Should You Tell Police About An Orthodox Abuser?

Rabbi Hershal Schachter’s Sunday night talk, Should I Call the Police?, and Rabbi Benjamin Yudin’s talk, Talking to Our Kids About the Birds and the Bees are both online for free listening or for free download.

No comments from me yet. I just began listening now.

UPDATE: RHS’s basic position is there is no mesira when dealing with a criminal, especially a violent criminal or abuser. There are a few caveats but, for the most part, call the cops. For details, listen to lecture and the Q & A that follows it.

RHS also mentions the special Agudath Israel "beit din" that was supposed to be formed years ago to deal with abusers. That beit din was never formed. MO day schools do not have a registry of abusers either. RHS notes that an abuser can go from abusing in Brooklyn to abusing in Canada to abusing in Israel to abusing in South Africa because neith the haredi or MO communities have a sex abuser registry. He also notes that many rabbis are unfamiliar with the halakhot surrounding these issues and they rule incorrectly out of ignorance.

I would add two things. First, I don’t think most of the rabbis RHS mentioned ruled out of ignorance; I think they ruled to protect rabbinic abusers. Second, in response to a question, RHS expresses worry at what will happen to criminals in state prisons (as opposed to federal prisons) where much abuse takes place. He says mesira would then become part of the equation. Pretty much every abuser will end up in a state prison. So what should a Jew do? Allow an abuser to run free to abuse more children? A rapist to rape more women? Of course not. RHS sees a valid problem. Its solution is to work for better, cleaner and safer state prisons.



Filed under Crime, Jewish Leadership, Mikva Abuse, Modern Orthodoxy

29 responses to “Should You Tell Police About An Orthodox Abuser?

  1. Anonymous

    Cleaner and safer state prisons

    This is something I have thought about for awhile. No one seems to care that most inmates face the worst forms of cruel and unusual punishment, and no one does anything about it. Unfortunately as a society, rather than dealing with this problem, we make jokes about it all the time in movies and tv shows about an inmate being someone’s wife, or “not picking up the soap in the shower.” We as Jews especially have an obligation to humanity to end the horrible things that go on in prisons. I know that people in prison have done very bad things to be there, but they are still human beings who shouldn’t have to live such a tortured existence. We must do something to stop this evil.

  2. tm

    we shall see now how much respect you will offer to RHS?

  3. Isa

    Years ago on a plane, I sat next to a guy that was a Federal prison guard. Who gets the most respect in prisons? “Bank robbers and murderers” Who is at the bottom? “While child molesting is usually a State crime there ARE instances where child molestors serve time in a Federal prison” How do the other inmates know what crime(s) a new inmate did? “The inmates probably remember news stories then a child molestor is not protected and is turned over to the ‘gays’, then again a trustie will clean the guard’s offices and will sometimes see an open file folder concerning a child molestor” The guard turns and winks at me.
    To the first poster I say: You bleeding heart sap!! the kids that the molestor did in are ruined for life and you are worried what happens to these creeps in prison!!?? To hell with them, the time they have left on Earth should be a living hell filled with their stinking screams every night. Even the most vile criminal is revolted by child molestors.

  4. TM –

    RHS had years to make this speech or to print an essay or teshuva. He did not do so. He shows amazing long-term familiarity with the abuse going on in the haredi and MO worlds. Yet he was silent during it.

    Even now, as noted, he left a gapping hole for abusers and their supporters to escape through. He’ll say this was unintended and not correct, but he did so nonetheless. And this follows a pattern.

  5. Larry Rabinovich

    Not so Shmarya. I am not a talmid of R. Schachter’s but do hear him from time to time and on more than one occasion I have heard him make precisely this point that criminals are to be reported to the police, not protected for fear of mesirah

  6. Not in any widely distributed, public way. And not related to the abuse issue.

  7. Anonymous

    Isa, you got problems. When Samuel came to kill Agag, did he “throw him to the gays” or put him in a place where he would be anally raped everynight. No, not even the king of amalek had to endure that. They are still human beings. And by the way, there are other people in jail for selling drugs, tax fraud, and other non violent crimes who are also raped. I heard statistics are that 1 in 10 inmates is raped. Are you going to argue that they deserve this tortured existence too?

