I’ll say this: Hynes’ refusal to disclose almost any information about the arrest or prosecution of alleged sex offenders from the politically powerful Orthodox community is not only discriminatory; it’s also a cynical insult to the victims his office is pledged to support.
Mind you, the discrimination is no mere allegation; it’s a matter of record. In letters this month to reporters Paul Berger, of Forward, and Hella Winston, of The Jewish Week, Assistant DA Morgan Dennehy explicitly affirmed that his boss’ policy for suppressing information about sex abuse is “unique” to the “Hasidic” community.
Yes, the letter gave a “reason” for singling out Orthodox Jews — but the reason made no sense. According to Dennehy, if the DA were to release any information about alleged perpetrators from the “tight-knit and insular” (his words) Orthodox community, there would be “a significant danger that the disclosure . . . would lead members of that community to discern the identities of the victims,” which could violate state law.
The only new thing here, I’m afraid, is the spectacle of the DA’s office serving as PR agency for institutions that have done much more to obscure crimes in the Orthodox community than to fight them.
In presenting the all-too-familiar “under the carpet” policy as a form of victims’ rights, Hynes has showed his true priorities. Equal justice for sex-abuse victims isn’t one of them.
Michael Lesher, a lawyer, is writing a book on sex abuse in Orthodox Jewish communities.