New York – Agudath Israel Clarifies Its Stand On Reporting Suspicions Of Child Abuse To Police


    New York – Agudath Israel of America has received several inquiries in the wake of misleading claims that have recently been made about our stance on reporting suspected child abusers to law enforcement authorities. We take the opportunity to clarify our position.

    As Torah Jews we live our live our lives in accordance with halacha. The question of whether and under what circumstances one is halachically permitted or required to report to the authorities suspicions of child abuse (including sexual molestation) has attracted the attention of a number of our generation’s most prominent rabbinic authorities. Many of their responsa have been collected in the respected Torah journal Yeshurun, Volumes 15 and 22.

    As elaborated at a recent Halacha Conference sponsored by Agudath Israel of America, these responsa make clear that when certain standards have been met it is not only permitted but in fact obligatory to report suspicions of abuse or molestation. The general principles that emerge from these responsa are as follows:

    1. Where there is “raglayim la’davar” (roughly, reason to believe) that a child has been abused or molested, the matter should be reported to the authorities. In such situations, considerations of “tikun ha’olam” (the halachic authority to take steps necessary to “repair the world”), as well as other halachic concepts, override all other considerations.

    2. This halachic obligation to report where there is raglayim la’davar is not dependent upon any secular legal mandate to report. Thus, it is not limited to a designated class of “mandated reporters,” as is the law in many states (including New York); it is binding upon anyone and everyone. In this respect, the halachic mandate to report is more stringent than secular law.

    3. However, where the circumstances of the case do not rise to the threshold level of raglayim la’davar, the matter should not be reported to the authorities. In the words of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, perhaps the most widely respected senior halachic authority in the world today, “I see no basis to permit” reporting “where there is no raglayim la’davar, but rather only ‘eizeh dimyon’ (roughly, some mere conjecture); if we were to permit it, not only would that not result in ‘tikun ha’olam’, it could lead to ‘heres haolam’ (destruction of the world).” [Yeshurun, Volume 7, page 641.]

    4. Thus, the question of whether the threshold standard of raglayim la’davar has been met so as to justify (indeed, to require) reporting is critical for halachic purposes. (The secular law also typically establishes a threshold for mandated reporters; in New York, it is “reasonable cause to suspect.”) The issue is obviously fact sensitive and must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

    5. There may be times when an individual may feel that a report or evidence he has seen rises to the level of raglayim la’davar; and times when he may feel otherwise. Because the question of reporting has serious implications for all parties, and raises sensitive halachic issues, the individual should not rely exclusively on his own judgment to determine the presence or absence of raglayim la’davar. Rather, he should present the facts of the case to a rabbi who is expert in halacha and who also has experience in the area of abuse and molestation – someone who is fully sensitive both to the gravity of the halachic considerations and the urgent need to protect children. (In addition, as Rabbi Yehuda Silman states in one of his responsa [Yeshurun, Volume 15, page 589], “of course it is assumed that the rabbi will seek the advice of professionals in the field as may be necessary.”) It is not necessary to convene a formal bais din (rabbinic tribunal) for this purpose, and the matter should be resolved as expeditiously as possible to minimize any chance of the suspect continuing his abusive conduct while the matter is being considered.

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      • I still do not think this clarifies it for too many people. What is Raglayim Ledavar for one will not be for another. If one person decided they have determined Raglayim Ledavar and they go straight to police, it would still be disputed by those who do not want to believe and want to continue to delude themselves to the fact that someone they knew, who seemed so ordinary and nice and proper and “frum” etc.. etc… could possibly commit such a heinous act. At the same time, there will be people who do not want to determine on their own if something is Raglayim Ledavar and they will go to a Rav who unfortunately will steer them wrong and they will be directed to sit tight and maybe just maybe that man will only be sent to another community to continue his depravity. There is nothing foolproof in this latest “clarification” by Agudah. It still has many holes that will make many victims feel unheard and unassisted. Furthermore, I do not see any “guidelines” by Agudah even suggesting what Raglayim Ledavar might include. This is not a clarification in any way. I say you go to police – period. If there is evidence, they will find it. If not, the subject will not be charged.

        • I had the misfortune to sit on a Grand Jury and listened to a lot of cases. For most cases, there was no real evidence presented, Just one person saying he saw something, and many times the person speaking was an interested party. Yet in almost every case an indictment was passed down. And there were child molestation cases as well, the testimony basically consisted of the prosecutor telling the child what to say. (This was done on tape, not with the child in front of the Jury). To say “just report any thing, and if there no evidence there will be no charge” is not the fact as to what actually happens.

          That is why there needs to be at least a reasonable basis before reporting. Because a report out of the blue will likely result in an indictment even when there is no evidence. And once there is an indictment in such a case, the defendant is effectively guilty as far as anyone is concerned. See how it reported on the “respectable” blogs or in the news.

          • Statistics show less than 4% of false claims by non-jews. There are no statistics on Jews since there are few reports and therefore no way to collect data.

            • This is exactly what I am trying to say – the chances of false claims are not as apparent as the Frum communities make it out to be. Less chance that an innocent person will have a reputation ruined than there is of us killing the souls of children who are crying out for help and their cries go without any relief or comfort or justice.

            • False claims are unfortunately very prevalent in the frum community… ask any divorce lawyer who works with the frum community. Unfortunately, hateful spouses will often do anything – moral or not – to lash out at their spouse, including accusing them of domestic abuse, sexual abuse of them or their children, and so on. I personally know of a woman who accused her husband of rape to the police, then swore in a written statement that he never raped her…

            • False claims by adults in a divorce situation can be easily investigated but they are NOT prevalent and they are NOT the same as children reporting that something happened to them.

