Brooklyn DA under fire over haredi sex abuse statistics

Brooklyn’s district attorney reportedly has inflated the results of a program for combating child sexual abuse in the haredi Orthodox community.

While the office of the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles Hynes, has claimed that its Kol Tzedek program has led to 95 arrests, probes by the New York Jewish Week and the New York Times suggest that the number is inflated.

The Kol Tzedek program was launched in 2009 by the district attorney’s office to combat sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s large haredi community and encourage reporting of such crimes. The office has faced criticism over its refusal to publicly identify abusers prosecuted as a result of Kol Tzedek.

The inflation of the numbers was first reported April 24 by the Jewish Week in a story that said at least eight sex abuse cases identified by the DA’s office as Kol Tzedek cases actually were reported years before the advent of the confidential hotline.

The Times followed up with a May 11 report saying that it had been able, using public records, to identify the names of suspects and other details related to 47 of the 95 cases.

Hynes declined to be interviewed for either of the two articles.

Hynes’ critics say his office has not been aggressive in prosecuting sexual abusers in the haredi community, where he enjoys strong political support. — jta