Saturday, January 10, 2009

CALL TO ACTION: Abolishing the Statute of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse

The following seven part series of videos were filmed at Cardozo School of Law on September 25, 2007. The event was organized by Prof. Marci Hamilton.

Part 1
Prof. Marci Hamilton
Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law

Tony Lembo
Author of the Hopeville Fire Department

Pat Serrano
Mother of a Survior of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Part 2
Vicki Polin, Founder/CEO
The Awareness Center, Inc.

Matt Contay, Founder, CEO
Child Victims Voice

Part 3
Joseph Byrnes
SNAP - New York State Leader
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest

Part 4
Margaret Markey
New York State Assemblywoman

Part 5
Senator Karen E. Peterson
State of Delaware

Part 6
Honored Guest in the Audence Mentioned include:
Barbara Blaine, MSW, JD
Founder/President - SNAP

Anne Barrett Doyle
Bishop Accountability

John Salveson
SNAP Philadelphia - Chapter Head

Tammy Lerner Philadelphia
SNAP Philadelphia

Charles Gallagher
Assistant District Attorney - Philadelphia

Marianna Sorenson
Assistant District Attorney - Philadelphia

Rabbi Yosef Blau
Mashgiach Ruchani
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
Yeshiva University

Stephen C. Rabino, JD

Michael G. Dowd, JD

Audience Members Speaking Include:
Victoria Balfour - Journalist/Advocate for Survivors
Talking About The Case of William Ayres - Child Psychiatrist

Mitchell Garabedian - Attorney for Survivors of Clergy ABuse
Boston, MA

Part 7


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good that this information is getting out to the people.Paul Livingston is my name and I was abused by a janitor in my Catholic school.

January 11, 2009 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're very brave to come forward Paul. Thanks.

January 11, 2009 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

December 14, 2008

It has been reported that another tragedy occurred last week with a little girl from Boro Park being sexually assaulted by "one of our own." The reports mentioned the family turned for help to several rabbanim, only one of whom (L'daavoneinu Harabim) had the wisdom and the willingness to counsel her family to report the assault to the police, in order to utilize law enforcement professionals to enforce the law and keep our children safe. The family also consulted with Assemblyman Dov Hikind who has been an outspoken advocate for victims of crime to speak out and to stop abuse by any means necessary including, obviously by informing the police.

Some people apparently got the impression that Dov himself advised or encouraged the family to go to rabbanim first before deciding whether or not to inform the police. I have checked into the story personally and can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. That is not what occurred and would never have occurred. Asking a shayla in such an obivous case of pikuach nefesh would be like seeing a naked woman drowning and instead of saving her immediately, first looking for a rav to ask a shayla. This is what the Talmud calls a "Chassid Shoyteh" a pious fool. The girls's family, not understanding this clearly went to the rabbanim ON THEIR OWN. Luckily, they finally found a Rav who validated what they knew in their hearts to be true; what every Jewish parent knows. That this is unacceptable and must be stopped at all costs.

The necessity of informing legal authorities has been clearly established by Gedolim and Rabbanim. Rav Elyashiv has published a written tshuvah to Reb Feivel Cohen saying that it is "for the repair of the world" for us to use the authorities of the government we are living in when children are being hurt in this way. Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch said in a published news interview "let the molester rot in jail". Rav Herschel Shachter has stated that it is "not only allowed but a Mitzvah to inform the police" about an individual who is such a danger to children's welfare. Reb Dovid Cohen has also told several people to go to the police with information on molesters. The Baltimore Vaad Harabanim have written a letter signed by virtually every Rov in that town saying that one should utilize the services of the government police force in investigating and protecting from chlid sexual abuse, as rabbis do not have the expertise to do forensic or psychological evalutations.

So to summarize, Assemblyman Hikind, has made it clear that he intends to inform the authorities whenever there is a case of a dangerous molester in our midst, and he does not see any reason to "ask a shayla" on such a simple matter of pikuach nefesh. Let us hope, that in time, more and more rabbis and parents will realize the critical importance of following the psakim of the above noted rabbanim, and we will finally have some clarity in an area that has caused so much confusion, pain and suffering for far too long.

I personally believe that it was no coincidence that this happened in the Shabbos when we read about Shimon and Levi explaining the harsh and provocative action they took when their sister was the victim of sexual assault. They asked in horror "Hakezona Naaseh es Achoseinu!?" "Shall we allow our sister to be treated like a harlot?!" Some of the commentaries on the chumash, incidentally, point out that the reason that the abuser's entire community was punished collectively for the act of one man, was because since the community did not have an adequate justice system to apprehend the rapist and bring him to appropriate justice, they were all considered complicit in his act. Even though he was the most powerful member of that particular society, it was morally expected of them to judge him by his actions and to punish him accordingly. Their failure to act, their lack of sensitivity to the injustice of an innocent Jewish girl being raped on the streets of their neighborhood brought them all down to the level of the rapist and they were all equally deserving of harsh punishment.

