Effort to change Orthodox Jewish policies on sex abuse

June 10, 2012 3:30:44 PM PDT
Sex abuse is a pretty tough topic anywhere. But in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Crown Heights, it is even more difficult to address.

The community has their own rabbinical courts, and traditionally don't report their own to outside authorities. Now there is an effort to change that.

Mordechi Feinstein says he was sexually abused by a man he once admired - a rabbi. Worse yet, he says his elders protected the rabbi and by doing so sacrificed innocent children like himself.

On Sunday in Crown Heights, survivors, along with the Brooklyn District Attorney are trying to change an age-old practice in the ultra-Orthodox community that keeps victims from reporting any such crimes to the authorities.

Victims can be severely victimized again by their own people if they notify the police or District Attorney instead of the rabbi.

Case in point, a young Brooklyn school girl recently came forward to accuse a rabbi of years of molestation.

What happened? She was condemned and more than 1,000 Jewish men attended a fundraiser for him to help pay his legal fees. If the community doesn't see anything wrong with this, the speakers do, and they are trying to change the custom and culture of a group of people who are very resistant to change.

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