Rabbi Pinchos Stolper, the founder and first director of the Orthodox Union’s (OU) youth division, NCSY, died earlier this week. There has been all sorts of praise of his deeds with nary a hint that he enabled the molesting of hundreds of teen girls who trusted NCSY. Stolper, was repeatedly told about Rabbi Boruch Lanner’s molesting by victims, parents, and other NCSY staff. He made believe that these allegations were not true. After Stolper retired, the lid was finally blown by Gary Rosenblatt’s articles in the New York Jewish Week. A few years later Lanner was finally tried and convicted of child molesting and sent to jail. Eventually the OU conducted an extensive investigation confirming the allegations. Yet Stolper continued to be treated respectfully in his retirement and they even have an annual award in his name.
It sticks in the craw of every survivor, especially anyone whose complaints were invalidated by Stolper, to see him being praised. I am tired of the arguments about the good outweighing the “lapses.” There is a special evil in these sorts of lapses. It is a moral calculation that imagines one’s work is so important that it should not be inconvenienced by the problems affecting individual kids. They are discarded as roadkill on the way to the kiruv mission. This is moral bankruptcy.
The National Council of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) of the Orthodox Union (OU) has a detailed Standards Manual for Conduct, Policy, and Behavioral Standards first put online in 2008 and most recently revised on 9/10/2016. Continue reading
The OU claims they notified Beth Tfiloh about their decision to terminate Rabbi Shmuel Krawatsky as the leader of their Yachad Program because of suspicions of child sexual abuse. Beth Tfiloh denies it. The OU should publicly support their claim by providing phone or email records demonstrating the relevant contact.
But there is something more they owe the public: an explanation of how he came to be hired in the first place. A check with Maryland’s protective services would have shown there were allegations of abuse. Continue reading
Rabbi Menachem Chinn
Rabbi Menachem Chinn of East Windsor, NJ just accepted a plea bargain for molesting two boys under the age of 13, one in 2005 and the other in 2012. He got off without going to jail but has a long probation with what seems like house arrest with a monitoring bracelet. His ten years of probation also bar his working with kids or being in their settings. He will also be on the sex offender registry for life.
Chinn was working as a Yeshiva teacher and a youth leader on behalf of the National Council of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) of the OU.
Based on his pattern there is good reason to suspect additional victims. As a yeshiva teacher and National Council of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) leader he had loads of access to children. Based on talks with a well informed source, I am not convinced that NCSY is doing its best to support others who may have been abused or to facilitate reporting by additional potential victims.
It is now almost two decades since the shocking revelations of extensive abuse by their key employee, Rabbi Boruch Lanner. They then set all sorts of protocols in place, but somehow, I think they still haven’t gotten it. This is especially true for their part-time employees in smaller communities.
June 23rd will be the fifteenth anniversary of Gary Rosenblatt’s Jewish Week expose, Stolen Innocence. It was the first major journalistic treatment of an orthodox rabbi, Baruch Lanner who used his role working for the Orthodox Union’s (OU) National Council of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) to brutalize and sexually exploit teen girls.
More important, the article copiously documented the OU’s failure to respond to numerous complaints about his misconduct. It is a must read for anyone interested in how bad cover ups can be and how much leaders can be complicit in the sexual abuse of an individual. Take the time to read it here.