Crown Heightsers Take a Stand Against Child Abuse

Concerned members of the Crown Heights community gathered today in the basement of 580 Crown St. for a seminar on combating child abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Tzvi Gluck, an advocate for abuse victims, moderated the event. He presides over “Our Place,” an organization that provides council and legal recourse to victims of abuse in the Jewish community.

The district Attorney of Kings county (Brooklyn) Charles Hynes addressed those gathered by reiterating his commitment to prosecuting both the perpetrators of child abuse, as well as those who enable them by intimidating witnesses from coming forward.

“I have never seen such levels of witness intimidation since the hayday of the Mafia,” said the veteran prosecutor, who has been serving in his current position since 1991.

One of the attendees berated Mr. Hynes over his refusal to release the names of those accused of having committed Abuse. Mr. Hynes reiterated his position that the names be kept confidential in order to protect the victims.

Rabbi Yosef Blau, senior mashgiach ruchni of Yeshiva University, made the case that one is required – from a Halachic standpoint – to inform authorities of child abuse. He brought proof after proof that there is absolutely so basis in Halacha for accusations of “Mesira” against one who does so.

One of the most moving moments of the seminar occurred when a victim of abuse in one of the Mosdos in our Community, Mordechai Feinstein, spoke about what he went through, and the daily challenges he has to overcome as a result of it. He has since become a vocal advocate for abuse victims.

The gathering was addressed as well by Eli Federman, a Crown Heights activist, and Irwin Zalkin and Norman Siegel, two attorneys who were – and are – instrumental in prosecuting abusers, both in the Jewish, as well as Catholic communities.

The event was covered by several news outlets, including: NBC’s Channel 4 News, ABC’s Channel 7 Eyewitness News, NY1 and WNYC.

33 Comments

  • where were you?

    Wow, i see maximum 70 people out of a community of 15,000. I guess we really care…

  • WHERE ARE YOU CROWN HEIGHTS

    SHOCKED TO SEE SUCH DISINTEREST FROM THE REBBES SHECHUNEH.
    DO YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN? IT SHOWS…

  • Pervs and Principals RUN for the hills!

    Irwin Zalkin is 1 of the Top Five Lawyers in the United States!

  • TO #1

    WOW, SO QUICK TO CRITICIZE, DID IT OCCUR TO YOU THAT THE COMMUNITY WAS NOT NOTIFIED ABOUT THIS PERHAPS? THAT THIS WAS CALLED FOR SELECT PPL? I LIVE IN CH, AND NOR ME, NOR ANY OF MY NEIGHBORS, FRIENDS, COWORKERS WERE AWARE….

  • First

    I think this is the first time such an event ever happened in a Jewish community or to be precise, in any community with such top notch people involved.

    I am happy, proud and sad that we need to be the first to deal with such an sick issue.

  • It-s past time

    It is time for over due ACCOUNTABILITY. Every principal or any director who know of this abuse and did not come foward should be held accountable now. This is the only way a victim could even begin to have closure to such a horrific act. Taking advantage of young children who we are supposed to protect is an unforgiviable act and the one who knew and did not come foward is just as guilty. Because it is his fault that it didn’t stop there. He is guilty for every child that was molested after he knew of it and chose to keep quiet. Its time now to hold all these people accountable

  • I was there

    Coming home from this I spoke to a neighbor who said they would have come had they been told. This should have been advertised all over crown heights and not just on facebook and internet news.

  • True Warriors

    Such a shame so little people came from our community.
    This was a major break through for our community…

    And like Eli Fedderman said. Thank you to the people that made this event, You guys are warriors in our community protecting our children, and taking no credit for it.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THE COMMUNITY OWES YOU SO MUCH!!

  • S. Simcha

    To #5:
    This is about the tenth event in this community! For the last five or six years Bronya Schaffer made these events, she is the first person who opened the door to this subject in Crown Heights. I’m a parent of a child who was sexually molested by a very ‘chosheve mechanech’ and in those days it was ‘sha shtil’ better don’t talk about it. Then programs started in CH with frum experts talking about it.The big question is why were there none of our rebbeim or menahalim or rabbonim at this event? Why just outsiders to tell us about halocha??

  • so happy that they are dealing with this

    i am so glad that they held this forum however very disappointed at the time….

    I b”h a mother of five should have been there, we need to hear however 4:00 on sunday is just not right….what to do with the children, i wanted to attend and could not

    for all those that criticize that its about time its out in the public, well actually there has been many lectures and workshops on this issue in CH, CH is not hiding,,,, junior neshei has addressed this heartbreaking, sickening issue many times, so have the schools

  • he finally woke up/feared for his job

    OK,so it’s worst then the mafia.that still doesn’t explain why he’s ersht now really doing something about it.

  • clarification

    It does not minimize his pain, or our need to be aware, but to be accurate, Mordechai Feinstein, according to his own account, was abused by a friend/friend’s father, not a teacher or official in a current established moisad – just to clarify

  • federman

    the guy should not be speaking to our community, he is a CH community basher

  • To # 1..............

    To # 1

    I would like to mention a few points for you to consider:

    . The Jewish Children Museum had an FBI event.
    . Nobody know about this event.(it does not look like it was advertised)
    . None of the parents were able to make it as it was at 4pm. (your feeding your kids etc..)
    . The schools were just let out, so none of the teacher were able to make it.
    . A number of schools had an open house today.
    . ULY had an event.
    . I know I missed a few.

    It saddens me greatly that you were not able to make it, otherwise you would have been inspired.

