Michalah and Takanah Address Sexual Assault Allegations
Yediot Achronot, the Israeli newspaper, recently reported that a rabbi/teacher from Michlalah, Bayit Vegan,
, had been accused by a female student of sexual assault. Jerusalem
The case apparently goes back to 2007, when a female teacher relayed a complaint on behalf of the student, to the school management. The allegations concerned a senior male member of staff, who was alleged to have sexually assaulted the girl, one of his female students.
The reporting teacher did not find the allegation satisfactorily addressed by the Michlalah college, and so referred onwards to the Takana Forum.
Takana is an organization which consists of the leading National Religious rabbis, and includes both mental health and legal experts. Takana first hit the headlines in
, when they issued a statement in January this year, exposing alleged malfeasance against male students by charismatic rabbi, Rav Motti Elon. Israel
Takana specializes in taking on allegations of sexual misconduct by rabbis, teachers and other community leaders; Takana does not take on cases which include allegations of pedophilia (ie where the alleged victim is a minor, under the age of 18), as this is requires Mandatory Reporting, by Israeli Law, to the state authorities.
Takana therefore occupies the hinterland between immoral, but not criminal, behaviour by community leaders and educators.
In the Michlalah case, it is reported that Takana’s panel consisted of Rav Yaakov Ariel the Chief Rabbi of
Ramat Gan, Rav Yehoshua Shapira, the Head of Ramat Gan Yeshiva, Dr Shlomit Lehman the Manager of the Yad Sarah family center in , and Dr Aviad HaCohen, a Legal Expert from “Shaarei Mishpat”. They initially met on this case in June 2009. Jerusalem
It is reported that this prestigious panel at Takana investigated the case, over a period of several months, and found the student’s complaint was justified.
According to Yediot Achronot, the Takana Forum came to an agreement with Michlalah that the offending teacher would immediately resign, and that a payment of 20,000
would be paid to the student, in return for indemnity against further prosecution. NIS
The female teacher, however, has now opened up a civil suit against Michlalah, at a
Jerusalem Court, for allegedly covering up the incident, rather than reporting the case to the authorities, claiming that such reporting was required by law.
Takana has denied that this case required reporting by law, and indeed claims that the case was taken to the Government’s Legal Advisor, and cleared by him for Takana to address, without reporting to the civil authorities.
Michlalah has also issued a public statement, claiming that the college did everything required of them in investigating the allegations - and dismissing the allegations of the civil law suit, blaming it on the female teacher, who the college claims holds a malicious grudge against the rabbi involved.