              Please do not cloud the importance of reporting the one situation with the other.

            • Sheree Belsky, YOU are wrong. Please check your facts. There have been numerous articles in frum publications about how dirty frum divorces have gotten. There is also a known syndrome called S.A.I.D. You can google it.

              Family courts and the CPS take forever looking into these matters. Professionals often find no evidence but don’t want to be the one to say a parent is not abusive and thus a parent has little or no access to the child. I personally, as a rabbi, have been involved in cases in which the social worker will tell me, “Rabbi, what if you’re wrong and the parent is abusive?” So I say, “well I know this man for 2 decades well, and I know he is not abusive. I know his ex wife and she never mentioned anything – in therapy or before – until her lawyer counseled her to say so…”. Nevertheless, the social workers don’t have the strength of character to take a stance… The results are often devastating for the children and their father.

              In Israel, printed statistics say that in 95% percent of cases, claims by an ex/divorcing spouse of sexual abuse against the children are either false or never substantiated.

            • Forget the articles. Spend some time down at Family Court in Brooklyn and YOU will see how the Frum system works and the nasty games Frum men play ripping the kids away from their mothers. I know of of too many cases involving our Jewish organization and our Jewish liaison at the DA’s office who leaked info to a Jewish husband attorney who snuck into court before the wives and quickly got an Order of Protection to get the wife out of the home and get custody of the kids. The ACS works with this organization and it is HELL on the mothers. If the mother even suspects any sexual abuse of the children and mentions it to the agency they will be cut of at the knees.

              Family courts are tied up with mothers who have no means of support and no money to pay attorneys while fathers who have an Order of Protection have their legal fees funded by this particular organization and have an attorney and usually the same attorney handling their case. More and more of this scenario is being uncovered as I write this. How are women supposed to protect themselves? Rabbonim don’t help them.

              Rabbi. How could you possibly know the man is NOT abusive. Do you have cameras in his home?

            • I for one, know with certainty, because I am that man the rabbi, a dear friend, wrote about… I had a hateful cheating spouse who wanted lots of money from property that was never hers. She tried to blackmail me for $200K and I didn’t bite. I spent 3 years in court and over $50K until I got joint custody…

            • cont.
              Rabbi do you think that the person you know would invite you into his home to witness his abuse? Do you think the wife who fears her husband or might have been threatened by her husband will just come in and tell you? Do you think that the wife trusts Rabbis? When was the last time you supported a woman in a divorce? When was the last time you supported a woman who was abused? When was the last time you told a woman she should get a divorce or told a husband he wasn’t treating his wife appropriately?

              Most Rabbonim keep telling couples to stay together even though there is no hope for their marriage and then it ends in these horrific divorce and custody battles. One of my current client’s Rav told her even after a successful separation to get back together. Even though they had an amicable visitation worked out. Listening to their Rav was the worst thing they could have done. And now the custody battle brews above the boiling point.

              How could YOU possibly know what her lawyer counseled her to say. That obviously is confidential information. Were YOU present at those meetings? What about HIS lawyer? Didn’t he counsel HIM to deny everything? Truth is you don’t.

            • I know because I AM that man, and I was at those meetings. Never was my ex wife abused by me in any way; she led a life of luxury – a Bloomingdales wife. The counselor we went to, a woman doctor with many years of counseling couples under her belt told her to stop spending and being a JAP, and work on being more tzniut. Instead, she continued an affair (which I caught red-handed) and accused me of abuse of my daughter. I was at her lawyer’s when the accusation was made in my presence.

              Of course my lawyer counseled me to tell the truth & I told the truth & denied everything. At the end of three years I got joint custody, but it was a nightmarish road with no social worker willing to say that I didn’t abuse my daughter. They all said “we see no signs of abuse, but can’t say we certainty she wasn’t abused” or other such indecisive statements.

              While we are very different people, and while she has done everything in her power to get my daughter away from me, I have only reciprocated with respectful behavior. NEVER have I done anything to be other than a gentleman. We are however, very different people, and despite my always being a mentch, our marriage never could’ve worked

            • The situation #70 and others describe (although it is likely true) is no reason at all why we should not have a 100% across the board policy that all accused abusers should be reported to Police without going to any “rabbi” first.

              In case of divorce, statistics in Israel are that 95% of such accusation are false.

              In cases not of divorce but of a child making the charges against an adult not in any divorce scenario, statistics show the 95% of the time in the USA (even by Goyim) it is 95% accurate that the accused abuser is indeed an real abuser.

              Why is anyone comparing 2 opposites.

              Whenever there is a divorce the probability of accusations of lies is very high and otherwise there is virtually no chance that the accused abuser is innocent?

              The vast majority of (accused) abuse cases which plagues the frum community has nothing to do with any divorce cases.

              The current ‘new’ Aguda position is essentially ‘nothing new’. It only a NEW MASK to hide their old policy of sweeping abuse under the rug, only this time with NEW EXCUSE that only rav be intelligent enough to figure out if 2 + 2 = 4 or not.

            • You were doing well until your last paragraph. It is correct that most abuse accusations occurring as part of divorce are just parting shots and untrue. Yet, they must be investigated. Lawyers must be careful to avoid advising their clients to fabricate charges of abuse, since they can risk their careers if they brought falsehood into court. It is still possible that they hint at it without advising them. That still leaves them in jeopardy of filing something in court without basis for suspicion. It is also correct, though the statistics may vary a bit, and also might be a bit different in the frum community, that accusations by children are likely accurate. This still requires our diligence to verify.

