A Message to the DA: You Gotta Work on Your Reputation

The buzz in Williamsburg is that witnesses and victims of sex abuse worry about talking to the Brooklyn DA’s office because they believe their names will be leaked back to the offenders and then they will be harassed. They worry about this even if they do not intend to be witnesses at trials. In actual cases such as Weberman, such private informants could provide additional information that would facilitate the investigation and might help the DA find others who would agree to testify.

I agree with the DA that the religious enforcers of a misguided interpretation of mesirah (snitching) are worse than the Mafia. He is right that part of the problem is not of his making. But the DA’s reputation is a problem of his own creation.

DA Charles Hynes has not taken steps to function transparently.

Mr. Hynes, you say that ultra orthodox obstructors of molesting are “worse than the Mafia.” Well, then it is your job to give this problem your best effort. If you cannot succeed in stepping up to the plate it is time for you to take off your uniform and hand it over to someone who has what it takes. The war against child sexual abuse cannot be waged and won by an office that does not have the confidence of potential witnesses.

6 thoughts on “A Message to the DA: You Gotta Work on Your Reputation

  1. Beautifully said YL!
    Hynes has no vested interest in prosecuting, arresting or bringing to justice any one who is connected to the Orthododox Jewish community. The evidence is shockingly transparent as you clearly describe. I am sure all your readers are aware that Weberman will very likely get a sweet plea deal and be back in business before you can say Jack Robinson.

    You are right that the war against CSA cannot be waged by the current DA’s office, but is there anything we can do?
    I have personally met with Hynes regarding this subject and he will not budge on many levels. His incessant talk about how much he has done for the community since he first began 20 years ago, made me want to vomit. You can be sure Yerachmiel that the one arrest was nothing more than a PR stunt.

    Hynes is good at some things- child sexual abuse in Brooklyns Orthodox Jewish community is not one of them.

  2. Ad-Kan,

    I should add on that I believe he is trying harder since the NY Times whacked his reputation in several long front page articles. In fact, I believe he will deliver on the Weberman prosecution based on things I have heard. My point is that he has to deliver consistently in a lot of cases before he merits a full vote of confidence.

  3. If a victim has a choice I think they are better off going to a Federal prosecutor. If you or anyone you know was a victim of sex abuse where you were transported across state lines you should contact the FBI through their listed phone number. From what I have heard a number of Weberman’s victims were driven from Brooklyn to upstate NY. However, he seems to have favored the George Washington Bridge or one of the tunnels rather than use the Tappan Zee Bridge. Thus they went through NJ. If the trip led to sex abuse it was a Federal crime. Contact the FBI

    Phone: (212) 384-1000; Fax: (212) 384-4073 / 4074; E-mail: newyork@fbi.gov

  4. I don’t see anything Hynes can do about the leaking of accusers or witnesses names. In any such case, an accused person is entitled to know who their accusers are, and their lawyer will know who the opposition’s witnesses are. Therefore, since the accused molester (such as Weberman) knows who it is, THEY can tell their friends about the “moser” and get the community to act against them. There’s nothing Hynes or anyone else can do about this information leaking out.

  5. Hedyot, You ignored my wording. I wrote: “They worry about this even if they Do NOT INTEND TO BE WITNESSES at trials.” If information is given as background but will not be entered into evidence (unless it is exculpatory, per Brady) the DA does not have to share it with the defense. That is what I am talking about. Even if they do have to share a name they should not leak it to the other side a moment before they have to. Very often, as in the Weberman case, there are many victims, most of whom are not willing to testify. But more of them would talk to the DA to assist the investigation if they were confident that their names would not be leaked.

    For example, in the Mondrowitz case, investigators talked to Jewish victims who were not willing to testify. But the facts they shared helped the police recognize that he was a predator and gave them an MO that guided their investigation so they could find non-Jewish kids who were willing to testify.

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