Zaakah’s Outcry Against Rabbinical Mishandling of Kolko Case

Zaakah, a group committed to “Crying out for the silenced,” issued the following statement after Yosef Kolko pleaded guilty to multiple child sex abuse felonies.

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.

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2 thoughts on “Zaakah’s Outcry Against Rabbinical Mishandling of Kolko Case

  1. A perfect example of communally shared guilt, this circling the wagons around pedophiles and rapists while intimidating the victims. It’s the worst thing these people do – worse than the welfare fraud and other scheming which is endemic in these communities.

  2. Seth,
    not to be picky, really not, and i only admire your posts, but OF COURSE pedophilia is worse than welfare fraud, and kosher meat fraud, and even ponzi schemes, the latter i add, with due thought. as to how many people’s lives can be destroyed. But but but, still not in the horrific way that childhood abuse annihilates an innocent child.
    Pedophila is a crime that has a specific victim, in most cases perhaps dozens or more of victiims, hearsay, to be sure, I am not involved in any of those communities, todah la’el..

    As far as my knowledge just from reading . The psychological damage caused is in rov hamikrim for life, , well, I am going out on a limb here, but in most cases for life, AFILU though it can, over the years be ameliorated. (time, psychotherapy if conducted by a competent person). All the rest of the corruption in the charedi, chassidic, lakewood type worlds is financial, and the damage is spread over many victims, taxpayers, govt, et al et al et al.
    But child abuse has a very specific victim. And again, in many cases in the rabbinic world perhaps several dozen by each perp rabbi (sic) you know it makes me sick to think of these perverts and all of their friends at the Yeshiva, or wherever, who knew for YEARS.. Evidently even in cases where perhaps no specific individual complained. THEY KNEW. they always KNEW.
    This is a bit out of context, but not really, years ago, when i was living in Israel, and sad to say, probably in the 70’s, a close (male) friend , regarding the disgusting laws and bureaucracy that basically, due to their insanity and irrationality turned just about every citizen of Israel into a poshea, just to lead a normal life. . The laws were kafkaesque, draconian. (re idiotic things like phones and tv’s . v’kadomeh. Friend said “Tsarich la’haros et hakol v’l’hatchil me chadash, He was not a radical by any means. A simple computer guy, disgusted by what we all knew.

    Well, how do we “horess et hakol v’matchil me’chadash??????, i do not know. except that one recurring theme in my mind, is that “Rabbi ” should no longer be an occupation just as Sarsur is illegal, That is a start. They can study, and perhaps be spiritual advisors, those very few who are trusted, perhaps, somewhat akin to Maharat. That is radical. but not so insane as it may sound at first impression. There are several lay- led minyanim in Manhattan, on the UWS and probably elsewhere.. They do shabbos chagim etc. And for those who want more, there are several Shtiebelim,, same neighborhood. but i am ignorant as to their organizational set-up. West End Av. in upper 80’s low 90’s. OK, now i have truly gone too far astray. but, the point of writing this is re crimes with specific victims, and crimes whose effects are spread out over many. Like our FUHRER. and his sidekick, Bloomberg, who is taking away our civil liberties, slowly but surely, bit by bit, accustoming people to the loss of liberty. Comparable to the complacency of the “ortho” world” (I am using this here, as an inclusive term) people will adapt, and acquiesce, and eventually adjust, slowly, and finally not react, in the end. Did not intend to make this political , but if Y allows it, I stand by my statements. There, i am on the no fly list, anyway, do not want to be sexually molested by the felons (known, a fact, perhaps since corrected)…….I really just want a Saudi passport so that i can just arrive and skip TSA. Like our friends, the Saudis. If they are safe enough for Janet, certainly I should be as well. gone a bit far astray. but as KOLKO goes the way of all human garbage……..we will have 365 days a year, each a “birthday” . “NW” day, “YK” day, let us aspire to more than 365. amen.

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