              This “new” Agudah position is NOT sweeping under the rug. It simply mandates that there be raglayim ledovor before reporting. Who ascertains that? Good question. Agudah suggests a Rav who is objective is the safest. Why? Not for expertise, but so that there cannot ever be a halachic based complaint that the reporter violated halacha. I wish there were a better way. But poskim have spoken clearly.

            • Most Poskim hold that Molestation cases may be reported without the requirement to take each individual case and get a rov’s approval on a case by case basis.

              Aguda is using a Daas Yochid or perhaps more than just 1 Posek but certainly the Poskim who agreed to Agudas Position (that’s not a typo – it’s is NOT that Aguda goes “by the Posek” but “the Posek goes by Aguda’s” vested interest, to protect their own) – the Aguda’s rabbinic collaborators are clearly in the minority.

              The Majority of “Daas Torah” holds the opposite of the Aguda Position.

              Anyone who disagrees with Aguda, and feels that they are wrong for going with the Minority of Poskim, are all free to cancel their membership cards and go with the Majority of Poskim who not only permit reporting but say you are Mechuyev to do so without asking a rav first.

            • #73 is making it sound like Aguda is the victim here because what can aguda do since the “the poskim have spoken”.

              Besides the fact that it’s not true because Agudas “Poskin” is merely either a single Daas Yochid or if more than 1 is for sure in the minority…

              In addition, their entire statement makes no sense at all from head to toe, unless it’s entire intent from beginning to end, is nothing more and nothing less than one big smoke screen.

              Think about it:

              Why would aguda write a Megila, a mile long, when the bottom line is “you can’t report anything unless your rav gives you permission”?

              Why didn’t aguda just come strait to the point with ONE LINER and say:

              The Aguda Position on whether to report Molesters is that one must ask a rov first and only report if the rav tels you to do so and otherwise not report.

              It’ an obvious smoke screen to make Aguda “look good” as though the entire “megila” as though they are saying “OF COURSE we are ALL FOR IT (to report to authorities – when in fact they are not – rather they are for “the rav deciding” if to report or not.

              Without a smoke screen, Aguda would say “don’t you EVER report abuse, unless your rav tels you so”

          • What you fail to mention is the number of reported cases that don’t lead to a Grand Jury. Those that have a reasonable chance of indictment are presented. Since you don’t even see those, you have no way of knowing how many were “thrown out” before presented to you. As for “real evidence,” you can vote it down if you feel the DA didn’t make the case for bringing an indictment.

          • in molestation cases there are no witnesses only the accuser

            people do not molest on 13th avenue during daylight Friday afternoon

            or 5th avenue and 42 street

            depend of how one is molested it can be hard to find DNA
            and even when there was DNA as in a case that a young girl was abducted the rebbies made sure that dress never made it to the police

            simply robonum are not equipped o handle these matters as they have so often proven over the years. Or worse simply will never allow one to go to the police even if they know the accusation is true

            the accuser where told not to report in Kolco mondrowitz and weingartem just to name the more famous or infamous ones.

            why go to rebbies for this matter do i go to a rebbie to fix a nuclear reactor because they have dass torah.

          • Please re-read my words, I never said “just report anything” And additionally I am very aware that even past indictment – even all the way trough a trial, innocent people are unfortunately found guilty for many things, including murder, However, based on statistics, it is well known that “in general” when a child says they have been molested, that they are telling the truth. I am referring to when there are circumstances that are investigated further by parents and teachers who are smart enough to conclude that authorities need to be contacted. In the end – only the actual victim or guardian of a victim minor can press charges. Besides for some cases “exceptions to the rule” that may imply someone made up stories out of a vendetta or political gain etc.. etc … most stories have much truth behind it. If an indictment is brought but no evidence is found and charges are dropped or a person is found not- guilty – yes, unfortunately their reputation may be tarnished. But the Frum communities tend to make it seem, and believe respectfully that these are the typical cases when in fact they are minimal exceptions to the rule. In general I will bank on well being of victims.

        • Your problem is: What is Raglayim Ledavar for one will not be for another.

          Congratulations genius, that’s exactly the same problem they have in the secular world. One man’s “reasonable cause to suspect” is not the same as the next. What makes you so confident that the local cop (or assistant D.A.) that you’re going to run to with your story of “maybe this might be abuse” is going to be so much more knowledgeable than the trained “rabbi who is expert in halacha and who also has experience in the area of abuse and molestation.” For that matter, who says that your neighbor, the social worker (who after all has TWO whole years of schooling in the field & then trained under another “no name licensed social worker” to get his/her license) is going to be such an expert in what is or is not reasonable cause to suspect?

          The problem is that in many cases it may not be clear. Just because someone puts his arm around a kid, doesn’t mean he’s a molester. But maybe you’re concerned. Who are you going to ask? Are you going to run to the police and ruin the fellow’s chance to ever marry off his children? Or maybe you’ll go to a Rov who is an expert, trained in this field & ask him . . .

      • Yes it is. Never heard of the wife who wanted to spite the soon to be ‘ex husband’? Never heard of the student who wanted out of Yeshiva or to spite a teacher or simply a cry out for attention, at any cost? Please, it’s happened enough unfortunately. Just like every alleged (that being the operative word) crime has to be investigated before being charged officially, so too should sexual abuse cases. I’m about as pro-reporting as you can get, I’d even be liable to ‘take matters into my own hands’, literally, if a Rebbe ever touched my child, but let’s be logical. There are times where stories are fabricated, embellished and rewritten. Still, ALWAYS give a child the chance to talk, and try to elicit information from them whenever you can, in general, not only specifically when concerned. Then, if there is a concern, take them to a professional, doctor, psychologist, or someone with whom they can speak freely and determine the facts. Never say never Mr. Anonymous, although I hope you and your kids ‘never’ have to deal with such. Intelligence dictates that we consider all possibilities, ‘never’ just one side.

