Weekly Round-up: June 15, 2013

The OU and RCA’s Failure to Confront Rabbi Belsky

For the last few weeks I have been blogging a lot about Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, Senior OU Kosher posek, who behaved like a gangster, slandering and trying to intimidate the family of the witness against his protege and musmach, Rabbi Yosef Kolko, just as he also worked to defend, his uncle, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko against charges in the past. Yosef Kolko pleaded guilty to multiple felony charge on May 15th. Yehuda Kolko pleaded guilty years ago.

I started out on May 17th reporting that Rabbi Belsky still claimed Kolko was innocent and followed with a longer post, Belsky is 0 for 2 on the Kolkos and Yet He’s the OU’s Posek. I was hoping the OU and its rabbinical arm, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), would either get him to recant or fire him. No dice! In fact his prominence inhibited them from even issuing the kind of statement they issued after Nechemya Weberman’s conviction.

Meanwhile they also ignored violations by Belsky of conflict of interest rules (negius) when he issued a ruling in Los Angeles that financially benefited his son-in-law (also here).

So, on May 30th I kicked off a series of posts with, Day # 16 Since Kolko Conviction and the OU and RCA Are Still Struck Dumb.  That was followed with posts for Day #17, #19, #20, and #22. I tried to vary them but they all included a call on readers to express their outrage to the leaders of the OU/RCA.

The campaign led to a bizarre outcome. The OU, together with the RCA, issued a cockamamie statement that did not mention Kolko by name and made believe that Belsky actually supported the RCA position while it ignored Belsky’s role in witness intimidation and slander. That prompted my June 6 post, The RCA/OU Finally Responds to Kolko Conviction- Not With a Bang but a Whimper!   It was an angry exasperated response. I followed on June 12th with more measured but forceful Open Letter to Rabbi Dratch, Executive VP of the RCA and someone who has worked hard to get the RCA to adopt an excellent policy position on child abuse.

I don’t know if my letter did the trick. But a few hours after I posted, the RCA (sans OU) came out with a statement that partially corrected the problems but still overlooked Belsky’s slander and witness intimidation. I lambasted their “clarification” with a serious posting and a parody. (Hint- don’t read the parody before the serious posting or you will miss a lot of the humor.)

For the record, this campaign is not over. Our children deserve policies and poskim who will protect them. Stay posted.

Also read an excellent series of posts about Rabbi Belsky on the Daas Torah blog of Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn.

Problems with the Brooklyn DA, Charles Hynes

The DA should be the friend of those who want to bring sex offenders to justice. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Brooklyn where Charles J (Joe) Hynes covets the votes of the large orthodox Jewish voting block and seem to keep muffing cases against orthodox molesters. I have written about it in the past. This was a busy week for more revelations about our ethically dubious DA.

  • Hynes Has NEVER Sent a Haredi to Jail for Obstructing the Prosecution of Sex Abuse
  • TV viewers rejected Brooklyn DA, the CBS show that is being challenged in court as an in-kind infomercial donation by CBS to Joe Hynes. If the court rules in favor of Hynes’ challenger, Mr. Abe George, it would be a violation of the NYS campaign contribution limit of $5,000. It did so poorly in its Tuesday night prime-time slot that CBS shunted it off to a Saturday night slot. I hope Brooklyn voters will deliver the same verdict on Hynes, come the primary on September 10.
  •  According to the New York Times, the Brooklyn DA, ” Must testify about allegations of misconduct in his office,… a federal magistrate judge ruled on Wednesday. The ruling came in the case of Jabbar Collins, who has filed a civil rights lawsuit… Mr. Collins won his release after serving 16 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit. He is seeking to prove not only that there was misconduct in his case, but also that Mr. Hynes’s office was engaged in widespread abuses that tainted other cases over a 20-year period.”
  • I am hearing, off the record, that loads of reporters are buzzing around the Office of the District Attorney. Expect some more revelations of DA misconduct in the coming days. If ten days pass and I am wrong, I will eat humble pie and post an admission of error. If I am right, I will try not to gloat.

Other News

  • According to Haaretz, “Indictments for sexual offenses in the Israel Defense Forces nearly doubled in 2012.” I think this reflects greater willingness to report offenses as women see the army taking their complaints seriously.
  • DNA Info- Chicago reports about the cover-up of abuse by Rabbi Aryeh Leib Dudovitz who was arrest recently for sex abuse about seven years ago. Complicit parties included the meshichist wing of Chabad and Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, a prominent RCA posek,  who may have failed to report the abuse to the authorities.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Round-up: June 15, 2013

    • Stewart,

      Thanks for the link. The Ed Kramer case involved an alleged pedophile who ingeniously has postponed trial for over a decade with a raft of legal maneuvers, quite possibly abbetted by incompetent prison and prosecution officials or officials who are indifferent enough to the issue and therefore not willing to do the extra work and pay the extra cost of bringing down this SOB. The added wrinkle in this story is that he is the founder and the 1/3 partner in a firm that organizes the very popular Dragon Com conventions. Clearly he draws some profit from his stake and uses it to sustain his legal maneuvering. Dragon Com fans who care enough about justice will just have to stop attending and try and develop an alternative.

      Similarly, in the OU Belsky case, if the OU is not responsive we may have to consider ways to start using alternatives. That is not easy for the kosher consumer. But something of that sort may be necessary.

      One person suggested that a selective boycott of products be organized focusing on companies such as Green Mountain coffee that have a strong socially conscious commitment. Such an effort might succeed even without causing financial losses to the company just through publicity, publicity that does not all have to be done by orthodox Jewish consumers. It is regrettable that OU has brought us to this point by the intransigence by Belsky and his prime backer, CEO of OU Kosher, Rabbi Menachem Genack. But while I have not given up on direct persuasion, I strongly suspect we will end up with boycotts.

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