The Fox Was Guarding the Coop

Debbie Fox

Mrs. Debbie Fox

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.”

Daniel Robert (Gug) Hayman

Daniel Robert (Gug) Hayman

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.


7 thoughts on “The Fox Was Guarding the Coop

  1. Yerachmiel, you do good work but I wouldn’t rush to judgement in this case. Debbie Fox does not protect abusers and wouldn’t risk her job to hide some newcomer’s pedophilia. According to her he never admitted anything. I have a friend in Sydney who says that Waks has been on a vendetta, with reason, against some of the rabbis who were protecting Cyprys and Kramer. He doesn’t believe that the narrative on Hayman will hold up and that Waks has been targeting Hayman and working on someone to testify against him for years because Hayman was a trusted “Ben Bayis” of the Chief Rabbi in Sydney.

    I have no idea if this is a set up to make rabbis look bad as my friend swears up and down that it is and I don’t know Hayman. But I do know of Debbie Fox’s work and she wouldn’t cover up like that, all parties admit that no one “confessed” anything to her and that itself debunks a keep piece of the SMH story. Not everyone accused in a snare is guilty and this case is very fishy and may be used to undermine the work of those going after clear perps like Kramer, Cyprys and the ones they’re catching. This guy was half accused of something in the 80s, can embarrass many rabbis on money stuff and key details don’t add up. Again, not saying he’s innocent. Just saying it’s all very fishy and may be a trap.

    • Sorry to disappoint you. But since I posted this story, several folks involved in abuse cases have reported other instances where Debbie Fox worked to protect other molesters. She never met an orthodox molester she didn’t work to protect. She is of the view that no jew belongs in jail for molesting.

      I regularly hear defenses of every yankel and berrel molester about how they are victims of vendettas. Australia has due process and is not in the pocket of Manny Waks. A guy who can raise a million dollars (AU) bail can afford a decent legal defense. If the charges are nonsense he will, most likely, get off. Thus far, in every case where Manny Waks announced an arrest, the final outcome was a guilty verdict, usually by a guilty plea.

      I am not in Australia and cannot speak to the details of the case against Hayman. But my inclination is to spin a gragger rather than sing his hosannas. If in doubt, my inclination is to believe Manny Waks over Debbie Fox.

  2. The trouble with cases like these, as I see it, is protecting religion as well as those involved. Historically these matters are dealt with quietly within the community, as indeed, was this case. However, over time, abuse has gained more attention and organizations, like Tzedek are aligning with the secular world’s format of ousting perpetrators. I understand the need for victims to do whatever they can to feel safe, gain justice, help others or whatever else brings comfort; and that for some the pain and neded to do something can go on for a lifetime. Where I struggle is publicising what was hidden during a time when anti semitism is on the rise. There must be a better way to protect both people and religion.

    • A religion, Jewish or any other, can sustain justice for its members. Justice means protecting its vulnerable and appropriately sanctioning its criminals. This is intrinsic to Jewish thinking which doesn’t think of the obligation of justice as something for Jews. In fact, the rabbinic understanding of the Noahide laws, the binding obligations on gentiles as well as Jews to include the operation of systems of justice. In fact the Code of Jewish Law (shulchan aruch) explicitly prohibits bribing a non-Jewish judge (or by extension others who affect his decisions).

      Naturally, it is embarassing for any community to have heinous crimes exposed for the world to see. But we have reached a point where most of the public understands that child molesting can occur in any community and the offender can be anyone including respectable individuals such as clergy.

      The best antidote to antisemitism is showing the world that when we learn of a molester we are morally and legally diligent in taking steps to protect children and control misconduct.

      Coverups are doomed. The Catholic Church is paying an immense price for its cover-ups. It will get worse for orthodox Jews unless they reverse course and follow the lead of the few rabbis who publicly and clearly state, halachah (Jewish law) requires (not just allows) promptly and unambiguously referring all such cases to the secular criminal justice system.

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