Thompson Is Losing Cred with Anti-Child-Abuse Advocates in the Orthodox Community

Kenneth Thompson

Kenneth Thompson

The Jewish Week just published Hella Winston’s A Mockery of Justice. It is a must-read!  The story reports on a canvass of anti-abuse activists and all of those quoted were concerned about the the track record of the Brooklyn DA’s handling of sex abuse related crimes in the orthodox Jewish community.

I share those concerns. I am troubled by the way the Lebovits and other recent cases have been handled.

When he took office, Thompson promised he would take a “fresh look” at both the Lebovits and Kellner cases but kept the same prosecutor (ADA Miss Gregory) on the Lebovits case and he never took any disciplinary action against ADAs Joe Alexis and Nicholas Batsides who mishandled the trumped-up Kellner case. To the best of my knowledge he has not taken any steps to prosecute the many actors involved in subverting the prosecution of one of the most notorious sex criminals in the orthodox community. All this in spite of the fact that he asked for this case from outgoing DA Charles Hynes. He raised our expectations and then dashed them. He left the community with the message: if you are rich enough, and connected enough, you and your agents can subvert justice and get away with it.

Baruch Lebovits

Baruch Lebovits

I am bothered by a lack of transparency in Thompson’s office and an overly technical and procedural approach. I have no sense that Thompson either understands the nature of sex abuse and other criminality in the Orthodox community, or that he is committed to understanding it and combating witness intimidation and corruption.

Jerry (Yechiel) Brauner

Jerry (Yechiel) Brauner

Thompson has replaced Hynes’ fawning corruption with indifferent proceduralism at the expense of substance and justice. He is a DA unwilling to do the hard work of understanding the community he’s charged with protecting and unwilling to respond to the well-founded anxieties and fears of victims and survivors.

The activist community is reeling but also retooling. We had hoped for a collaborative relationship with Mr. Thompson and I am still open to it if the Office wants to go down that path. But, if not, we will adapt and come up with new tactics. We have fought too hard and too long to simply roll over in the face of indifference. Hynes came to office in a different era, one in which it was easy for him to ignore orthodox sex abuse. Thompson will not be able to coast for 24 years. The reckoning will come much, much sooner.

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11 thoughts on “Thompson Is Losing Cred with Anti-Child-Abuse Advocates in the Orthodox Community

  1. I pray that the anti-abuse activists, YL and others can transform the current situation. The outcome of the Lebovits case is outrageous. The lack of justice in Nuchem’s attack is outrageous. if i could, i would help in any way, that had a substantial chance of success. I am a nobody. Kol Hakavod to our activists, such as YL, and others (I just received other emails re this inyan, as it were, from other sources). We must not give in to these ongoing injustices.

  2. We won’t let another DA destroy our future.

    We won’t go to sleep without knowing our future is safe. If the DA doesn’t shape up the Satmer community will own your office just as they did in Charlse’s times and many victims never received justice. We don’t want to see more victims like that, and and we sure don’t want anyone else to try and intimidate victims, witnesses or their supporters.

    #EnoughIsEnough

  3. Former DA Hynes compared the witness intimidation and obstruction of justice that occurs within the ultra-Orthodox community “to the Mafia.”

    Which makes it all the more frustrating that DA Thompson seems to be ignoring the Mafia style tactics of Lebovits’ supporters. The real problem here is not the sexual abuse committed by Lebovits or the prison sentence meted out–he’s one of a great many sexual predators in his community–the real problem is the underlying lawlessness fostered by the communal leadership that prevents community members from seeking the protection of the criminal justice system and encourages people with Lebovits’ proclivities to act with impunity.

    The problem of intimidation within the ultra-Orthodox community is not more difficult to address than any other organized crime. If the the Brooklyn DA gives a damn about these several hundred thousand Orthodox Jewish citizens he has sworn to protect he’s obligated to assign ADAs to learn the ins and outs of the organized crime gang that is the Orthodox leadership. And until he prosecutes those who intimidate victims and obstruct justice children will not be safe in the community.

    I daresay that if a gangbanger had thrown bleach in the face of a community activist working to keep kids away from gangs, the bleach thrower would be in jail for some time. After a public trial aimed at sending a message to anyone thinking about attacking anti gang activists.

    You put it well, Ken Thompson has a choice. Address the issue that allowed him to be elected in the first place or leave the office in disgrace. If he has aspirations to higher political office he had better pay heed to this epidemic and treat these cases as he would similar cases within other communities.

    • What makes anyone think this guy give a hoot what we think? Unless and until he is publicly condemned, in mainstream media, AND this affects his financial and political interests, he will remain in the pocket of the the power brokers. This is simply Jim Crow–except maybe it could be referred to as Yoilie Crow. Doesn’t matter. We’ve been fooled again.

    • I am the author of same. I understand the purpose of this blog is very different than mine which makes me all the more interested to hear what readers of this blog have to say, but please keep it civil and polite.

      • wow, what a story. i wouldn’t know where to begin to analyze it. my guess is that it is so complex, that this is not the forum. To be sure, the story, the ramifications, are mindblowing and perplexing. perhaps others might respond? but this is highly complex stuff. I know that my response does, in no way, further your query, but……Is there a better forum, i do not know…..perhaps not a specifically Jewish forum. but I am reasonably certain that there are more suitable venues to discuss this. Just do not know what they are. However, , if you do find one, please post it, as i would very much want to follow the responses.

      • How did this guy ever get past a reasonable bes din? It sounds like they didn’t do their homework.

    • Abe George was not pushed out. He looked around and concluded he could not win against Hynes in a 3-way race, but if he stayed in, Hynes would be reelected. So he threw his backing behind Thompson.

  4. Folks, Please support the many ABUSED victims of YU/MTA thru George Finkelstein et al, by calling YU at 212-960-5400 and ask them WHY they continue the Cover-up by not releasing their very expensive investigative report on Blatant Abuse at MTA. The report stated there was Rampant abuse for years. Come clean and save our children!!! I am told that the High School’s enrollment is DROPPING. To the Wilfs,Berens etc, THINK twice before you cut another check to YU,your reputations will be Tarnished

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