The district attorney from Brooklyn, New York recently claimed that 85 Orthodox Jews charged with child sex abuse should have their names protected because of their close community bond, according to a startling report from The Jewish Daily Forward.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’s office rejected a Forward request under the state’s Freedom of Information Law, saying that Orthodox Jews are “unique” and releasing the names of suspects would lead to their community revealing their victims.
“The circumstances here are unique,” assistant District Attorney Morgan Dennehy said. “Because all of the requested defendant names relate to Hasidic men who are alleged to have committed sex crimes against Hasidic victims within a very tight-knit and insular Brooklyn community, there is a significant danger that the disclosure of the defendants’ names would lead members of that community to discern the identities of the victims.”
The Forward request was filed in December 2011.
Yeshiva University law professor Marci Hamilton expressed that the district attorney refusal to release suspect names benefits child abusers.
“I think they are complicit in what enables these kinds of perpetrators in these kinds of communities if they are going… to refuse to publish names of any child sex predators,” Hamilton said. “When names of perpetrators are made public, their other victims are empowered to come forward and the whole community is given the power to identify and stop them and other predators. What the DA’s office is doing, unfortunately, is playing right into the hands of the abusers.”