Kamenetsky: Report child abuse to rabbis, not police

A leading American Orthodox rabbi said that child abuse should be reported to rabbis, not police.

Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, the vice-president of Agudath Israel of America’s Supreme Council of Rabbinic Sages said in a speech in Flatbush July 12 that the sexual abuse of a child should be reported to a rabbi, who would then determine if the police should be called. The speech occurred as a search continued for 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, whose dismembered body was found the following day in a dumpster and in the apartment of Levi Aron, who was indicted Wednesday in the boys murder.
A recording of the speech first appeared July 17 on the Failed Messiah blog.

Kamenetsky was repeating Agudath Israel of America’s official policy banning Jews from reporting child sexual abuse to police, according to the blog.

A representative of the Shomrim, a volunteer civilian patrol in New York, told the New York Daily News that his organization keeps a list of alleged child molesters whom they have not reported to the police. The New York Jewish Week reported that it is possible that suspected murder of Leiby Kletzky, Levi Aron, may have been known to some in the ultra-Orthodox community, but that they did not report him to the police.

“We call upon Agudath Israel of America’s leadership to immediately retract these dangerous statements (of Kamenetsky’s),” Survivors for Justice, an advocacy, educational and support organization for survivors of sexual abuse and their families from the Orthodox world, said in a statement.