketchy
b. the damage this does for many of the victims is far greater than potential good of possible closure.
c. these "shpritzes" with the best of intentions hurt the cause the public needs to see "yishuv hadaas & constructive measures"
mark hatzlacha

8

 Mar 16, 2009 at 01:40 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Hashem should help that all those out there helping victims should never need to know of such suffering!!

Rest assured, All of us (or at least, the vast majority) feel for the victims. We all want to see the abusers pay the price for their crimes ("crime" hardly describes it), but the bill is flawed, and it's funny that the Sponsor/s (not Sen. Markey) and some of the backstage advocates are so far (in their personal lives) from the wholesome, Nuclear Family as we know it!!!

9

 Mar 16, 2009 at 01:58 PM Anonymous Says:

This bill will accomplish nothing for the victims, and less for the community.
This is a brazen attempt by the trial lawyers to rake it in some more.
People, don't be naive. Don't be fooled.
אידן, לאזט אייך נישט נערן, אין לאזט איייך נישט מאכן צי נער.
Nice try Meir!

10

 Mar 16, 2009 at 01:24 PM deepthinker Says:

Mark: The Catholic Chuch is not lying to Mr. Lentol.

We Orthodox Jews don't want this bill passed. It will allow every phony opportunist to fabricate claims against our holy Yeshivos, which will take years to adjudicate and bankrupt our institutions.

Please note that Rabbi Zwiebel, who is in touch with Gedolei Torah and Roshei Yeshivos, is not supporting this bill.

"Binyan NeoRim, SeTiRoh!"

11

 Mar 16, 2009 at 01:17 PM annon Says:

I reviewed both bill, the lopez bill makes more sence overall, but needs a little more strength.

12

 Mar 16, 2009 at 01:14 PM esther Says:

Reply to #7  
shmiel glassman Says:

meyer youre a good guy but i disagree!
mark this bill will do very little for 2 reasons (its hype w/o substance)
a.it is very difficult to prosecute very old stories under cross examination where much of the details are sketchy
b. the damage this does for many of the victims is far greater than potential good of possible closure.
c. these "shpritzes" with the best of intentions hurt the cause the public needs to see "yishuv hadaas & constructive measures"
mark hatzlacha

a.shouldn't it be up to the adult victims to decide what's good for them.how will this hurt the public cause?how is putting even an old molester in prison not constructive?do you feel old nazis should also be left alone?

13

 Mar 16, 2009 at 01:11 PM Anonymous Says:

This bill has the potential to bankrupt many yeshivas. That is why it it is being opposed by the Aguda,and why the Gedolim are not supporting it. It is unfortunate that money is more important to them then enacting protections for victims. Also they will now have to incur added expense and effort towards prevention instead of relying on Hashem to save them.

14

 Mar 16, 2009 at 02:40 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

This bill has the potential to bankrupt many yeshivas. That is why it it is being opposed by the Aguda,and why the Gedolim are not supporting it. It is unfortunate that money is more important to them then enacting protections for victims. Also they will now have to incur added expense and effort towards prevention instead of relying on Hashem to save them.

instead of relying on Hashem to save them?

15

 Mar 16, 2009 at 02:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Our Problem? Says:

We all understand that the Church is fearful and with good reason. The Church has acknowledged that they had a systematic problem and has taken steps to address it.

Do we have the same reasons to be fearful? I believe that we don't and that abuse in our kehilos is not systematic.

On the other hand, if we do have a systematic problem that is being hidden, then a grass roots effort is needed to ensure that this bill passes.

Any organization that takes a position opposing this bill is declaring publicly that they have something to hide.

I agree with no. 2. If we don't have a systemic problem, what do we have to be afraid of? And if we do have a systemic problem, we need this bill even more.

16

 Mar 16, 2009 at 02:17 PM PMO Says:

Anything that will turn a big giant spotlight on any child rapist is worthwhile to me. We may not be able to get them all, but we'll get some and that's a start. I don't care how black your hat is, or how long your beard is, or prominent your family name is. If you are destroying the lives of children, pushing them toward depression, pushing them toward suicide, pushing them toward a life without Torah at all, you may as well have killed them. No bill is going to be perfect. But if it stops even one pig in our community from destroying the lives of children in their care, its a step in the right direction.

