Friday, July 06, 2012
A bill, A. 09287, sponsored by Assembly Member Dov Hikind, and cosponsored by Assembly Members Harvey Weisenberg and Helene Weinstein, would require the nonpublic schools to fingerprint and conduct criminal history background checks on their employees. http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A09287&term=2011
Attached are letters of support from seven nonprofit groups that support this bill, including our own:
1. Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, Inc.;
2. Ohel Children's and Family Services;
3. Rabbinical Council of America;
4. CHILD - Children's Health Care Is a Legal Duty;
5. Prevent Child Abuse NY;
6. The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children;
7. American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children - New York.
Currently, all NYS public schools are required to background check their employees; but, for nonpublic schools, it is optional. Our own organization was, in 2006, successful in advocating for the law, Education Law 3001-d, that at least permits nonpublic schools to fingerprint their employees.
In 2007, working with Senator Dean Skelos, we were successful in advocating for the first mandated fingerprint bill for nonpublic schools - that bill passed the Senate, but was never voted upon by the Assembly.
The bill was re-introduced in subsequent years, but has still not passed.
Our Freedom of Information Law request upon the State Education Department reveals that only one per cent, 19 out of 1,900 nonpublic schools, are fingerprinting their employees.
The State Education Department also informed us that from 2001 through 2011, there were 1,653 public school job applicants, outside New York City, who were rejected for employment because of their serious criminal histories. (The New York City Department of Education declined our FOIL demand.)
There are over 700,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, including 30,000 in New York. These people, and others with serious criminal histories such as Moshe Pinter, should not work near children where they can inflict harm.
Our February 2009 Position Paper to the State Legislature, available on our web site, elaborates as to all of the many reasons why employee fingerprinting and criminal history background checks are essential for child safety.
The recent ongoing media attention about child abuse in religious and private schools, including yeshivas, Horace Mann, and Brooklyn Poly Prep, makes it so imperative that New York joins the 13 other states that require fingerprinting and background checks for nonpublic schools.
There are approximately 450,000 children who attend New York's nonpublic schools, about 15 percent of the total.
Child sex abuse is a horrific crime that often inflicts significant, long term damage. Alcohol and drug abuse, impaired cognitive functioning, actual brain damage, serious clinical depression, and suicide are among the consequences.
There is also an economic impact to society which is staggering. The NYS Senate Democratic Conference recently reported, in an April 30, 2012 report, that the immediate economic impact of child sex abuse is $211 million; the long term economic impact is $2.1 billion.
Most recently, on June 28, 2012, orthodox New York City Council Member David Greenfield, representing Borough Park, introduced a Resolution, 1393-2012, which, if passed, will urge the State Legislature to pass a mandated fingerprint law for nonpublic schools.
The Council Resolution has 20 sponsors, including Speaker Christine Quinn. It was referred to the Council Education Committee.
We are deeply concerned that there may be other persons with serious criminal histories working or volunteering in the nonpublic schools. Last year, the media reported about convicted sex offender Joseph Denice volunteering at Catholic schools in Queens.
In today's Jewish Press, an op-ed by David Mandel, CEO of Ohel Children's and Family Services, a large New York City nonprofit organization, calls for mandatory fingerprinting of nonpublic school employees.
We once again respectfully urge the State Legislature to immediately pass the mandated fingerprint, background check bill for nonpublic school employees.
The longer we wait, the more likely it is that more disasters will happen.
Elliot Pasik, Esq.
President, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, Inc.
52 East Olive Street
Long Beach, NY 11561
Telephone: (516) 371-2800; (516) 578-0250
"This is a major victory," said Paul Mones, one of Lynch's two attorneys. He said it was remarkable because Lynch told the jury he punched the priest several times. Prosecutors called Lynch a vigilante and implored the jury not to be swayed by his dramatic testimony. Jurors told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper that none wanted to convict Lynch after hearing his testimony about the alleged abuse. The jurors asked to remain anonymous.
San Jose, California (CNN) -- A California jury Thursday acquitted a man charged with assaulting a retired Catholic priest, in a case that prosecutors had described as a vigilante attack.
William Lynch, 44, was accused of confronting the Rev. Jerold Lindner, 68, during a visit at Sacred Heart Retirement home for Jesuit priests in Los Gatos, California, where Lindner had been living since retirement in 2001.
Prosecutors claimed that Lynch walked into the retirement center on May 10, 2010, under the pretense of delivering news about a relative, and attacked his former pastor.
Lynch and his younger brother had claimed more than a decade earlier that Lindner sexually molested them during church-led camping trips in northern California when they were 7 and 5 years old.
During Lynch's assault trial, Lindner denied abusing the boys and maintained his innocence from the witness stand.
But two days into Lindner's testimony, his attorney notified the court that his client was invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and would not testify further for fear of a perjury prosecution.
Lynch also took the witness stand and testified that he only had wanted the priest to sign a confession, and he said he had punched him after experiencing an irrational fear triggered by memories of the alleged abuse.
Lynch's defense attorney, Pat Harris, claimed Lindner was responsible for his client's actions.
"Society is the victim in all this ... because there's a man sitting up there at Los Gatos who is a rapist, who molests children, and he's allow to go free," Harris said.
The statute of limitations on criminal molestation allegations had expired when Lynch and his brother went public with their allegations in 1997.
But in a civil lawsuit that was settled in 1998, Lynch and his brother asserted that Lindner sodomized them and forced them to have sex with each other while Lindner watched. In that suit, Lynch and his brother received a $625,000 settlement with the Jesuits of the California Province.
In the assault case against Lynch, he faced four counts stemming from the 2010 incident. The jury Thursday acquitted him on three counts and was unable to reach a decision on the fourth charge. The judge declared a mistrial on that count, and dismissed the charge.
Dozens of Lynch supporters, including his parents, gathered with demonstration signs outside the Santa Clara County Courthouse proclaiming the defendant's innocence.
Before the trial, prosecutors offered Lynch a plea deal offer that would have required a year in jail.
In closing arguments, prosecutors urged the jury to refrain from being swayed by Lynch's emotional testimony describing the alleged childhood trauma he claimed to have endured at the hands of Lindner.
After the verdict, Jim Muyo, a spokesman for the California Province of the Society of Jesus, released a statement saying they respect "the legal process and the findings of the judge and jury in the case of William Lynch."
A jury acquitted a man Thursday of assaulting a retired priest he says molested him more than three decades ago, causing him trauma that led to alcohol abuse, depression and suicide attempts. The defendant, William Lynch, took the witness stand and acknowledged punching the Rev. Jerold Lindner several times on May 10, 2010, at a Jesuit retirement home. Mr. Lynch said he hoped to use the case to publicly shame Father Lindner and bring further attention to the Catholic Church clergy abuse scandal. Prosecutors called Mr. Lynch a vigilante. Priest abuse victims and their supporters contributed to a defense fund and packed the courtroom every day for a trial. The retired priest also testified and denied abusing Mr. Lynch, who received $625,000 in a 1998 confidential settlement with the Jesuits.