Mrs. Debbie Fox is touted by the ultra-orthodox community as an advocate of sexually abused children. Her Aleinu Family Resource Center in Los Angeles produced materials on child safety which other groups and communities licensed for use or drew on to develop their own programs. Others criticized her for having a rabbinic advisory group with which her Aleinu program consulted. She insisted she always complied with legal obligations for mandated reporting. Others suspected her, along with many other ultra orthodox mental health professionals, of aiming for minimal compliance and sometimes even falling below that. (For recent story of non-compliance in an unrelated case in Queens, NY, see, Michael J. Salamon, “Needed – New Orthodox Leadership,” The Times of Israel, November 18, 2013).
In April, the Sydney Morning Herald reported:
A self-confessed paedophile who sexually abused several boys in Sydney is being harboured by a leading Los Angeles Jewish welfare group…Emails obtained from US sources show that since mid-2011 its [Aleinu’s] board members have been aware of the man’s sexual abuse history in Australia but have not reported him to authorities in Sydney or the US…… In an email to the man in November 2011, Debbie Fox, executive director of the Los Angeles organization, refers to phone calls to board members about his activities in Sydney. ”I have no idea how anyone found out – but calls are coming daily from many sources. So far, we’ve been protecting you.”
A reliable source involved in this case has confirmed to me, as others have alleged, that Mrs. Fox was writing about “protecting you” to Daniel Robert (Gug) Hayman. His protection racket failed him when he traveled back to Australia and was arrested on the old charges. He was just released on a million dollars (AU) bail. At the time, Fox defended herself by claiming the victim of Hayman was content to not press charges. The recent arrest in Australia undermines that narrative.
Incredibly, forty-nine-year-old Hayman’s history of being protected from reporting spans a quarter of a century, and the culprits range across the globe from Australia to Los Angeles to Monsey, NY. Rabbi Baruch Lesches who now heads Chabad in Monsey, led Chabad in Sydney Australia for about twenty years starting in the 1980s. Recordings released by Fairfax News in Australia make it clear he was involved in covering up the allegations against Hayman at the time and showed an amazing amount of ignorance and bigotry. Here are some of Rabbi Lesches’ documented views:
We are speaking about very young boys … everybody says about the other one that he agreed to this… You would be surprised.
Some non-Jewish boys (“goyim”) acted and thought in a sexual way from the age of five.
He subsequently apologized for his comments, but I strongly suspect that he only apologized because he was caught on tape for the whole world to hear. I am willing to bet he still says these things when he is confident he will not be recorded.
Lesches and others like him are the sort of rabbis that collaborate with Mrs. Fox and her ilk in dealing with child sexual abuse. I am not saying the Foxes never fulfill their legal obligations as mandated reporters. Some of them even manage to always be just on this side of the law. But they are definitely not doing their best to prevent abuse by fully using the tools of the criminal justice system.
The idea that you can let rabbis decide who to report and also comply with mandated reporting requirements is a (F)oxymoron.
When a Fox guards the coop, innocents will be plucked.