  8. Isa

    Dear No Name: Cannot you even make up a tag?

    If one is NOT a child molestor then one should NOT be subject to prison rape.

    For child molestors; deserve the worst that prison can offer because their victims are ruined for life. Recovery (if possible) of these victims takes years THEN there is very likely possibility that the victims are SO tramatized by the experience that they TOO become the preditor.
    Prison guards do not hear the screams of child molestors at night.

  9. tm

    shmarya, you are a rosho and wicked individual. I’m not a talmid of RHS, but i go very often to his shiurim in Brooklyn. He ALWAYS spoke about many points that he spoke at this address. You just hate every frum jew who will not let you and your goyishe friends to have a honest frummer yi be ore honest andmoral than you.

  10. Anonymous

    “THEN there is very likely possibility that the victims are SO tramatized by the experience that they TOO become the preditor.”
    Isa, that is a common misconception. There is a much higher percentage of molestors who were molested as children but the vast majority of those molested do no become molesters. And I still disagree with you about torturing anyone with anal and oral rape, as well as regular savage beatings for years. If you want to justify molesters being tortured because they ruined peoples lives, you could say the same thing about other criminals, like murderers, those who beat up people very badly, those who get others hooked on drugs, even those who steal a persons life savings. Ancient Israel was the only society that would not accept a confession in court, and thus the only ancient society that banned torture. We will live in a sick world the moment we condone outright torture of humans. The constitution bans cruel and unusaul punishment, and this has been a crucial law that makes America the wonderful country it is. Isa, I dont think you understand the ramifications of what you say.

  11. Isa

    Dear TM
    Nobody said anything about actively ‘putting somebody to the rack’ but hey thats prison life. But what is YOUR practical solution?
    Lets say one gets busted for white collar crime or perhaps drugs. One doesn’t want to get raped right?
    Hey is some advice:
    Prisons are usually falling apart with defered maintanance and all that. Peel some fiberglass insulation from a pipe, rub it in a spot on the face, on the arm and on the ‘rear end’ Now scratch like crazy and say it is i.e. a jungle worm infection. How many gays will even come close to you? har har If they DO try to rape you just say “guess whose dxxk will fall off”. Second way:
    Got friends on the outside? good! Have your friends send you cartons of cigaretes(or anything else) on a regular basis as much as prison rules allow.
    Find some tough/powerful guy that addicted to smoking. Go ahead and purchase protection.
    That Enron guy (Skilling), that is going to the country club prison at Waseca,MN for 25 years. All he needs is a regular supply of good cigarettes coming in and nobody will dare to touch him. Well the Federal prison guard also said when you go to prison it is essential to make friends.

    Wanna be a prison guard??
    Well here in Texas when one goes by the Huntsville (they stick the needle in there)
    There are HUGE banners advertizing for prison guards. Yes sir you too, TM can make life better for these poor downtrodden prisoners.

    Just about everybody is redeemable except for Child Molestors.

  12. Isa

    Excuse me!!
    I used the wrong poster’s name it is NOT TM but ‘no name’ who cannot even make up an ID

  13. TM –

    What I am is accurate. Listen carefully to RHS’s talk. He has been silent on the abuse issue even as he admits knowing about cases. He also mentions in an offhanded way the lack of a registry of known abusers, both for Torah u’Mesora (haredim) and for the MO offshoot. Show me where RHS has campaigned for such a registry? Show me where he has ever stood up for victims of abuse (think Lanner). Get back to us with the details.

  14. tm

    you are wicked. all you do day and night is smear frum jews. he is a teacher and guide for many jews to do the right thing, to be honest, not to cover up. how can he mix in directly on pariticular cases if he was not called for a din torah, if was not consulted directly to mediate a case? just because you are wicked and prpopagate everything that is said against frum jews by hates like yourself, does RHS go out and attack particulr inidividuals without giving them a fair hearing?

    But he is honest and prudent to teach the right halaochos and approach in all matters…

  15. But he is not a leader. He knows the problems and does not work for a solution to them. He also appears to know about specific cases. Those abusers still walk the streets.

