When Kenneth Thompson ran for District Attorney he criticized Charles Hynes for giving special treatment to ultra orthodox Jewish sex offenders and he promised to treat them like all other offenders. Most of us assumed that meant he would dismantle or drastically alter Hynes’ Kol Tzedek program which was heavily criticized by many public figures including Mayor Bloomberg, ex-mayor Ed Koch, and others.
On May 6, 2014 I contacted the Brooklyn DA press spokesperson, Sheila Stainback with the following questions:
I noticed an online petition for dissolving Kol Tzedek. However, I am not aware of it continuing to function.
1. Is there still a budget line for Kol Tzedek?
1a. If so, are any of those funds slated for spending and if so, for what?
1b. Is Ms. W, who was a staffer for Kol Tzedek, still employed by KCDA, and if so, in what capacity and on what budget line?
2. Around 2012, [your predecessor] Jerry Schmetterer told me Kol Tzedek was funded, not out of the general fund, but out of Altria contributions to KCDA. Were there still available Altria monies as of January 1, 2014?
2a. If there are available Altria funds to what are they allocated?
Ms. Stainback’s prompt, terse reply was: “Kol Tzedek remains. No changes.”
I followed up with another query on May 18th:
Actually it does not continue as is. You no longer list it on your website nor publicize its phone line. Since Henna White is gone, it is not clear that she has any functional replacement. Does your office consider Wolf Sender her replacement?If not, who do you consider her replacement?
What activities does your office undertake to reach out to victims and to increase the cultural sensitivity of your ADAs? These were stated components of the program under DA Hynes. If it continues as is, these should still be programs under your office. If not, the statement that it continues as is, needs to be modified.
I look forward to your answer,
She again promised to get back to me by Monday. I never heard from her.
So, we are left with some mysteries. It would be nice if the Office of the Kings County District Attorney could tell us whether and how it plans to protect Jewish children from sexual offenders. Unless they can provide answers, I am left with the suspicion that Wolf Sender is the new Henna White, albeit with a smaller salary and a smaller office in a less central location. I will also give credit to the new administration for not allowing Sender to nix prosecutions of orthodox Jews. Nevertheless it seems he is controlling which community members get access to the upper levels of the office of the DA. He seems to favor those who deliver votes or cash. That is wrong. He is not on the campaign staff. He is on a city salary and should be focusing on the DA mission of preventing and prosecuting crime, including BlackHat-on-BlackHat crime.
Criminal justice sources inform me that ADA Roger L. McCready [1st Deputy Bureau Chief of Crimes Against Children] is continuing a pattern dating back to the Hynes era of being paid for hundreds of hours he did not work. He entered the Thompson era with paychecks cut in spite of missing approximately 500 hours. What is your position. Is this or is this not happening? If it is happening, who is authorizing this exception to the rules and why?