  • dina sara

    It seems like Hynes is not so interested in doing is Job like he should.blaming the victem insted of helping them. If you have a abuse you want to report about. Glad to tell you there is a solution, the FBI. They will surely take matters into action.

  • Miriam P.

    An event of such importance should have been given higher priority (yes, read proper advertisement so that the community was made aware ahead of time of it happening, and a more central place w/ more space to accomodate the crowd that would have certainly have shown up, had this event been properly advertised). Considering the lack of knowledge and the timing, the next step would be to make a another such event, properly advertised in the near future, maybe prior to the beginning of the school year? Had I known, I would have certainly attended!!

  • what about a do-over?

    Plus there were many Lubavitchers at the Touro graduation today. It’s wrong that there wasn’t much information, I vaguely remember reading something about it a week or two ago but that’s all. There’s a lot more publicity given to a Chinese auction. Shows where our priorities are. VERY bad PR.

    Why were so many events scheduled for today? Don’t we have a community calendar any more? As for why the Rabbonim weren’t there, they don’t care. As long as none of their kids or grandchildren aren’t touched it’s all under the rug.

  • Attended

    first off, as a parent here in ch much thanks to the organizers and panelists. everyone added in their own way and i found them all to be beneficial.

    what scares me thou is the fact that we have no sexual abuse criteria in our schools. lets say their are over 5000 students in ch and their is not 1 institution that can tell a parent what protocol is when, allegations against staff come up, how it is dealt with and what happens if the accused is guilty. and even further what happens to the victim, help, therapy etc.

    without criteria the school does not need to be accountable. and without accountability my children are at risk.

  • eli

    rabbi blou said that in a case were one suspects child abuse, there is no Mesira. he seems like a credible talmud chochom and a community leader that has been involved in children being sexually abused for years.

    is his position correct?

  • IDEA

    If every Rov, Rabbi and Community Leader signed a document TOGETHER that stated Mesira does not exist and if you suspect abuse dial 911, a large part of the abuse would stop IMMEDIATELY.

  • 15 Basher??

    he has very little knowledge of judaism has not been raised in chabad elementary or high school or zal
    he spent a year or 2 in maayanot

    give him a break
    he’s doing the best with his knowledge!

  • This is a first…..

    I am surprised and shocked that I didn’t see any mention on what Charles Hynes said:

    If the victim requests from the DA office that the name of his abuser be published, DA Hynes will oblige and release the information to the public.

    If the name and photo of the molester is published – they have the 1st amendment right and DA Hynes can NOT prosecute.

    This is a first…..

    To everybody that worked on making this important event happen – Yasher Koach and may you go from strength to strength and keep up the good work.

  • The reason i did not attend

    A – Nothing will come out of this

    B – this was all political event for some victims and activist to just bring awareness but nothing to come out of it.

    C – this was just for the camera, & tv and most people gowing to such a event dont want to be filmed. if they really wanted teachers and regular parents to be part of it, they should make it in the schools without the TV trucks and cameras and so on, and yes in the past hundreds attended .

  • Anya

    I was invited on Facebook by crown heights watch (if you want to be invited and receive updates faster than relying on posters, befriend them on facebook).

    There were numerous people who were invited but did not show up. I specifically spoke to one of the head hatzolah guys (Dovid Astulin), who showed up after he finished his responsibility of driving school boys back home. I spoke to my son’s teacher who said he had other things to do and didn’t have time. So in review: there was not enough coverage to announce the event and some others who knew just decided not to show up. The fact that it was my son’s teacher who just brushed it off scares me greatly.

  • TO 14 YOU ARE WRONG

    Moshe keller ran a at risk program, and used that to get close to Mordechai Feinstein. this was on the other post.

    For years the leaders of our community have been covering up stories.

    Moshe Keller was arrested in Israel for molesting a girl and sat in jail for 6 months (it was used in his defense at court)
    Shea Hecht saw his arrest report and let him into this community.

    in 2001 a boy went to the best din and complained how Keller was abusing him the bes din said he will go to therapy and it will never happened again….

    in 2007 a boy emailed shea hect saying how he was viciously abused by Keller and shea called Keller into his office and asked him if it was true and Keller said no and then that was it he never contacted the boy from the email.

    in 2011 he got arrested for abusing a boy so please tell me how one guy slipped thru the cracks 3 times? And you are telling me the beis din and shea hect should be our gate keepers?

    I wonder what will happen when your child is abused….. You are an evil man and a protector of abusers!!!!!!!

    If there was a system in place and people reported the crimes to the police keller would never have been able to open up a at risk place and then abuse this young brave man!!

  • to eli (23)

    no it is not true. go open a shulchon oruch and find where it says such a thing. it doesnt say it. this blau is making it up, and so is braun. they have no basis in torah, and they will have to pay for megaleh ponim batoro shelo kehalocho.

  • moti

    Don’t blame Hynes – it is the FRUM community that pressured him over the years not to prosecute!

    11 – can’t your husband watch the kids while you go, or he goes and you watch the kids? Is he busy 4pm Sundays?

    25 – plenty of people whO DO go through mosdos know very little about Judaism don’t be so elitist and rude. I write this as a baal teshuvah and rov of large kehillah who is shocked at the ignorance of FFBs.

  • Mrs.Yehudis Feinstein

    Bs”D To my dear Mottele, sheyichye You are a real trooper. You reached deep within yourself and found the courage to face the abuse and to climb out of the pit. You are a dugma chaya for others who are still stuck in the pit, Hashem Yishmor. Your sharing gives courage to those who are afraid to speak up. Keep up the good work, sweet neshoma. Your good deeds are for sure tipping the scale towards Moshiach. Love, Mommy