In October 2009, right after Yom Kippur, molester, Yona Weinberg, was up for sentencing. This is Hella Winston‘s account of the sentencing in the Jewish Week.
Judge Gustin Reichbach said he found it “troubling” that the community “seeks to blame, indeed punish victims.”…Making his comments before a courtroom packed with supporters of the 31-year-old Weinberg – among them, school principals, two rabbis and civic leaders – the judge spoke of receiving more than 90 letters attesting to Weinberg’s character and innocence. None of the letters, the judge noted, “displays any concern or any sympathy or even any acknowledgment for these young victims which, frankly, I find shameful.” Judge Reichbach referred to a letter expressing sadness “that Weinberg’s love of humankind has turned against him,” as “the height of chutzpah.”
This is the same disturbing pattern that showed up in the case of Evan Zauder as discussed by David Cheifetz in his post, Pelcovitz and Leading Orthodox Rabbis Line Up Behind Sex Offender Evan Zauder. I have to wonder, how often did David Pelcovitz and these rabbis ever take the effort to write letters advocating for victims and in the interest of protecting children in the community.
Dr. Pelcovitz and these rabbis owe the community a cheshbon (reckoning) of exactly how they balance their rachmonis (mercy/pity) for molesters and their rachmonis on behalf of victims.
As the single most prominent orthodox mental health professional addressing child sex abuse, Dr. David Pelcovitz ought to tell us how many letters he has written to mitigate sentences versus the number he has written from the victim’s point of view.