        • Actually you really don’t have the right to say that until after you have interviewed at least a hundred victims/survivors and heard their stories and spoken to experts in the field to hear and understand their findings and statistics on the subject. Maybe then you would have the right to give such an opinion but until you are deeply involved in the subject and have experience dealing with the truth, you can’t say that because it isn’t true in the Frum sector and it isn’t even true in 96% of the goyish sector.

      • You really don’t know what you’re talking about!!! Please research S.A.I.D. and you’ll see how prevalent it is. I personally was witness to a case of an aggressive spouse getting divorced who falsely swore her husband of rape. Later, she signed a retraction stating he had never raped her. This was a frum couple, the husband is a rov and talmid chochom and is one of the most gentle people I know. Later, when discussing this case with a frum reporter, he told me of a case he was witness to where the ex wife called the police on four separate occasions accusing her husband of rape. After the second time, the police would show up and leave… Thank G-d the kids are now with their father, and the mother is paying the father child support…

    1. the only problem is that Agudath cannot state even one case when asked point blank, after hearing the evidence have they said to a parent go to the police so in all the years Agudath has existed it seems they never encountered as case that meets raglayim la’davar

      who are they trying to fool

      • You are making a serious error. Agudah’s never deals with specific cases. Torah Umesorah does. For that reason, they never comment on any specific situations, including those cases that ended up all over the media. This statement is one of direction and policy. They fool no one. If you disagree with their statement, go find gedolim you will follow. Most of Klal Yisroel chooses them. Get off the attack.

        • What #47 says is a myth.

          #47 makes it sound that everyone is innocent (playing musical chairs)

          Lie #1
          #1 Klal Yisroel (mostly he claims) follow the Aguda
          In fact only a very relatively small (relative) MINORITY segment of Orthodoxy follows the Aguda. Orthodoxy is divided in extreme right, extreme left and endless subdivisions in the middle and non of the above categories are with Aguda. Certainly ZERO of the Chassidishe world and certainly zero of the Modern Orthodox world and to lesser degrees everyone else in-between these extremes.

          Lie #2
          #1 claims that The Aguda follow “gedolim”
          That makes it sound as though all our Gedolim are in agreement on these issues. Nothing is further form the truth, as we all know that we have many Gedolim today and different Gedolim, each have their own opinion.

          Lie #3
          #1 is trying to give the impression that “the Gedolim” (or is it REALLY ONLY 1 SINGLE Godol, (A Daas Yochid) single handedly, whom they quote – read the article again – while many other Gedolim have a differing 100% valid DAAS TORAH opinion).

          Reality is the opposite:
          Aguda doesn’t want “reporting” and so the CHOSE “the” SINGLE Rabbinic opinion which agrees with them!

    2. Baruch Hashem now that they clarified their position ben will not be able to keep up the maligning of agudas yisroel as being “pro-molester” instead of pro-victim. this statement is timely and appropriate so the whole frum community’s on the same page about the need to report to the authorities.

    3. We live in a community where the gay lifestyle is so frowned upon that some loonies will even say a child is murdered as heavenly retribution for not protesting the gay lifestyle enough.

      Who in their right mind would then want to say they were a victim of/participated in male on male sexual activity, if it weren’t true????

      Takes alot of courage for a kid, but it seems the only time Agudah wants to actively address this problem is when they can sell magazines by passively writing about the taboo subject.

    4. So now all that’s left to do is, have an official sign or poster to be hung in the front office of every school that decalres that in this school we don’t condone that behavior and not reporting known staff personnell will be teated equivantly as would be the perpetrator, meaning those who know but don’t tell will also be fired.
      Because without that, it’s just talk and no action!

    5. Contrary to the popular misconception frequently reported in the blogs, Jewish law is more strict than secular law in requiring the mandatory reporting of abuse by everyone (not just health care professionals, teachers, mental health professionals, etc.) to the authorities, as stated here, “This halachic obligation to report where there is raglayim la’davar is not dependent upon any secular legal mandate to report. Thus, it is not limited to a designated class of “mandated reporters,” as is the law in many states (including New York); it is binding upon anyone and everyone. In this respect, the halachic mandate to report is more stringent than secular law. I’m glad that the Agudah has finally clarified their position.

    6. It is high time that the Agudah came around to the thoughts and statements that other Rabbonim were brave enough to make and stand by for quite a few years now. It is unfortunate that it was THIS statement which is what the Jewish Community at large needed in order to follow simple logic and halacha to protect themselves. It is the way halacha is interpreted that either aids or prevents one to do the right thing and do what is necessary in any scenario. One either has the green light to go ahead or one finds their hands tied depending who they ask and how they interpret. Many Rabbonim I have spoken too over the years who are as involved with kids as I am have told me plain and simple that when it came to this issue their hands were tied since the Agudah did NOT agree to go to the authorities. Others have said that although they respect the Agudah and are basically Agudahniks if a family came to them with this issue they would tell them to go to the authorities.

      Just yesterday, I was discussing with my colleagues that because of Rabbi Zweibel’s instructions to Jewish Mental Health Professionals to NOT report to the authorities even though they are Mandated reporters and risk l

      • You failed to hear the message correctly. Next time, have your facts straight. Agudah’s NEVER told mandated reporters not to report. You can choose to join the other anti-frum fanatics whose mission is to besmirch our leaders, or you can investigate for yourself and find the truth.

