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Covering up child abuse as reprehensible as pedophilia itself.
There's been a great deal of sensational news lately concerning pedophiles in the United States. The common denominator is these individuals preyed upon children while religious and educational institutions established upon foundations of trust and morality ignored or covered-up such disgusting and illegal behavior.
The most sensational: the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach,. He was convicted last week on 45 of 48 counts for sexually abusing several young boys over a number of years while they attended camps sponsored by Sandusky's Second Mile charitable organization at Penn State.
The riveting testimony at his trial from several victims not only showed that Sandusky, who had worked most of his career under legendary Coach Joe Paterno, and one of the nation's most lucrative and revered football programs in the county, abused these boys on the Penn State campus, but that university officials failed to act on them when sexual abuse reports were made.....
In New York, a growing scandal concerning both child and spousal abuse is now being played out in the ultra-orthodox Jewish Hasidic community of New York City.
There, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes is being taken to task for adhering to an arrangement with very politically powerful rabbis. The rabbis control massive blocs of voters. The rabbis called for Hasidic victims to first report allegations to their rabbis rather than police. And they also demanded that Hynes not publish the names of those arrested and convicted in that community.
Investigative reports by the New York Times, and subsequent reports by CNN and other news outlets, have raised other issues. The reports stated that instead of encouraging victims to press charges, the influential rabbis in the 250,000-person community protected child abusers and actually punished and ostracized victims who spoke out or called the police.
So far, out of 51 molesting cases involving Hasidic defendants in Brooklyn since 2009, nine were outright dismissed and others plead out to other charges because the victim's and their families feared reprisal from those Rabbis and members of their communities for testifying at trial.
The enormous scale of abuse that has been revealed about cover-ups in the U.S. Catholic Church — involving 6,100 priests and 16,000 victims — has resulted in civil court settlements paid to victims amounting to $2.5 billion. These cases have been the most prominent example of the massive scale of forbearance for sexual abuse by a politically and socially powerful U.S. religious institution.
Yet, after years of such news, investigations, and convictions, there's a glaring lack of criminal prosecution and conviction of prominent officials, or the institutions themselves by prosecutors like Hynes. Prosecutors and public officials seem fearful of taking on these power institutions, perhaps to facilitate their re-elections, rather than protecting the community.
Putting the sensational aspects of the Sandusky trial aside, the true significance of that trial, as well as the Lynnhim conviction and the mess in the shtetels of Brooklyn, is that it highlights how powerful religious and educational institutions are also culpable accomplices in these crimes. And that their immoral leaders deserve to be punished as well.
It's easy for these religious and educational bodies to pay out millions in civil settlements from their endowments.
It's not that easy to change the mentality of those in ultimate power. It is they who condone, and thus encourage, the continued abuse of children under their watch in order to save their powerful institutions from bad publicity and warranted investigation.
Those who cover up child abuse must be charged along with those who committed the abuse. It's time for the chief rabbis, the cardinals, the prominent university officials — and the institutions themselves — to be tried and convicted in criminal courts, too.
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