ZAAKAH, an organization that advocates reforms that will end child sexual abuse in the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, is protesting Agudath Israel’s opposition to the Child Victims Act and their policies about reporting sexual assault to the authorities.
The Child Victims Act (S 6575) will lengthen New York’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, which currently keeps most victims over the age of 23 from seeking any justice in criminal or civil courts. The bill will also allow victims over the age of 23 one year to sue their abuser retroactively.
“According to many studies, it takes, on average, between 10 and 30 years for victims to come forward about being abused sexually. Agudath Israel, the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, and Chaim David Zweibel know this. Yet they continue to oppose legislation to eliminate the Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse, and open a 1 year retroactive window for old cases, allowing survivors of child sexual abuse to get justice from their abusers and the institutions that protect them.” said Asher Lovy, organizer of the protest.
“In New York, the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse prevents victims from pressing charges after their 23rd birthday. This means there are lots of dangerous sexual predators who are above the law and are working with children. This is a disgraceful thing for New York to do to its children and to abuse survivors”, said Andrew Willis, founder of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
Opposing the Child Victims Act is not the only objectionable thing Agudath Israel has done to warrant the protest.
“The official policy of Agudath Israel of America, The Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, and Chaim David Zweibel, is to forbid victims of child sexual abuse and their parents to report the abuse directly to authorities. They must first consult a rabbi, who decides whether or not to give them dispensation to go to the authorities. This practice is grossly illegal, and ensures that coverups continue unchecked in the Charedi community. Thousands of children are put at risk, and scores of abusers are protected by this policy. The only way we will ever truly end child sexual abuse in the charedi community is by making Agudath Israel of America, headed by the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, and Chaim David Zweibel, change this policy, and support the Child Victims Act with a retroactive window” said Lovy.
ZAAKAH will be protesting outside of the house of Chaim David Zweibel, head of Agudath Israel, 1146 east 9th street Brooklyn, NY 11230, at 3 PM on June 25th, For more information contact email [email protected]