May 24, 2012
Hynes singles out haredi community as harassers of sexual assault victims
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes reportedly said that the haredi Orthodox community is the only one in his jurisdiction in which sexual assault victims are harassed and intimidated.
Hynes has been under attack for refusing to release the names of accused molesters from Brooklyn’s haredi community. He has been criticized for trying to curry favor with that constituency, which has supported him in past elections.
The district attorney has defended his actions by citing the insularity of the community and the need to protect sex-abuse victims from intimidation.
“I departed from the policy of identifying defendants,’’ he told New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser. “The reason is that within days, people within this relentless community would identify the victims. Then the intimidation would start.’’
The Hynes interview appeared Thursday in Peyser’s New York Post column.
Hynes said that victims of sexual assault in the haredi community, especially children, “would be thrown out of summer camp, arranged marriages would be stopped. Kicked out of the yeshivas. It’s the only community that has this kind of problem.”
The Peyser column “is a good example of how repressed animus, when provided an outlet by irresponsible reportage, can burst forth in all its wild ugliness and spew itself into the public square,” said Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, the haredi Orthodox umbrella group. “Ms. Peyser impugns both the Orthodox community and the district attorney on the basis of news stories that were incomplete and unfair—and the words of people unconcerned with truth and a conveniently unnamed ‘source in the Jewish community.’ “
Hynes’ handling of the issue has been the subject of investigations by several media outlets, including The New York Jewish Week and the Forward.