    7. My rav says, you could go to rav belsky he’s not afraid to give a heter to go to court. He’s not going to cover up if he considers it mutar to report. or you can go to any beis din you consider not afraid to be matir reporting.

    8. I wonder if flashing is falls under that category. And I wonder what gedolei yisroel shomrim goes by, because there was an incident of two young girls being flashed in front of an elementary school where the perpetrator was caught on tape. The perpetrator was a “frum” man. Shomrim saw the video footage and said they know who it is that did it and said there was nothing they could do. There reason was that this man is a nebach and it will embarras the family. I was dumbfounded. So does flashing young girls fall under the category of raglayim ledavar? Who knows how many kids hes done this to, and when he may or may not do something worse.

      • Liar & fool. I know the case. It was addressed both with therapy & reported. Shomrim did not intervene themselves, but made both referrals. Oy vey, another effort to use sheker to shmear one of our community organizations that does so much. I hope your conscience never stops bothering you.

      • YES, This definitely needs to be called into 911 as soon as it occurs! You are doing an injustice to all involved if you turn a blind eye and do nothing! This is a repeat offender that leaves a scar on their victims and can escalate intensity of their crime.

    9. There is no doubt that this is an enormously important statement that clearly directs the public when and when not to act on cases of possible molestations.

      Also understand that there are those rabble and others in our community that will stop at nothing to discredit and smear the Agudah despite this very clear and concise position paper. They are seeing here, exactly what they have been calling for, a halachic guidance to report suspected molesters yet I am pretty confident that those naysayers will continue their unholy jihad against gedolim and Rabbonim.

      Do you know why? Because what else would they have to live on if not for attacking the gedolim. Attacking the establishment and our gedolim is all they have. So now the truth will finally come out?

      Do these rabble rousers really care about protecting kids or is their real mission to destroy the community institutions and the sacred authority of our rabbinical leaders vested to them by Halachah? .

      The reaction to this statement will finally show the thinking public the truth about those rabble rousers. Its not about the kids its about undermining Rabbonim and gedolim.Prove me wrong!

      • the rabonim and gadolim brougth this on themselves and i speak from personal experience.most of them thought and acted very differently until very recently,after many young lives were destroyed.they are responsible for this dishonor they broght against the torah.

    10. continued:
      Just yesterday, I was discussing with my colleagues that because of Rabbi Zweibel’s instructions to Jewish Mental Health Professionals to NOT report to the authorities even though they are Mandated reporters and risk losing their licensees and parnasah, we have no choice but to send families in need to non-frum and non-jewish therapists so that they would get the appropriate help without a conflict of interest.

      B”H, the Agudah finally turned around and came to their senses after this terrible tragedy with Leiby Kletzky. It is a terrible shame that Leiby had to be a kaparah to make this happen and be the wake up call that they needed, but maybe Hashem saw no other way but to send them a very strong message. Who knows? All I have to say is better late than never. B”H, they finally made the statement ALL advocates for children and abuse victims have been waiting to hear. May we all work together to heal the pain of ALL victims of child abuse and victims of ALL forms of abuse.

      • Thanks for calling me a genius – I take that as a complement.
        Police have the ability to use forensic science and other investigative techniques to weed out the false claims from real testimony. There is not one Rav you can name me who is trained in forensic science. Also – I give parents more credit than you do, of course. If a child mentions something – investigate further. If a child said to me that someone put his arm around him and he did not like that – no I would not report that, nor would I spread his name to the general community at that point, but I would approach that person and say – please do not offer any uninvited touch to my child – it makes him uncomfortable, and if he tells me you still do after this warning I may have to bring it to the attention of authorities. I also may talk to only close friends who have contact with the same person to investigate if any of their children have reported anything? I would take it from there. I would investigate any situation and take it from there, but I do not need a Rav to make conclusions for me. I can do it myself. I dont hold by Rabbi Zweibel – I am a healthcare provider. According to you , you also need to make

      • cont.
        sure your Dr’s, Nurses, EMT’s (oh so dont call Hatzalah) and other health care providers are not Jewish so there can not be a conflict of interest. Here is the conflict of interest. I am obviously vested in the interest of a child who clearly is showing signs that something has occurred and maybe even telling me straight out, others have a vested interest in the well being and reputation of someone who might possibly be extremely harmful to a child. I choose my interest in an appropriate manner connected to telling evidence. I did not need Agudah to even come out and tell me this. Agudah is not my chosen leadership and the Respectable rav I go to in my city is inclined to give appropriate advice himself on the matter.

      • You are irresponsible. Kletzky had nothing to do with molestation. Stop bringing that element into the discussion. You’re totally unfair and dishonest.

        • We wonder what YOUR hidden agenda is in insisting that Levi Aronv is not a molestor. He is on record telling a Facebook friend that he likes BP better than Memphis because there are more boys in BP. If it walks like a duck it is a duck.

        • You don’t know that, and the entire scenario fits the bill according to all the professionals I spoke to and all the professionals interviewed in the press. Stop burying your head in the sand and clear your eyes. Ignoring the real issues only causes more problems and issues to arise!!!

          Have you any idea how many kids could have been protected and saved had the community NOT had their heads buried in the sand all these decades?????? Just think of Kolko’s victims alone who were double whammed by being molested by him then sent to Mondrowitz by Ohel and being molested by him as well. Enough is enough! Stop being so blind and foolish. A box of children’s clothing was removed from his home. The evidence will all be revealed. The truth will come out. Leiby was not a foolish kid. He was NOT lost, he was convinced to come to this meeting and he fell into Levi Aron’s trap. Watch the video again, as I have and as the professionals have. There is no discussion between the two, Aron passes the child and the child follows a few paces behind. No words were exchanged. It was NOT coincidence.

