American haredi rabbis declare obligation to report child abuse to police

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More than 100 haredi rabbis in the US have signed a public letter stating that it is an obligation of Jewish law on all Jews to immediately notify the police when a reasonable suspicion of child abuse exists, Jpost reports.

The letter addresses the need to uproot the existence of child abuse and prevent its negative affect on Jewish community.

“We, the undersigned, affirm that any individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable basis to suspect child abuse has a religious obligation to promptly notify the secular law enforcement of that information, ” the declaration reads.

“These individuals have the experience, expertise and training to thoroughly and responsibly investigate the matter. Furthermore, those deemed ‘mandated reporters’ under secular law must obey their state’s reporting requirements.”

The rabbis said in their declaration that “lives can be ruined or ended by unreported child abuse, as we are too often tragically reminded” and cited the biblical injunction “Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed, ” as the basis for reporting suspected cases of abuse.

Among the 100 signatories are Rabbi Dov Aharon Brisman, head of the rabbinical court in Philadelphia, Rabbi Nota Greenblatt, the head of the rabbinical court in Memphis, Tennessee and Rabbi Peretz Steinberg, co-chairman of the rabbinical court of the Agudath Yisrael organization.

“People stand by and do nothing, because they don’t want to get involved. It’s not their business. But it is, ” said Perr. “The Torah has made it everyone’s business when a Jew is being harmed.”

A statement to the media on the rabbinic declaration cited the recent conviction of a child molester from the haredi community in the UK, Todros Grynhaus, who was convicted in July this year of assault and sexual assault against girls between 13 and 16.
Grynhaus, the son of a prominent rabbinic judge was convicted to 13 years in prison, with the help of Rabbi Shraga Zimmerman who testified against him.

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