Kolko Plea Proves Rabbis Shouldn’t be
Contacted In Molestation Cases
In light of today’s bombshell guilty plea on the part of former teacher and camp counselor Yosef Kolko, we would like to draw attention to the following letters that were released in the Lakewood community in reference to this case (see those letters and fliers here). Most glaringly, in a letter from Rabbi Yisroel Belsky he explicitly states that “After conducting a thorough investigation I am absolutely certain that R’Yosef Kolko, may his light shine, is perfectly innocent of any wrongdoing of any nature whatsoever.” This is a prime example of why, in cases of suspected abuse, one must immediately turn to the PROPER authorities – the local police department – NOT Rabbinical authorities. Rabbis are simply not equipped or trained to handle investigations that have the magnitude that sexual abuse cases have. Their “thorough” investigation not only completely cleared a man who today pled guilty to the very same horrific crimes, but also went so far as to accuse the family of being the true perpetrators!
In addition to their complete inability to properly investigate such matters, this case is a tragic – but perfect – illustration of why Rabbinical authorities cannot make decisions about matters that need to be handled in criminal court – and the potential consequences for innocent people if they do. In addition to accusing the family of perpetrating these horrific crimes Rabbi Belsky urges people to influence the “informers” to retract their reports. As a result of his words and the accompanying proclamation signed by many Rabbis from different ultra Orthodox communities, the family has been forced to flee their community as if they were the ones who had something to be ashamed of. It was not enough that they’ve had to deal with the horror of their child’s violation; the entire family was victimized by the community with the full blessing of well respected Rabbis!
The end result of this tragic tale is that Kolko pled guilty and will hopefully be sentenced appropriately in a manner that keeps him from hurting any more children. Let this be a lesson to all who advocated on behalf of a guilty man. To those who were so sure that he was innocent because of the support of Rabbinical authorities: Rabbis have NO BUSINESS investigating or making determinations regarding sexual abuse cases!
Lastly, there is nothing that can be said or done to remedy this family’s pain at the abominable treatment they received from the hands of their own community for doing the right thing. To all of those who spoke badly about them or acted out against them: Please don’t forget that the child they saved by speaking up may be yours.