          • You are allocating your time incorrectly. Instead of sitting in front of your computer and fabricating all these baseless accusations and lies based on your assumptions, you should be working for the detectives at NYPD and the DA’s office, and making sure your agenda is followed. You may be articulate, but you are convinced you know something the experts sought and did not find. They all thought of everything you did, and there are more of them than there are of you. They are also well educated in criminal sciences. Admit it. You know nothing, except how to type and to hate. Now, go do something useful. No one argues that the murderer was a nice guy. But your insinuations have nothing to rest on. We are told that “Sheker ain lo raglayim”, falsehood has no foundation. You prove it in almost every one of your comments.

            • You are entitled to your opinion but thats it. You can’t tell me or anyone else how to spend my time and what is right and wrong. Every professional I spoke to agrees and that includes mental health professionals as well as attorneys. In addition, the cops do not have to reveal everything to the public and especially if they are sensitive to the parents. Use your brains. If you choose to be blind and stubborn that is your problem not mine. But the truth will come out. Leiby was a smart child. He knew the difference between a street and an avenue. He knew what 13th avenue looked like. He knew how to read and he knew how to count. He lived on 14th Ave and knew that 13th was one block away same as 12th. One block away. He knew 13th had all the stores. He knew how to look up at the corner to see where he was. He knew what his parents told him. He knew how to walk around the corner from 57th to 56th where his shul was. He was NOT lost. Levi Aron was a predator. He either zoomed in on Leiby at the school play ground or at the park. He either bribed or threatened Leiby, but this was a planned encounter.

    11. This is a welcome change. Agudath Israel has always held the line by protecting molesters and rapists from justice. They’ve always recommended going to rabbis instead of the police. The rabbis and Beis Din have always covered it up until the last week or so.

      This is a long-needed development. Congratulations to A.I. for doing the right thing. It is a shame it took the sacrifice of a little boy to make them wake up.

    12. I am a parent of an abused child and we have had rabbonim Literately spiting in our faces by giving chizuk to the guy we reported to him for abuse, this Rov turned our family in total turmoil even worse then the abuser himself, we as a family are very confused as why and how Rabbonim can be so insensitive to us, its a disgrace to the Torah and more so their worth as Rabbonim/Leaders

      • unfortunately, this is very common.

        when kolco went to yeshiva of south falsburg after he was exposed he got an aliya however, when the family whose son shown up a few weeks later he was thrown out of shul on shabbos

      • I am sorry for your tzar and the tzar that your child has gone through. I hope s/he is getting the appropriate therapy that s/he needs. It is a disgrace that Rabbonim protect the abusers. The reason is that too many of them, (and I am NOT saying that there are more Rabbinic molesters than non-Rabbinic just that even one Rabbinic molester is more than too many) are protecting their friends and the Kovod of the Rabbinate. Or they are protecting the child of an askan or wealthy and generous family. Unfortunately that seems to be more important to them than saving the lives of one child after the other. Right now there is still a Rabbinic molester sitting on the Vaad Moetzes Hatorah of the Agudah and they are ignoring it and protecting him. The reason they protect their friends is that they are all nogeah b’davar because they could have stopped so many children from this needless torture and their blood and trauma is on their heads. Every child that was molested and went on to drugs, destructive behaviors, OTD and suicide in addition to becoming molesters themselves can lay the blame right at the feet of these Rabbonim who could have spared them had they NOT protected friends.

    13. Ben what can you say now. you see molesters behind every corner like an obsession. now you cant blame agudas yisrael any more. they clarifiedthier position, an important contribution to help yidden know when to report, when to ask rav.

      • Seriously? You can’t blame them anymore? They clarified their position? THEY CHANGED their position. And you certainly CAN blame them. They have blood on their hands. Every child they could have saved!

    14. Kudos to AlA for its statement.

      Will rabbis seek training in how to recognize child abuse and neglect? There are tell-tale symptoms and signs strongly suggestive of abuse.

      Also, a delay in reporting a case of suspected abuse can result in loss of crucial evidence. As a rule, the sooner there is an evaluation by trained experts in detecting abuse, the better. Will rabbis be trained to recognize the need for a quick decision?

    15. I’t’s a bold face lie to make blanket statement that the criteria of “raglayim ledavar” is never clear as to it’s criteria.

      They are being deliberately vague and ambiguous to enable people, to find an EXCUSE why not to report it to Police, as it is a well established fact the can’t point to even ONE case where Aguda chose to report it to Police. If they can’t point to even 1 case it means they NEVER ever reported anything to police.

      Now how does that sound?

      How on earth can anyone even imagine, even in their wildest dreams that they could even possibly be serious if no once in their lifetime can this organization point to cases they referred to Police? i.e they judge all cases and “non-raglayim ledavar”.

      The EASY FIX, to not let them get away with being deliberately so ambiguous, is to ask them POINT PLANT “what if questions”.

      For example to ask them:

      “What if a child comes and say that his teacher touched him on private parts of his body”

      That’s easy enough of a question.
      – does that constitute Raglayim Ledavar? YES or NO.

      If Aguda can’t answer a strait and simple “yes” then they have said nothing at all so far to change the past “sweeping under the rug” problem.

      • There were a couple of callers on the radio who asked that question, and of course, did not get a straight answer. We just have to plow along and do what we KNOW is right.

