”I have no idea how anyone found out – but calls are coming daily from many sources. So far, we’ve been protecting you.”
This was the message in an email from Debbie Fox, of Jewish Family Services (JFS) in Los Angeles. According to the Sydney Morning Herald the recipient of the email is a long time employee of JFS with a history of sexually abusing boys back in Australia.
Mrs. Fox runs a program, Aleinu, promoted and supported by Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky and others in Agudah circles. It is supposed to deal with sexual abuse in the Jewish Community.
I am reluctantly concluding that the haredi community would like to prevent sexual abuse but is still more concerned with protecting its molesters and will not turn them over to the police or even take adequate actions to remove them from work where they pose a danger to children. Hence, even those who advocate prevention education cannot be trusted when it comes to dealing with actual abusers. I say don’t trust them unless they have an established record of consistently and unequivocally supporting the reporting of abuse to the civil authorities.
Stay tuned. I expect more of this story will be emerging in the coming days and weeks.
Update April 10: Aleinu responded to the report by denying the email was about an employee, claiming instead,
Ms Fox was contacted by a victim requesting assistance connecting with the local Rabbinic Council in Los Angeles, and at the victim’s request, she served as a liaison between the council, the victim, and the alleged perpetrator.
“There was nothing reportable to law enforcement because Ms Fox was never made directly aware of specific incidents that had occurred in Australia decades earlier, nor did the alleged perpetrator admit to her to any crimes or specific actions.
Aleinu staff follows all mandated reporting laws to the letter.
If JFS/Aleinu is telling the truth it still does not preclude the possibility that they were in other ways protecting this molester.
I expect we will hear more from the Australian source. However I would note that a number of organizations aligned with Agudah have a fetish of announcing they comply with the law but have a fetish of finding every loophole possible to not report or to create legal rationale’s for not reporting. Sometimes they engage in fanciful constructions of what they hear which contort the facts so they can claim the allegations about an abuser are not credible enough to require reporting.
I have heard too many stories about such groups finding ways not to know things and not to report for me to grant full faith and credit to Aleinu’s defense.