Yadeinu Shafchu Es Hadam Hazeh - Our Hands Have Spilled This Blood

After the horror, the disbelief, the shock, the emptiness, I next thought what many others must have.
He had to have been a pedophile. I messaged a colleague, a respected rov, and asked what he thought. I will post it anonymously; I haven’t gotten to him yet to ask to use his name:

"I am sure he was, and I am sure he molested many others, and i am sure that there were people that knew and hushed it."

It is time to forever bury the myth that reports of pedophilia can be managed and dealt with by committees of rabbonim, even for a short time. It is time to bury the myth that there is a serious halachic barrier to going to authorities to deal with credible reports of such behavior. Enough baalei halacha have told us that there is no barrier.
Choshen Mishpat 388:12 tells us that those who vex the public can be handed over. Any pedophile does at least that, and poses a danger of doing much more. Moreover, mesirah of a molester exposes him to a safek of danger; pedophiles pose a much greater danger level to many more victims.
It is natural and good that many people were not eager to rush to modes of address that themselves could be too sweeping and harsh, with terrible consequences to people and their families. They thought that various types of modus vivendi were possible. By now they should realize that this is not true. Rabbonim cannot handle the issue. We have enough evidence of this. Failure to take notice of this could have been said, figuratively, to be shefichas damim/ bloodshed.
Today, it is no longer figurative.
It is not a stain on our record that it took time to learn the facts about molestation. Reacting far too slowly is a terrible stain, though.
Leiby’s horrific petirah can save the lives of many others – those who could meet a similar fate, r”l, and those victims whose lives are a living death.
I may still be proven wrong, but the analysis will not change. Parents will be speaking about safety to their children. Whatever really happened to Leiby, the fact is that our kids are often in far greater danger in school, shul and camp than from encounters with detested “others” while walking home.
A great aliyah for Leiby and future nechamah for his family will come from all of us getting serious about molestation.
If your rov doesn’t get it, think of getting a new rov.

Comments

  1. While this post is getting some negative feedback around the Jewish world for character slander (of a murderer), in comes the news that people didn't trust Aron Levy, that indeed he had tried to kidnap other kids. Those people who witnessed those specific incidents, and didn't report them, should now at least feel terrible for standing idly by. Why do they think screaming at a 'frum' weirdo is enough? Why would they just protect their own kids and then close their door. I say this so vehemently because my child was molested and neighbors and a Rav knew the perp was molesting and they only told a select few to keep their children away. If they would have called the police, my child's neshama wouldn't have been nearly murdered.

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  2. Anon 11:17 - I totally agree with your comment re: the need to report suspicious activities IMMEDIATELY, with no hesitation, to the police. I think, though, that this specific case in particular is not an arguement in support of that proposition, since in this case, despite all the rumors and inuendo (such as the quote from the Rav in David's original post), there is no credible evidence that has emerged so far that this individual had a history of molesting others. Yes, he was strange, and yes, he was more friendly with children than the norm, but this was an emotionally immature individual with a lower than standard IQ - a "nebach case", but not necessarily an abuser. In fact, the police have said that so far, there is no evidence that the murder victim A"H was molested.

    BTW, please do not take this as a defense of the murderer - his crime was, of course, unforgivable. I leave it in the hands of the true Judge to determine an appropriate punishment - anything we can do here is a mere shadow of justice.

    In summary, is your point valid? Absolutely!! Does this case serve as evidence for your position? To date, it seems not.

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  3. I understand that the community of Jewish Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and their advocates, are all holding their breaths to see if this guy was a pedophile or not.

    But whether he was actually molesting the kids or not, he was endangering them. Kidnapping children is also illegal.

    Even if a sexual act was not committed, the child would have been very traumatized at being forced to remain in a weirdo's home or car, not being permitted to leave. He would have been worried for himself and terribly upset at the worry of his parents, and he certainly would have felt in terrible danger.

    So by witnessing a man attempt to kidnap a child or follow a child with his car to the point that the child was scared, shows this man was a danger and he should have been reported, to both the neighborhood watch, and the police. And a note should have been put up in the neighborhood that there was currently a dangerous man seen trying to kidnap kids.

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