    16. The Agudah is dancing around the issue. If my child said he was molested and I was satisfied it was true I would report it immediately as that is the Raglayim Ledavar. Children don’t make up these stories. There is no requirement to have a Rabbi determine Raglayim Ledavar. With what we know today, reporting it to a Rabbi is more likely to get the incident stuck in an endless circle than to resolve the situation.

      • You are absolutely correct. You know your child best and it is up to you to protect him as well as his friends. It is ONLY when you THINK you see something and you are not sure what you saw and want to make sure you didn’t interpret it. The point of asking Shailos is to ask about things you don’t know not things you do know.

    17. Rav Moshe Sternbuch of the Eida Chareidis, and a Talmid of the Chazon Ish zatzal, has always been at the forefront of reporting. Last week the Bais Din in Crown Heights ruled that there is no prohibition of of Mesirah when dealing with a child molester.
      Many Jewish educators, therapists and parents are faced with the difficult challenge of doing the right thing to save a molested boy or girl and reporting it to the authorities, even though it takes great courage to risk losing your job and social standing in the community. But remember that ultimately, each one of us will stand before Hakadosh Baruch Hu Who before Whom there is only truth. Let us make sure that we will be able to say in the Presence of the Eternal, “Yadeinu lo shafcha es hadam hazeh” – when I knew that this boy or girl was being molested, I did all in my power to save him/her, even though I endangered my career, shiduchim, and faced community pressure to do nothing. Your reward will be for all time.

    18. i personally know a middle aged man who endured months of agony due to false complaints of molestation ,i challenge anyone to inform us how many perjury cases where brought to trial in nyc in the past 12 months ?, so what downside does an accuser of molestation have by filing a false complaint and causing immense pain to the accused ? 0

      • So what?

        You think that “you know someone” who was part of the 4% of false accusation?

        So what?

        You want that the entire world should – “Not Report” – 96% of all of the real Molesters because 4% is in false, although 96% is accurate?

        Perhaps we should open all Jails and let all murderers out because it’s well known fact that not 100% of the inmates are 100% guilty. There is a very small minority of the accused murders in jail, now, (I also know a “someone” in jail who is inncent) who were convicted in a court of law, yet are innocent. So let us, let out, all the real murderers, so that the very small percentage of the wrongly accused will not suffer?

        You think that makes any sense for Aguda to worry about the 4% thereby allowing 96% of Molesters to continue to “murder” Jewish children, unchallenged?

    19. Reply to #75 & #76.

      Read Rav Elyashiv’s tshuvah. It sets a criterion of raglayim ledovor. Others spell that out as well. No one tells us what that means. It’s the grey area the oft quoted possum say, not fabricated by Agudah. Their statement is to verify that this has been met. It inconveniences me, but that’s too bad. Which poskim bypass that criterion? How can one be sure that they have raglayim ledovor? Agudah suggests. Do you have a better idea? Reporting anything that walks does not follow Rav Elyashiv. Why do you need to see this as political or underhanded?

      • Mitzad “Tikun Haolam” (as aguda says) it well know “fact” that taking such questions to precisely the very same people who had created this “cover-up” nightmare to begin with, until now, is counter productive, to say the least.

        If you want to put out a fire, you can use clean water or dirty water or not such clean water but certainly the VERY LAST thing to even DARE to think of, is ‘pouring gasoline on the fire’ because ‘we are concerned about the purity of the water’.

        We all know that there were certain elements of society who were “THE trusted leaders” whom we all looked up to and it was non other than they themselves who had created the cover-up, to date.

        Aguda is recommending to ask, the very same culprits, who were and still are solely responsible for the lack of appropriate action until now and had cause the entire cover-up problem to begin with.

        Kolko and Madorowitch and countless others were all very well known to the very same rabbi’s and yet it was covered-up by the very same people which Aguda wants you to “ask now”.

        Insanity is defined as doing the same thing every day yet expecting a different result.

      • In Hilchos Shabbos, there are dinim of Pikuach Nefesh when it’s not only permissible to be Mechalel Shabbos but a Chiyuv.

        Is the criteria complex?

        Is it a “Shaaloh for a Rav?

        You would think that since it’s so complex to figure out when you may be Mechalel Shabbos, and so no one should dare to be mechalel Shabbos unless he first goes to the rov to ask a Shaalah, while the heart patient may perhaps live or die, by the time he gets back from the Rav’s house, where he ran to ask the shaalah instead of being mechalel Shabbos on the spot without blinking and eye and calling Hatzalaah in 1 second flat.

        Although the Halochos could be complex or difficult to figure out for the simpleton and naive and “non expert” laymen and although the likelihood of a laymen making a mistake and being Mechalel Shabbos needlessly because he misinterpreted what constitutes and emergency of potential life and death – nevertheless Torah says any rav to whom they come to ask such a question is Mischayev Benafsho because it’s the ravs fault for not teaching that when such issues come up to ACT without asking the rav because if you run to ask the rav, the chances of successful outcome are substantially reduced.

      • Rav Eliyashuv says that Raglayim Ladovor is the criteria, but Rav Eliyashuv does not say that the criteria is such that requires a rocket scientist to figure out the definition of these words before acting on his own WITHOUT ASKING ANY RAV.

        The secular similarly set criteria but similarly expects every readable person to determine based on their own common sense, as when there is reasonable reason to believe that a Molestation problem is very probably to exist here.

        Halacha as the entire Torah was not given to Malochim but to the common man on the street and hashem expects every common ordinary simple person to use his common sense to determine when a reasonable danger exists for a possible potential pikuach nefesh, EVEN THOUGH HE MAY BE WRONG, yet Hashem wants us to use our own head and our own common sense to figure out if there is a very real a nd likely potential danger here, as compared to a myth or lie, before acting WITHOUT ASKING ANY RAV.

