Brooklyn DA Condemned For Not Prosecuting More Hasidic, Orthodox Jewish Sex Abusers

Charles Hynes Vehemently Denies Allegations, Says He's Champion For Cause

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Finding sexual abusers of children and prosecuting their cases is one of law enforcement’s top priorities.

But in Brooklyn, District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office has come under fire what not vigorously pursuing cases in the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities, a charge Hynes vehemently denies.

On Friday afternoons in Williamsburg families prepare for the Sabbath. It is a sheltered community known for its devotion to old world values, but some say its a community with a secret made worse by decades of cover-up and law enforcement that looks the other way.

“We have a wonderful community, a beautiful community, but we have some of the same of the problems the rest of the world have,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind recently told CBS 2’s Chris Wragge.

The problem is the sexual abuse of children and the failure to report it to authorities. In the insular world of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews, it is the accuser who is believed to bring shame on the community, while the abuser is often pitied.

“It’s an environment that protects offenders,” said Ben Hirsch of advocacy group Survivors For Justice. “There are a lot of known perpetrators in the community and they’re not being reported.”

In 2009, the Brooklyn district attorney set up a special unit to deal with the abuse cases in the Orthodox community. Since then, there have been 85 arrests, but the cases are shrouded in secrecy. Hynes won’t release names of the alleged abusers, saying it could identify victims.

“It’s a civil rights statute that precludes us from identifying the people,” Hynes said.

But not all district attorneys agree with that interpretation of the civil rights law. Assemblyman Hikind said he finds Hynes’ position inexplicable.

“Why he will not release information that other district attorneys release readily to the public because it is in the public interest, I just don’t get that,” Hikind said.

Hirsch said Hynes is bowing to pressure from politically powerful rabbis.

“I do believe that Charles Hynes is playing politics with children’s lives,” Hirsch said.

A charge Hynes dismisses.

“There is no more forceful partner with advocates whether it’s  sex abuse or domestic violence than I have been in the 21 years I have been district attorney in this town,” Hynes said.

Of the 85 arrests, 14 have resulted in prison terms and some are critical of Hynes’ commitment to prosecute cases.

“Justice, that’s all we wanted,” said one abuse victim’s father.

“I wanted something to be done about it,” another added.

Those fathers, who didn’t want to be identified by CBS 2, said their sons were abused by Rabbi Joel Kolko. They said both boys were willing to testify against him at trial, but they were stunned when the district attorney let Kolko plead to lesser charges of endangering the welfare of a child, and given three years probation.

“He basically walked free and that’s what they wanted,” one of the fathers said.

“It was just shocking … shocking. It was a shock. We waiting for justice and it’s not being done,” the other added.

But some say cases fall apart because families back out because they are afraid of being ostracized.

“I think they throw the towel in. They might notify the DA after they’ve been to the DA that we’re not pressing the case,” Hikind said.

However, the victims’ fathers and their children were willing to go forward and they said they will never forget the justice denied them by the district attorney.

“They should do what’s right for the families that has been a victim of this guy, and not what’s right for the other side,” one of the fathers said.

Rabbi Kolko was arrested for violating his probation. A spokesman for the district attorney said there will no plea this time. His lawyer said evidence needs to come out at trial before anyone makes conclusions.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

  • John G Head

    This is so laughable!!! So now Jewish leaders are complaining that they aren’t being investigated or persecuted as much as everyone else!!??? There’s a reason for this! They have cultivated this separatist treatment for decades!
    In the case of the District Attorney: you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”
    It isn’t the city’s fault, it’s the communities who cut themselves off and live by their own laws.

  • cruz

    Here we go again. These discussions always end up in the gutter of Bias. It’s not a Jewish thing, its not a Catholic thing. The point here is that children are being ruined for life by wolves in sheep clothing. The authorities do not want to step on toes until instructed to do so by the politicians. Then, we have the “Press”. How we yearn for the days of real reporting. Some believe that they dont have to be divorced because they received a “get”. Some believe that an annulment can be obtained after 30 years of marriage. Now, I am a believer but we must seperate church and state. These are the incidents that we know of, imagine what we never hear of. Our children are to be protected by us. It is our responsibility! Now, stop the anti-Christian, anti-Semitism nonsense I know its difficult, you just salivate at a chance to spew hate. PROTECT OUR CHILDREN AND LOCK UP, EXPOSE THE ANIMALS.

  • NYCsewer

    What about all the tickets that are voided by high ranking members of the NYPD for the chosen

    • cruz

      Politics, politics. ask the rank and file of the NYPD.

  • Shaul

    Follow the money. Insular societies like the various ultra orthodox groups, are easily dominated by a small group of people who can pay to to have things go their way. Word is that the DA isn’t lax about prosecution because he just can’t be bothered, but because he has been ‘incentivized’ (yes I know it’s a made up word) not to pursue cases.

    In one case I heard of, it was as if the cops had been instructed that ‘there’s nothing to see here’.

    Why would people pay to have the DA look the other way? Nothing to do with religion. A lot more to do with these insular communities being a great place for some very rich, and sometimes shady people to camouflage themselves in. Their communities will not report shady money, the principles can probably be bought off, and they can be people of influence. The last thing they want is for outsiders to come in and rock the boat, or to prosecute their friends and family members.

  • Rodin

    So, what’s the difference, Orthodox Jews/Catholic bishops. It’s RELIGION, stupid, above the law.

    • Michael

      Easy target, religion. What bastion of religion is Penn State Uni? Was Sandusky a priest or Rabbi?

      • Rodin

        Same difference: revered figure on hallowed ground. Religion can take many forms, the adulation of sports figures enshrined in revered institutions for one, or dogmatic totalitarianl systems. The gods may be different, the mechanics are the same.

        • Rodin

          Sandusky WAS a priest, Paterno the pope.

  • lisa

    The same happens here up in Rockland County. Someone needs to set a precedent with one of these communities and let them know they are not above the law.

    • Rodin

      Arent you lisa, defender of Christins? Oh my, we agree, “someone needs to set a precedent with. one of these communities and let them know they are not above the law.” Does “these communities” apply to the Conference of Catholic Bishops or just Rockland Jews? Maybe just for non-Christians….

      “How conveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenient!” ~ The Curch Lady

  • Orlando R Reyes Sr

    Seems like all these religious clowns get away with the idea that they are above the common mans law. All leader of all denominations should be held accountable for all violated in this mans world, let god sort them out later. But here you are a part of our greater scheme which is an inclusive and cooperating society and, all will be held accountable and be required to pay the price. The furry man is another story. Stay alert, educate yourself. Live and love within your means!…?

  • Elsie Kay

    Often minorities get a free ride. Sometimes that is good, other times, not. Life ain’t fair, so be it…

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