I URGE EVERYONE AND ANYONE WITH INFORMATION HELPFUL TO THE CHILD VICTIMS OF YESHIVA TORAH TEMIMAH, LIPA MARGULIES, YEHUDA KOLKO...AND ALL THE RABBINICAL PARTICIPANTS OF THE COVER-UP FOR DECADES - TO CONTACT ATTORNEY JEFFREY HERMAN!***************************************************
by Rabbi Hershel Schachter - Rosh Kollel - Kollel Elyon
The prohibition of mesirah is well known among religious Jews. The severity of this issur becomes ever so clear when we read in Shulchan Aruch that a mosser is dino ke’akum with respect to writing a sefer Torah (Yoreh Deah 281:3) and with respect to shechitah ( Remah ibid 2:9). Even if the mosser is otherwise an observant individual, and is meticulous in fulfilling his religious duties, because he demonstrates his rejection of the unity of all of Klal Yisroel (by his act of mesirah), he is treated as an akum (see Rambam, Hilchos Teshuva 3:11 and Nefesh Horav pg. 235).
If, however, one is guilty of a crime, and according to the law of the land deserves a prison sentence, or will be put to death, even though according to Jewish law his punishment would not be as severe, this is not mesirah (see Ritva to Bava Metsia 83b; Dvar Avraham vol. I pg. 8). One would still not be allowed to hand this individual over to the civil authorities because this is the equivalent of returning aveidas akum, which is usually not allowed. In an instance of avoiding a chilul Hashem, just like we would be obligated to return the aveidas akum, so too we would be obligated to hand over this individual (see Rama, Choshen Mishpat 388:12).
If the non-Jewish governmental authorities know that one Jew is concealing information about another Jew in order to save him from punishment, the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 28:3) considers this a situation of chilul Hashem. Similarly, for many generations it was the practice that if a gneiva had occurred, and suspicion had fallen on the Jewish community, rather than allow that suspicion to hover over the entire community, the roshei hakehol, with the permission of the rabbonim, would inform the non-Jewish authorities who might possibly be the real ganav (Be’er Hagola, Choshen Mishpat 388:12).
Even if one is guilty of a crime and deserves a punishment according to the laws of the land, but due to anti-semitic attitudes he will probably suffer more than if he were a non-Jew; or, the (state) prison conditions are such that he will suffer at the hands of the other inmates (or at the hands of the guards) in a manner that is not proscribed by law, then turning the offender in would constitute mesirah, since his added suffering will be shelo kadin. However, mesirah is permitted in situations where one is a public menace (see Shach to Choshen Mishpat 388, 59), or if one is physically or psychologically harming another individual (for example, in instances of sexual abuse of children, students, campers etc., or spousal abuse) (see Shach to Choshen Mishpat ibid, 45).
The Jewish community does not have the ability to investigate these types of cases. Wherever there are raglayim ladavar that there seems to be a problem, the proper government agencies should be contacted to investigate.
Just as in other areas of halachah, one should consult a competent moreh horaah when faced with such a shayla. Just because one is knowledgeable in Yoreh Deah vol. I or one delivers a good pilpul shiur on sugyos in Nashim or Nezikin, it does not necessarily follow that that individual will be qualified to pasken on hilchos mesirah – lehakel or lehachmir.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE:
Lawyers Against Kolko Seek Additional Victims;
Trial Set For March 31, 2008
by Hella Winston
Special to the Jewish Week
Lawyers representing "several men" and "two young boys" who were allegedly sexually molested by a teacher at Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn sent a letter March 13 to the families of more than 600 male students who had Rabbi Yehuda Kolko as an instructor.
The letter, from attorneys Jeffrey Herman and Michael Dowd, is "seeking any information that may be helpful to these important cases, including information that staff at Torah Temimah and/or [founder and head of school] Rabbi [Lipa] Margulies was aware of allegations against Rabbi Kolko."
According to the letter, "Two of the boys allege they were abused by Rabbi Kolko while attending the yeshiva during the past few years. Others allege they were abused by Rabbi Kolko at the yeshiva during the 1980s."
"[The letter] is part of our investigation," Herman told The Jewish Week Friday. "We are interested in speaking with families whose kids were with Rabbi Kolko at school and may have information that's relevant. We allege that there were complaints going back for decades about Rabbi Kolko.
"My sense is that the community is really coming around," Herman continued, "and that people [in the community] are much more willing to cooperate than they were a few years ago."
In December of 2006, Rabbi Kolko was arrested and indicted by a
Brooklyn grand jury on sexual abuse charges that involved a 6-year- old boy and a 31-year-old man; the latter alleges he was abused by the rabbi as a boy and again when he returned to visit the school in 2005.
Rabbi Kolko was arrested again in September 2007 on charges that he molested a first grader at the school in 2005. Rabbi Kolko remains free on $60,000 bail.
According to a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, preliminary hearings are set to begin in Rabbi Kolko's criminal case on March 31.
Over the past several years, YTT has been served with four civil lawsuits by five students. The most recent, filed in January 2007 on behalf of an underage "John Doe," alleges that the yeshiva covered up the abuse during the 2004-2005 school year, and seeks $10 million.
The yeshiva has denied a cover-up.
"I have been deeply involved in cases involving child sexual abuse for the past 12 years," Dowd, who just joined Herman on the Torah Temimah case, told The Jewish Week Friday. "And whether it be the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church, whoever does this to children, they have to be stopped, the children have to be made whole and the children have to be protected in the future.
"The only way you defeat evil in this world is by standing up to it," Dowd continued. "We are asking and appealing to the children of the community that have been subjected to this evil to come forward and confront this evil, which is to be condemned in the eyes of men and in the eyes of God. We protect the evildoers when we remain silent. There is no difference whether it be a priest or a Boy Scout leader, it's all wrong."
A message left for the attorney for YTT, Avi Moskowitz, was unreturned.