This issue has been a hot topic here for a while. The fact is that none of us. From the newest BT to the Gedolim know what to do. We've never really taken this issue on before. You'll hear a p'sak this way or that way, but we have no idea how far the problem goes. Partially, because we shun every accuser. We threaten their families. We threaten to throw their siblings or other family members out of our yeshivos. Why? Because we believe that Rav So-And-So could never have done such a thing and unless 2 people saw him actually doing "it" the accuser is a rasha who should be shunned from the community and neither his kin or decendents should ever be allowed into a mainstream yeshiva or marry anyone, anywhere. The reality is that it happens. The longer we pretend it doesn't, the more children will be forced to live unspeakable pain... the more children will die of their own hand.

17

 Mar 16, 2009 at 03:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

This bill has the potential to bankrupt many yeshivas. That is why it it is being opposed by the Aguda,and why the Gedolim are not supporting it. It is unfortunate that money is more important to them then enacting protections for victims. Also they will now have to incur added expense and effort towards prevention instead of relying on Hashem to save them.

It will bankrupt only those yeshivos that have been knowingly and willingly enabling child molesters.

18

 Mar 16, 2009 at 05:58 PM Anonymous Says:

i dont think that ny will br a better place to live after this bill most probly worse

19

 Mar 16, 2009 at 06:37 PM shmiel glassman Says:

response to esther
1.this hurts the cause because it gives the public the impression that this campaign ( so delicate in nature) is handled by nice people w/o the clinical or forensic or torah expertise
2.the physchiatric times had an amazing 2 part series on "interviewing victims of molestation" techniques & flaws -read it & youll better understand how easily a case can be botched.
3.yes an adult can decide but since they are emotionaly in it for theyre own sake it should be discussed with a top person in the field -the drills & scars of trial lawyers ...can take a 100 sessions to undo many of these victims have moved on to continue theyre lives & may not truly realize the ramifications
4 WE MUST DO

20

 Mar 16, 2009 at 06:23 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
deepthinker Says:

Mark: The Catholic Chuch is not lying to Mr. Lentol.

We Orthodox Jews don't want this bill passed. It will allow every phony opportunist to fabricate claims against our holy Yeshivos, which will take years to adjudicate and bankrupt our institutions.

Please note that Rabbi Zwiebel, who is in touch with Gedolei Torah and Roshei Yeshivos, is not supporting this bill.

"Binyan NeoRim, SeTiRoh!"

Speak for yourself. WE Orthodox Jews WANT this bill passed!

21

 Mar 16, 2009 at 08:25 PM Anonymous Says:

How about putting a list online of all accused in the last 5 years?

22

 Mar 17, 2009 at 08:47 AM meyer Says:

Reply to #7  
shmiel glassman Says:

meyer youre a good guy but i disagree!
mark this bill will do very little for 2 reasons (its hype w/o substance)
a.it is very difficult to prosecute very old stories under cross examination where much of the details are sketchy
b. the damage this does for many of the victims is far greater than potential good of possible closure.
c. these "shpritzes" with the best of intentions hurt the cause the public needs to see "yishuv hadaas & constructive measures"
mark hatzlacha

they had many years to come up with a solution and did not............lo tamod al dam raecha we will prevail best regards to ure familly

23

 Mar 17, 2009 at 05:42 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #10  
deepthinker Says:

Mark: The Catholic Chuch is not lying to Mr. Lentol.

We Orthodox Jews don't want this bill passed. It will allow every phony opportunist to fabricate claims against our holy Yeshivos, which will take years to adjudicate and bankrupt our institutions.

Please note that Rabbi Zwiebel, who is in touch with Gedolei Torah and Roshei Yeshivos, is not supporting this bill.

"Binyan NeoRim, SeTiRoh!"

WRONG!!! WE Orthodox Jews WANT this bill passed!!! WE want molestors and their protectors to shake in their pants and run for the hills. WE want to clean house both in yeshivas and in the home. WE want victims to know that they have options, they have an ear now, people will listen, and insitutions will negotiate to get rid of the shmutz.

WE are not concerned about bankrupting institutions. Most of the victims are not as concerned with the money as the Yeshivas are. They are more concerned about justice, in so much as stopping the predators, bringing them out in the open so they can't hurt anyone else, and more than anything else to be believed so that people can be aware and educated, so that there will not be any more innocent victims falling prey to the evil and sickness of religious pedophiles of the world who mask their vile actions with holy clothing and acts that are otherwise pious and charitable.

