I say there was a cover up based on earlier reports which were confirmed by Mary Murphy’s report on WPIX 11.
Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn used his blog Daas Torah to disparage her report as,
A fluff piece on alleged abuse at Camp Shalva. . . An embarrassingly poor job of reporting which serves primarily to convey rumors and hearsay.
WPIX 11 reporter Mary Murphy said she interviewed the father of one camper, who spoke to his son who was in the camp. The father shared this communication from a camper.
Boys are saying they were tickled on their legs and you know what that means. . . . . . The kids were warned that morning that they should not be talking to each other about the incident.
This is shocking. If true, there was a cover up. If true, the reason the police had no allegations of molesting is because the boys were intimidated into lying to the police. If true, the police may have been quite competent but they were stymied by the same forces that routinely protect ultra orthodox molesters. If true, Jewish children are being endangered because a molester is not being prosecuted. If true, this news report is not a fluff piece. If true, the only fluff is the Shalvah party line that tranquility reigns and the kids were safe that night.
I keep saying, “If true,” because Rabbi Eidensohn bases his dismissal of the story on the premise that Mary Murphy is a dumb, sloppy or dishonest reporter. He doesn’t explicitly say it but why else would he dismiss a report that documents molesting and a cover-up.
I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. She is a professional with 30 years experience in NYC who has won 18 Emmy awards for reporting. Someone in her position does not take the risk of fabricating a story. In fact we can safely assume she followed the professional protocol of confirming that the interviewee was indeed a father of a camper. This was a minor story for a major media figure. Why would she run such a story unless she did her homework and was convinced it was true and was convinced that she could not be sued for recklessly besmirching Camp Shalva?
So I think the story is true, kids were sexually molested, someone in Camp Shalva obstructed reporting, and Yoel Oberlander will get another chance. The slap on the wrist for a minor trespass will not do much to protect children. The kids will also be harmed by the knowledge that grown ups belittle and lie about their experiences. They will learn to “Not to make trouble.”
Rabbi Eidensohn, you have no grounds for questioning Mary Murphy’s integrity as a reporter. On these matters, I would say she has a chezkas kashrus (a presumption of trustworthiness). Regrettably, the administrators of most frum camps and yeshivas cannot be trusted to report molesting to the police. I see no proof that they reported this intrusion by a registered sex offender.
Rabbi Eidensohn, I hope you will reconsider your posting and correct it to reflect the significance of the father’s allegation and Mary Murphy’s professional credibility.
Postscript: As he promised me, Rabbi Eidensohn posted my position on his Daas Torah blog the next day with the title, Fluff allegation about Mary Murphy’s reporting on Bobov – Rejoinder. He preceded it with his rejoinder to my rejoinder which ran for three paragraphs and for which I had no advance notice. This may have created the misperception that my words were a response to his.