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Rabbi Baruch Leifer Charged; Lessons For Activists

Yerachmiel Lopin at Frum Follies reports on news from Israel that Rabbi Baruch Leifer, the father-in-law of Malka Leifer, has been charged with multiple counts of child sexual assault (CSA). As he notes, news takes on an added dimension of importance because Malka Leifer notoriously evaded extradition on the nearly 75 charges she was accused of for nine years.

Lopin’s blog allows us to extract some key lessons about such cases.

Institutional Behaviors That Enable CSA

  1. Ignoring Concerns: “His reputation for child molesting has followed him for decades and led “him to move out of Jerusalem and then from one town to another.” (Note: Leifer has been accused but not [yet] convicted.)
  2. Allowing The Process To Be Dragged-Out: “Her extradition from Israel took 9 years because of extended tampering with the process by then head of the health ministry, Yaakov Litzman.”
  3. Lack Of Institutional Controls Against Corruption: “Extended tampering with the process by then head of the health ministry, Yaakov Litzman.”
  4. Lack Of Safety Mechanisms For Ethical Officials: “He pressured mental health professional[s] to proffer false diagnoses of Malka.”
  5. Failure To Close Loopholes: “These diagnoses of severe mental illness were used to postpone her extradition hearings.”

Social Factors That Make It Challenging To Confront Pedophiles:

  1. They Cluster Together, Support and Enable One Another: Baruch Leifer is the father-in-law of the monstrous Malka Leifer, “jailed in Australia pending trial on 74 charges of molesting 3 sisters while she was principal of the Haredi Adaas girls HS in Melbourne.” This may be a coincidence. However, there are prominent examples of pedophiles clustering together and helping one another to evade justice and retain their titles. The Catholic Church comes to mind most prominently, but the Jewish community has also seen this phenomenon occur with rabbis. (See Shonda by Michael Lesher.)
  2. Their Status Causes People To Question Their Guilt: “Baruch Leifer is a descendent of the Spinka Rebbe of Hungary and uses the Hasidic title Chuste Rebbe (pronounced Chisteh by Hungarian Chasidim)….It seems he barely has any chasidim.”

Elements Of An Effective Response:

“The logjam was broken when Shana Aaronson of Magen hired a private investigator who shot videos of a very active and functional Malka Leifer which completely contradicted her claims of disability.”

  1. Individuals with strong moral beliefs, who disregard opposition
  2. A supportive community to validate the individual
  3. Institutional mechanisms through which justice can be pursued
  4. Means of bringing concerns before the public eye (e.g. the Internet and social media, court cases)
  5. Professionals willing to gather evidence legally
  6. A methodical approach to social intervention
  7. Consistency
  8. Persistence
  9. Extrapolation of fact patterns from a single experience
  10. Capturing fact patterns into training communications that support prevention through awareness

By Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.

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