Why I Dislike the False Accusations Meme

The endless invocation of false accusations in many of the Haredi responses to the Walder serial rape scandal is being used as an excuse for rabbinical vetting before going to the police. I don’t deny that individuals can be falsely accused. It can happen. But they are rare while most abuse complaints are true. What is common is falsely accusing victims of lying or of some other shortcoming to justify ignoring their report. In practice writing or talking about false accusations becomes an obstacle to reporting many valid allegations of sex abuse and instead diverting the complainant to skeptical rabbonim for permission to proceed with a criminal complaint. This is because:

1. Most rabbonim are incompetent to evaluate the truthfulness of a complaint,

2. Most rabbonim are biased towards not believing allegations because they tend to be more concerned about reputations and community image than about facing the difficult implications of an abuse scandal

3. Many rabbonim are nogeiah b’davar, have a conflict of interests because they have some personal, organizational or familial connection to the alleged abuser or to others with such a connection to the abuser.

4. Rabbonim and other respected frum Jews are so averse to seeing a fellow frum Jew be convicted that a number of them have lied on the witness stand, contradicting things they knew and said in private about the guilt of the defendant.

So when I see people writing about the need to prevent the terrible problem of false accusations I see dishonest protection of all sorts of interests and prejudices rather than an authentic issue. The best way to prevent false accusations is to have them vetted by police and protective service professionals. The truth is that many of the knowledgeable players in the haredi community are less afraid of false accusations than of the police confirming that the accusations are true.

5 thoughts on “Why I Dislike the False Accusations Meme

    • Thanks for the attachment. I have scanned it. These Cleveland rabbis and congregations did not get into legal trouble. They had hoped to dismiss before trial via summary judgment. But there were some defects in the legal framing of their response and the judge who accepted their initial request made some errors in legal reasoning in his summary dismissal. So it goes back to court where I have no doubt they will prevail if they haven’t already.

  1. Interesting how the news about Adleman broke today. Today, there was a court date in his case, where the court heard oral arguments on his lawyer’s motion to dismiss the complaint on constitutional grounds (which should be denied).

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