  16. Anonymous

    “hey thats prison life”
    that sounds like, “hey thats life in Darfur.” Something must be done. And Isa, are your suggestions not to get raped a joke? the 1 in 10 people raped in prison I’m sure tried everything they could think of not to get raped and they still did. Bottom line is the rape must stop, for all people in prison. I am amazed at your lack of compassion for these human beings.

  17. Scam Alert

    scotty does not have any friends goyish or jewish. he envies kids who were molested because no one paid attention to him when he was a boy and no one pays attention to him now.

  18. tm


    so let’s see you “lead”. DO SOMETHING towards the cause. just badmouthing all frum jews does mean that you accomplished one thing. with all your rating and raving all these years i have yet to see you be acknowledged by any group or known individual for you REAl HELP TO ETHIOPIANS, to a particular gorup of child that you have helped…zilch…all you do is badmouth frum jews…that does not count.

  19. Isa

    To ‘no name’
    If you are so filled with compassion for the child molestor and prison life being so bad lets start some place.
    Here is your quote:
    “”””Bottom line is the rape must stop, for all people in prison. “”””
    I say “” Bottom line is the rape must stop, for all the KIDS in school””
    My ‘jokes’ about how to avoid getting raped in prison are REAL Fake a skin disease and make friends. If one has assets outside, employ these assets to make one’s life livable in prison.
    I have exactly NO COMPASSION, NONE WHATSOEVER for the child molestor and as far as I am concerned the death penalty is too good for them (assuming convection more than once)

  20. Isa

    Hey ‘no name’ just thought of something
    My wife is a liberal bleeding heart DEMOCRAT. She says a child molestor should be locked in a room with male relatives of the victim. I NOT that blood thirsty- A rope or a bullet is good enough.

  21. tm –

    What a childish person you are! You want them to give me an award to validate my work? Fool.

  22. Anonymous

    Isa, you are sick. Were you perhaps one of the guards in abu ghraib? You dont care do you? Child molesters are sick individuals who ruin people’s lives, but you are just as bad as them if you are happy knowing another human being will be tortured the rest of his life. And you clearly know nothing about prison life if you think your suggestions to prevent rape will work. Its not so easy to just “make friends”, and not everyone has access to materials to “fake a skin disease.” Anyway, by now inmates know when someone is faking a skin disease. And people try to bribe others with cigarettes and still get raped. Others cant afford cigarettes.
    You have a twisted morality if you condone torture.

  23. tm –

    I suppose you’re following the comments at Hirhurim on this issue, where it is now very clear that my understanding of what RHS said is shared by many. RHS needs to issue a clear written statement on mesira and abuse.

  24. Isa

    To no name:
    I at least come up with ideas to get along in prison.
    How about this one:
    The chemist:
    Try to get assigned kitchen duty. There will be all sorts of fruits available that nobody wants cause it was supplied ‘low bid’ and not even the food shelf will take it. The inmate who can figure out how to ferment this stuff will indeed earn a unique position like that of a small king. Have to figure out field expedient the following; sealed container, one way valve to let gas out but keep air from entering, and yeast and figure out how to keep the guards from snoping around.
    There is at least one book I think it is called How to Survive Prison. Only available from the ‘alternate press’
    Lets hear YOUR ideas O Nameless one.

    “””Were you perhaps one of the guards in abu ghraib?”””
    No; but I was in Vietnam Always ask for WRITTEN orders “huha Sir could you put that down in writing” and when they refuse maybe one gets the idea not to do something.

  25. Anonymous

    My idea is for someone with time and know-how to start a movement to end prison rape for all people.

  26. tm


    you are a moron. Do something for a change and i don’t ask you for the medals; i want to see evidence that you have DONE something positive, you rosho.

  27. Isa

    To no name:
    “”My idea is for someone with time and know-how to start a movement to end prison rape for all people.””
    “”all people”” OK I buy the part for “all people”
    Redeemable inmates should not have to put up with getting raped.

  28. tm –

    It doesn’t appear that you are bright enough to understand the evidence. Maybe when you grow up …

  29. TM

    Just to be clear, I am not the tm from the comments above.

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