The lessons of this parsha are too obvious to spell out. We must all seek to learn them and to learn from Shimon and Levi's sense of pain for their sister and do whatever we can to protect our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and all the children of Klal Yisroel.


January 11, 2009 4:26 PM  
Blogger Butterfly said...

I think this blog is wonderful, and I am thrilled to see that other people are concerned with the statute of limitations problems that survivors are experiencing. There is no statute of limitations on murder, so why should this crime have a limit for prosecution?

January 21, 2009 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am disgusted with all the Internet and media coverage of Zahler's "suicide". Let me tell you something... I KNEW ZVI. He was not "bipolar" or anything. He was 100% normal. I have a second cousin who has manic depression, so I know the situation in detail and I know what signs to look for.

Let me just tell you the apparent FACTS. Shortly before his "suicide," Zvi seemingly found an Internet article claiming that his Ner Israel Rabbinical College (NIRC) is/was involved in some grave crimes. From what I was able to figure out, that was "DEATH ON THE NIRC" by Semangelaf ( Fifi was staggered.

I believe that he went to the NIRC leadership to try to clarify the situation and that he also (unsuccessfully) tried to confront rabbi Moshe Eisemann. That's precisely why the "Baltimore Jewish Times" wrote that NIRC president rabbi Sheftel Neuberger refused to discuss the Zahler case with them! The Ner Israel administration saw "the writing on the wall." They just chose to apply its message to Zvi Dovid instead of themselves...

NOW JUST THINK ABOUT IT: on the last day of the merry Chanukah holiday, a really (yes, really!) happy married young (and 100% normal!) man in his first year of marriage who was going to become a joyful father in just a couple of months for the first time in his 24-year life, a man whose father was a thriving international developer in Canada (ruling out Fifi's financial problems), lied (AND HE NEVER LIED!) to his poor pregnant wife that he was going out "to pray" (Fifi got out of his house at around 6 a.m. - one and a half hour (!) before sunrise in Baltimore - way too early for any local prayer service), got into his Honda and drove for almost one hour (!) to the Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge to jump into the Susquehanna River!

Zvi Zahler, an excellent swimmer, apparently also expected to instantly die hitting the water surface, as he didn't tie anything heavy to his body to help him drown - if so, he certainly had no need to drive so far: he could just jump off any tall building in his neighborhood, even the high-school building at NIRC campus which is being renovated right now!

Listen to this, folks: Zvi Dovid, who always stretched his hand to help everyone around, who was so much meticulous not to offend ANYBODY - this very man DID NOT EVEN THINK about his poor pregnant wife, his unborn baby, his parents, his in-laws, and his many caring relatives and friends on that last day of Chanukah as he was driving to his death for almost ONE HOUR!

GIVE ME A BREAK! Only a totally selfish and crazy ANIMAL wouldn't turn around his car at the end of his trip and drive back home, not Fifi! WAKE UP! Nothing to do with depression! THIS IS ALL ONE BIG COVER-UP!

So this is what really happened: THERE WERE TWO CARS! Fifi was drugged and plummeted off the bridge! Do not forget that that weekend was a "Shabbos-off" at NIRC, so they knew that there would be fewer witnesses, as many kollel couples were still on their way back to Baltimore. (Btw, Zahler's funeral at the Sol Levinson & Bros. funeral home (which is anyhow right next to the NIRC campus) was not because of his "suicide" but because Ner Israel allows only their rabbis to be eulogized in that holy study hall - "bittul Torah" (taking away from the Torah study) for anybody else as the NIRC administration typically "explains.")

And plus do not forget the initial shady conflicting reports coming even from the Maryland State Police and the "Baltimore Sun": car accident (couldn't they see an undamaged car?), murder (by a policeman!), and... at last - SUICIDE! That's because NIRC thugs were working overtime!

Open your eyes! THAT WAS NOT A SUICIDE - THAT WAS A MURDER! They are just trying to cover it up! Nowadays they will kill anyone and still get away saying that "the guy was just mentally sick." Go ahead, try to prove to the world that you were NORMAL! And we can't do anything about it: if you can't shut up your mouth in Baltimore, the "authorities" will get you! I would like to say something but I have my wife and kids - and I am TOO SCARED to jeopardize them! I'll just skip town in the very near future. MAY HASHEM AVENGE YOUR PURE INNOCENT BLOOD, ZVI DOVID BEN MOSHE ZAHLER!

January 27, 2009 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that Paul Livingston was molested. It is good that he is speaking out.

February 05, 2009 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are calling your blog Anti-Semitic. I don't think it is Anti-Semitic to expose convicted criminals because they are jewish. I mean, what is next? hate crime laws for phedofiles?! This is a good informative blog, and I hope you keep making entries.

February 12, 2009 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not know I was Jewish growing up. My abuse took place in a fundamentalist church by an underground pedo ring.

I've met men and women from many faiths who have experienced this horror. Even one child is one too many. I applaud all those who fight against this.

It's time for the passing of the trash (hiding the perps and moving them) to end.

September 17, 2010 5:57 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home