        Again, it’s a bold face LIE to say that Rav Eliyashuv requires asking a rav, instead of using your own head to figure it out.

        • You are correct. Rav Elyashiv does not say to ask a Rav. But he leaves behind a criteria that must be met, raglayim ledovor. I wish he would have been more specific, but this is all we have. Now, what should we do? I would have hoped we could be given some examples that are simple and direct, such as multiple complaints, etc. In the absence of that, one must have the support from someone qualified to decide this. Should that be a Rav? I ask the same question. Meanwhile, comparison to secular law is hardly relevant here. In secular law, one has done nothing wrong by reporting without basis, so one may err in that direction. For us, the accused is publicized, embarrassed, destroyed, even if inaccurately. That damage cannot be undone. That “murder” is not different from the spiritual and emotional “murder” of the child. One needs to be justified in taking the complaint to the level of reporting. I’m not protecting anyone. Just recognizing that we are dealing with a double edged sword. One either has the absolute chiyuv to report or an absolute issur. Which is it?

    20. Agudas letter says the following:
      “raglayim la’davar” (roughly, reason to believe)

      It’s as simple as that and no further explanation is needed because the rest is up to each ones interpretation as he understands it.

      Rav Eliyashuv is a very bright person, if he thought you needed to as a rav each time he would have said so and if he didn’t say so it’s because Rav Eliyashuv specifically hold the Opposite of the Aguda position that one must specifically NOT GO TO THE RAV, rather to use your own head to interpret it as you see it.

      Rav Eliyashuv, Tshuva using the language “raglayim la’davar” (roughly, reason to believe) is intended to be non-precise specifically because he WANT A NON PRECISE DEFINITION because he wants it to be applied by each person using his G-d given intelligence and common interpretation as he sees fit.

      As Chazal say “Dibra Torah Beloshon Beney Adam”.

      IF Rav Eliyashav held that an exact definition was needed he would have told us the exact definition. He left it “OPEN ENDED” precisely BECAUSE Rav Eliyashuv WANTS and EXPECTS each individual to come up with his own common sees determination if he feels a given case is “reason to believe” that it is real Molestation

    21. Rav Eliyashuv would certainly not want to cause anyone to make a mistake as in “Lifney Iver Loy Siten Michshol”.

      To know “pshat” in what Rav Eliyashuv meant, you can derive it form what rav Eliyashuv specifically made sure NOT TO SAY.

      We know for sure that whatever Rav Eliyashuv made sure not to say – that is for sure what he hold NOT TO DO.

      Rav Eliyashuv makes sure not to say what Aguda says to ask a rav – so Rav Eliyashuv for sure hold the opposite of the Aguda Position and Aguda is for sure going AGAINST DAAS TORAH of Rav Eliyashuv.

      What else does Rav Eliyashuv make sure to specifically NOT SAY?

      Rav Eliyashuv specifically makes sure not to spell out what he meant by Raglayim Ledavar and he certainly would not want anyone to sin by coming to the wrong interpretation.

      It’s obvious that the General Criteria (without being specific) is not an “unfortunate oversight” by Rav Eliyashuv but he wrote it in an open ended way specifically in order to give each and every one the freedom to interpret it as he sees fit and whichever way he sees fit THAT IS OK.

      “Ein Ledayan Ela Ma Sheinav Roos” in Molestation reporting, each one of us is the Dayan to decide what is “reason to believe”.

      • You were barely beginning to make sense (though I shudder when I think of interpreting a psak halacha by what was NOT said) until you wrote the faux pas of the century. Do you honestly believe he expected you and me to be a DAYAN to decide? On what basis should you have that credential? Is it because you can write an articulate comment on the internet? Is it because you can discuss the issue without defaming and degrading others? Or is it because you believe (based on your logic of omissions) that Rav Elyashiv wanted to say the opposite of the current Agudah statement?

        I also question whether there is a Rav that is qualified to respond to the question of raglayim ledovor. And I therefore see this statement as unhelpful, leaving us to doubt and question without a way to resolve.

        Agudah is seeking a way to comply with Rav Elyashiv, NOT TO PROTECT PEDOPHILES. Get that clear. Now, let’s brainstorm on how to accomplish this. If you have a better idea, let’s hear it. But stop this nonsense about everyone being his own dayan, and able to pasken on the basis of “Ma Sheinav Ro’os”.

        • “Agudah is seeking a way to comply with Rav Elyashiv”

          I wonder why Aguda didn’t think of picking up the phone to ask him what he meant?

          He certainly did not mean to say that everyone must ask a rav before reporting because that would be simple enough of a statement and if this was rav Eliyashev’s intent, he would have said that everyone must ask a rav before reporting Molesters.

          Any 5 year old who wanted to say “you must ask a rav first” would have said so.

          Rav Eliyashev didn’t say to ask a Rav first because Rav Eliyashev holds it’s not a precondition.

          The general rule in secular law as well as in Halacha is that everything is permitted unless specifically the Law or Halacha clearly forbids it.

          If there is a prohibition against Reporting Molesters unless you ask a rav first, there is not a chance in a million that Rav Eliyashev would have omitted any such so called “ABSOLUTE halachic PRECONDITION”.

          Even a 5 year old understands that much.

          As for # 87’s doubts as to how anyone can understand what Rav Eliyashev said based on deductive reasoning…..

          Any Bar Bey Rav Dechad Yoma, who ever learned even one blat of Gemara in their life, knows simple deductive reasoning.


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