An attendee of the Agudah convention writes:
…The very choice of the two speakers was notable. It would be hard to find two more identifiable hardliners than Rabbis Wachsman and [Mattisyahu] Salomon. Notably, also, although this was not the traditional motsei Shabbos keynote session, the Rosh Aguda, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, was seated to the right of the podium; and seated to the left was Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, Philadelphia Rosh Yeshiva and Moetses member, usually looked upon as the most senior Aguda rabbinic figure alongside Rabbi Perlow. This was an endorsement.
Rabbi Salomon, from Lakewood, hates bloggers.…
Rabbi Salomon said what he said, and he meant it. Sweep it under the carpet, when the Torah tells us to. He is talking about child sex abuse committed by rabbis and other "frum" Jewish adults. But when does the Torah tell us to? And who decides? Rabbi Salomon did not answer these obvious questions.
I’ll tell you why Rabbi Salomon is so wrong – because a pedophile repeats his behavior. He is an ongoing threat to children. He must be exposed, and forever barred from contact with children. He should never work in chinuch or any other youth setting again. By the way, this is exactly what the RCA Resolution says, from May 2005. If the pedophile’s family members feel shamed or embarrassed, that is, unfortunately, fallout that cannot be prevented. The greater good of protecting children is far more important. There is a pasuk, Lo sa’amod al dam ra’echa, Do not stand upon the blood of your brother. The mitzvah requires one Jew to save the life of another. It means that you don’t put a pedophile in close proximity to children. Child sex abuse is a form of retsicha, and a pedophile is a rodef. You heard none of this from Rabbi Salomon.…
The great flaw in Rabbi Salomon’s reasoning is that the perpetrator can pick himself up, resign from his charedi yeshiva, and move to an out-of-town day school. His guilt is under the rug, and his new employer neither knows about the rug, nor what’s under it.
By the way, everybody, we will NEVER see a nationwide registry of sex and violent offenders initiated by Aguda and Torah U’Mesorah. If it ever does happen, it will need to be initiated by other camps, and/or imposed by the Government.
This same writer accuses Rabbi Gil Student of ‘dancing at two weddings,’ and, in effect, covering for Agudah. Gil denies this, and says:
"The great flaw in Rabbi Salomon’s reasoning is that the perpetrator can pick himself up, resign from his charedi yeshiva, and move to an out-of-town day school."
No, the great flaw is that there are too few people, with too little training, involved. A few (extremely dedicated) rabbis with little experience and no professional training cannot solve the entire community’s many problems.
This is perhaps the most foolish thing Rabbi Student has ever written. Rabbis have freely chosen not to educated about abuse, they have freely chosen not to bring in outside help, they have freely chosen not to turn abusers over to the police. This is not a story about the ‘poor, struggling’ haredi leadership – it is a story of willful neglect – criminal neglect – by that leadership.
Thankfully, another writer jumps in to agree with the first and disagree with Rabbi Student:
I concur with your comment and would like to add that both Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzsky and Rabbi Yaakov Perlow were approached before the Kolko/Margulies/Torah Temimah abuse was made public. They both chose to pass the buck. Rabbi Perlow stated that he was a resident of Boro Park and that this was a Flatbush matter. Rabbi Kamenetsky stated that as long as we have no knowledge of Kolko molesting any boys in the past two years there is no emergency and we must assume he did Teshuva. While I try with all my heart to be Dan them L’Kaf Zechus; I am unable to do so. There is no room for ignorance or cover ups when our children are involved. Period.