Agudah Messaging About Lawyers to Defend Against Survivors

Asher Lovy, Director of Community Organizing for Zaakah, writes on FB:

Last week ZA’AKAH was made aware of a solicitation sent by Agudah [Agudath Israel of America] to a number of defense attorneys regarding the Child Victims Act. They were looking to put together a list of lawyers to make available to institutions being sued within the coming year under the Lookback Window of the Child Victims Act.

While I don’t begrudge institutions their right to defend themselves, I think it’s the fact that Agudah is making this solicitation that needs to be addressed. Continue reading

Rabbi Blau on Why the SOL Should Be Extended -From the Archives

First posted on 3/8/13

Text of Statement to Hearings of the New York State Assembly, Committee on Sexual Abuse, March 8, 2013 by Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani (spiritual adviser) at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) of Yeshiva University. The Committee hearing were devoted to the Child Sex Abuse Act (CSA) to extend the Statute of Limitations for filing criminal and civil cases beyond the current limit of age 23. The CSA is also know as the Markey Bill after its sponsor, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey. 

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on behalf of survivors of abuse who suffer from the present statute of limitation; this statute prevents them from starting criminal and civil proceedings against their abuser and those who covered up and protected him.

My name is Rabbi Yosef Blau. For more than two decades I have been supporting and advocating for survivors of abuse, particularly within the Orthodox Jewish community.  During these years my understanding of the trauma and its ongoing consequences has grown from conversations with the survivors and reading the literature.  Most of the people who have contacted me are adults who are first confronting abuse that occurred during their childhood.

Twenty three and a half years ago I was part of a rabbinical court that dealt with an accusation of slander.  A young man accused a rabbi [Boruch Lanner], who worked as an educator and youth leader, of sexually abusing teenagers; that rabbi sued the young man.  Naively we restricted testimony to events that had taken place during the last ten years.  Few victims came forward and they found it difficult to testify.  Soon after, I received a number of letters from survivors clearly describing acts of abuse done to them by this rabbi fifteen and twenty years earlier.  Only as adults, having had extensive therapy and in many cases a supportive spouse, were they able to openly confront their abuser.  When they were adolescents he seemed all-powerful. Continue reading

Rabbi Blau on Why the SOL Should Be Extended

Text of Statement to Hearings of the New York State Assembly, Committee on Sexual Abuse, March 8, 2013 by Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani (spiritual adviser) at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) of Yeshiva University. The Committee hearing were devoted to the Child Sex Abuse Act (CSA) to extend the Statute of Limitations for filing criminal and civil cases beyond the current limit of age 23. The CSA is also know as the Markey Bill after its sponsor, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey. 

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on behalf of survivors of abuse who suffer from the present statute of limitation; this statute prevents them from starting criminal and civil proceedings against their abuser and those who covered up and protected him.

My name is Rabbi Yosef Blau. For more than two decades I have been supporting and advocating for survivors of abuse, particularly within the Orthodox Jewish community.  During these years my understanding of the trauma and its ongoing consequences has grown from conversations with the survivors and reading the literature.  Most of the people who have contacted me are adults who are first confronting abuse that occurred during their childhood.

Twenty three and a half years ago I was part of a rabbinical court that dealt with an accusation of slander.  A young man accused a rabbi, who worked as an educator and youth leader, of sexually abusing teenagers; that rabbi sued the young man.  Naively we restricted testimony to events that had taken place during the last ten years.  Few victims came forward and they found it difficult to testify.  Soon after, I received a number of letters from survivors clearly describing acts of abuse done to them by this rabbi fifteen and twenty years earlier.  Only as adults, having had extensive therapy and in many cases a supportive spouse, were they able to openly confront their abuser.  When they were adolescents he seemed all-powerful. Continue reading

QOTD: Institutions Exaggerate the Impact of SOL Extensions

In a copy of her testimony, provided to the Forward ahead of the hearing, [Yeshiva University Professor of Law, Marci V.] Hamilton said civil litigation in the United States has led to only two bankruptcies, both voluntary and intended “to protect assets and avoid trials that would have revealed the Roman Catholic bishop’s secrets regarding their role in endangering children.” Continue reading

Markey Revived: A Wishful Mistake

Note- I goofed big time in posting this story. I got my wishful thinking up about Markey being relaunced, got eager to post before I left the house and didn’t notice that the dateline for the Jewish Week story was in March. So I leave this behind  as a record of sloppiness on my part and a reminder that the possibilities of Markey once raised hopes. Perhaps we will soon enough see it revived. The need remains. Continue reading