When Child Abusers Murder

There were two horrific and tragic cases of child-murders this past Thursday night.

7 year old  Leon Kalantarov z"l of the town of Bnei Ayish, was found dead in the nearby apartment of Naor and Adir Sodmi, 24 year old twins, both accused in the past of pedophilia.


Meantime, A 23-year-old Jerusalem resident, Nachman Anshin, has been arrested for murdering his own baby daughter, Fruma, Thursday night following an argument with his wife. It is reported that members of their community were aware that Anshin was a risk, and this was being "managed" within his own community.

Today, both President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu have called for a more effective system for protecting Israel’s children.

Minister of Welfare, Yitzhak Herzog (who I have met with twice in the past few months) has told reporters that there are a staggering 35,000 cases of child abuse reported to the Ministry each year.

In both cases, the lawyers and families of the accused are claiming that the alleged perpetrators are mentally ill.

I have written in the past about the hideous extent of gruesome murders in general  and about child-murder in particular.

For example, this past July, Assaf Goldring murdered his own 3 year old daughter Noa in their home in Batzra, Israel. Goldring reportedly confessed to strangling his daughter using plastic saran wrap, before attempting to take his own life.

In a particularly bizarre and gruesome case,  4 year old girl, Rose Pizem, was murdered by her step-father Ronnie Ron (who was simultaneously Rose's grandfather), who then dumped Rose's body in a red suitcase, into the Yarkon river.

It is unlikely that this new inter-ministerial committee which Netanyahu is establishing, to evaluate any extra safeguards which can be introduced, will find any one magic quick-fix solution. Adding a few years to prison sentences, or funding a handful more child protection officers in the social services, alone, will not solve this problem.

The social services, the police, the courts, the educational system, the non-profit sector and the community at large, can all play a part in reducing the risks to our children. A comprehensive approach would involve (at least) the following steps:-


  1. Education and information: all schools and yeshivas should be obligated to provide effective education on the subject of pedophilia. Knowledge is defense; and innocence & naiveté is an invitation for abusers. The public at large, particularly parents, should also be educated about the nature of child abuse, what to look out for, and what to do & who to call if there is something wrong.
  2. Protocols setting down acceptable and unacceptable adult-to-child interactions must be introduced in all places in which such interactions exist. Kindergardens, schools, yeshivos, camps, baby-sitters*, doctors, therapists, etc, should all sign-up to these protocols; zero-tolerance (dismissal) for those who break these protocols (even if their action was not criminal).
  3. Well managed help lines/hotlines for kids, for families, for professionals, and for the general public to be able to call in confidence, to obtain accurate information and advice.
  4. The social services and police should work closely with the community to assure that the need-to-know institutions and individuals are fully aware of convicted child abusers and even of suspected child abusers, and that these people are effectively distanced from any access to children.  Child abuse suspects are currently “unmarked” – and even convicted pedophiles can easily gain access to children, particularly in the independent school system where background checks are not mandatory.
  5. That victims of abuse and their families should be effectively protected from repercussions of their reporting (vengeance attacks, community backlash, etc) – in effect a witness protection and support program.

The bottom line is that the authorities ON THEIR OWN will not be able to stop this.

The Israeli public, however, is used to being mobilized. Leave your package at a bus-stop, and within seconds someone will call the police. And of course, in times of war against external enemies, all-hands-on-deck is a key factor in Israel’s defence strategy.

If the Israeli public knew what to look out for, and would report more quickly and accurately to the authorities; and if the authorities were to engage the community with accurate information about known risks; and there would be a practical plan what to do about child abusers who are not in prisons…

THEN  

….some future gruesome tragedies, such as we woke up to on Friday morning, can be avoided.

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* Note: I know “babysitters” seems out of place here; you would be horrified by the number of child abuse cases which are perpetrated by teenage babysitters.  
  


Comments

  1. A devastating lesson in "Be careful what you ask for." Ben Gurion publicly declared that Israel would not be a real state until some Israeli contracted the first case of venereal disease. We now have a nation of emotionally, spiritually diseased Israelis committing every atrocity they can. Ben Gurion chose to smother the Light Unto the Nations that Judaism can be. The heart of Israeli society is now diseased by a dearth of productive values.

