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
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. Jerusalem
Today, both President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu have called for a more effective system for protecting
’s children. Israel
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
. Goldring reportedly confessed to strangling his daughter using plastic saran wrap, before attempting to take his own life. Batzra, Israel
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:-
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
’s defence strategy. Israel
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…
….some future gruesome tragedies, such as we woke up to on Friday morning, can be avoided.
* 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.