And if that means there is a slew of abusers that must be jailed then so be it. If it means that insitutions will have to pay out bucks because they are too stubborn or have been too stubborn in the past to do the right thing then so be it. That will be up to a judge and jury in each case who would be in charge of hearing each case, deciding each case, and awarding the victim or sentencing the perp.

If an institution closes (which is doubtable because they will find a way to hide their funds or negotiate a deal, changing hands, voting in a whole new board of directors, new Rosh Yeshiva and so on), then a new one will open in its place. We are not afraid that they have run out of their bags of tricks.

It is time to stand up for the victims and for the present and c"v future victims. Lets get our priorities in order and lets have our compassion directed appropriately. If the institutions wanted us to worry about them, they should have worried about our children and not just make child molestation an acceptable form of child rearing. Ask anyone in the chassidishe community, especially in Williamsburg how many boys they know that were molested. It is sick, how it is almost a common occurrence and no one has done anything about it.

Think about 19 year old Shua who died just a few weeks ago in Lakewood, who was a victim of molestation and therefore like many turned to drugs to ease the pain of that experience. He died of an overdose on Shabbos Kodesh. All he wanted was to have peace from his nightmares. There is not enough money in this world that can bring him back, not enough money in this world that can ease the pain for his parents, his siblings, his friends and neighbors that will never ever see his smile again, or hear his voice again, or will be able to hold him in their arms again.

But there should have been justice for him. The rabbonim that were consulted should have been able to guide him and his family better. His abuser should have been put out of business. Concern should have been much more concentrated on the victim than on the reputation of the abuser and his future. Look what happened to the victim's future!!! It ended, cut short and the very young age of 19. Do you get it yet? This is the point!!! Right here!!! THIS is it. THIS here is the ultimate damage that we have to be concerned with and not bankrupting the institutions. WE have to be concerned with bankrupting Yiddishe Neshomas. We have to be concerned with shoving them away from their religious foundations, values and moral codes. We have to be concerned with shoving them away from their homes and their families. We have to be concerned about throwing them out of Yeshivas and them living on the streets self-medicating and suffering day and night while their abusers enjoy a place of honor and respect. We have to concern ourselves with children who are afraid to go home and others who are afraid to go to school.

Robbosei I beg you, Men and Women, young and old, open your eyes wide and clear. Open your hearts and understand clearly what has been going on in the past and what is going on now. Understand how they are running scared and where their concerns are now. Their only fear now is still the "money" and not the children and not the din v'cheshbon they will each have to give nuch 120 when they stand before melech malchei hamelachim. What about you? Will you be able to say you did the right thing?

24

 Mar 18, 2009 at 04:09 AM MARK MEYER Says:

Reply to #10  
deepthinker Says:

Mark: The Catholic Chuch is not lying to Mr. Lentol.

We Orthodox Jews don't want this bill passed. It will allow every phony opportunist to fabricate claims against our holy Yeshivos, which will take years to adjudicate and bankrupt our institutions.

Please note that Rabbi Zwiebel, who is in touch with Gedolei Torah and Roshei Yeshivos, is not supporting this bill.

"Binyan NeoRim, SeTiRoh!"

I THING YOU ARE WRONG..........A MAJORITY OF OUR FRUM COMMUNITY SUPPORTED THIS BILL RABBI ZWEIBEL OR ANY ROSH YESHIVAS DID NOT OBJECT TO THIS BILL ,, AND IF THEY DID,THEN WHY DID THEY NOT OBJECT TO IN A PSAK I AM ALWAYS READY TO HEED THE VOICE OF GEDOLIMI CALL HIM LET ME KNOW, RABBONIM I SPOKE TO TOLD ME IN A INSTANCE OF A SERIOUS CRIME ONE MUST GO TO THE POLICE AT ONCE A NOT GO TO A BAIS DIN MY POINT IS IF AGUDA IS AGAINST THE BILL WHY NOT ISSUE A RABBINIC DECLARATION AM ACHAD- WE ARE ONE

25

 Apr 01, 2009 at 10:02 AM Markey bill unfair to religious institutions Says:

The Catholic church would accept the Lopez bill which would include prosecution of molesters at public institutions as well as religious institutions. The Markey bill gave an exemption to public schools and institutions. Therefore, the Markey bill is aimed at religious schools, clinics, etc., while giving a pass to public school teachers, etc.

26

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