    BTW, dati-leumim never get into the news for antisocial, psychopathic behavior. Ya gotta wonder why hareidim and chilonim specialize in pedophelia, theft, violence, incest (eg. RBS Burka babe), etc.

    Chilonim value fleeting moments and whims. Haredim worship hormones and violence as witnessed on segregated buses and post office lines & in JPOST interviews with whores who serve them and so on. The haredi uber-focus on gender segregation bespeaks the convoluted haredi fascination with sex.

    Haredim need to focus on spirituality, hobbies, employment and nonviolent solutions. They have too much time on their bench-kvetching butts and hands. Chilonim need to focus on productive values.

    Israel's politicians should be forced from office for fostering a society that facilitates psychopathic behavior. The values of the Gush Katif communtiy and like-minded Israelis built up the nation economically, emotionally, spiritually and nationally. Dati-Leumi Israelis are jailed for such decent values because Ben Gurion's diseased thinking lives on in the Knesset. Dismantle it and let decent people lead the Jewish nation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous: "dati-leumim never get into the news for antisocial, psychopathic behavior."

    I would caution against an approach that might imply that any population of human beings is pedophile-free.

    Adults who target children for illegal and abusive activities do not solely operate in chiloni and hareidi communities.

    Perhaps it is the combination in DL circles of more awareness of the problem, with a willingness to work with the authorities, together with strong community structures and values - that has led to this being a problem which has been better handled by the DL over the years than by either the chilonim or the hareidim?

    It is interesting that the one organization which seems to have made inroads at getting to pedophiles in the haredid community - Shalom Banayich in Bnei Brak - was started and is run by Doron Agassi, who is DL.

    While the Israel National Council for the Child (NCC), which is the national child protection NPO, is run by Professor Yitzhak Kadman, who wears a kippa, and I believe is also DL.

    ReplyDelete
  3. David,

    I agree that teenage babysitters could be a problem, so do you have advice on what to look out for.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Anonymous

    First of all, I am not a professional, and there are quite a few good resources about reasonable safety steps to take, to prevent baby-sitters from abusing your kids.

    That said, here's some suggestions:

    1. References: Don't take a baby-sitter at face value. If you don't know them personally (being from a "good-family" isn't enough), do your own checking up. Ask them for two or three references, and call those other parents; listen out for doubts (a reference is unlikely to tell you straight out "don't use this babysitter!"). If you hear doubt, take it as a No.

    2. Physical Abuse: Babysitters can resort to physical abuse, such as shaking a baby (which can kill) simply because they don't know how to deal with a stressful situation. Give the babysitter a way to get hold of you, and encourage them to do so. Also, give them a number or location of someone, such as a neighbour, who can help them out if needs be. Also, call in by phone, or if you're out-but-round-the-corner, physically pop-in, simply to check "hakol-beseder?"

    3. Sexual Abuse: Teenage boys (statistically) are the most common age group of perpetrators of sex abuse. Simple way to reduce risk therefore, is to use girls as babysitters (although, not to panic you, but of all female sex-abusers, reportedly 50% do it when baby-sitting).
    An awkward, but necessary conversation to have with a baby-siter, might go like this: having shown them around the kitchen, phone, etc, you might say "the kids don't like to be touched, by anyone except their parents. If you need to touch the kids, please do so on their shoulders or hands, but not anywhere else."
    Then call, pop-in, etc, as in #3.

    4. Listen to your kids. Very carefully. Watch out also for physical signs, bruising, scratches, etc. Important, General rule: Kids don't tell adults (in adult language anyway) they've been abused. They may have behavior changes (eg. happy and outward going, become quiet and sullen; start bed-wetting, etc), or get very upset at being with the babysitter; "I don't like being with Shloime" (the babysitter). Every parent should have keen antennas, and listen very carefully to their kids, and watch carefully too.

    5. Talk with your kids: have the good-touch, bad-touch, no-secret-touch, discussion with your kids. Tell them about alarm bells, such as when someone tells them "just don't tell your parents". Never criticise your child for telling you stuff.

    This is not to panic anyone - the overwhelming majority of babysitters are safe and responsible. But let's simply be careful out there!

    ReplyDelete

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