It would be hard to beat the Catholic Church at immoral and illegal behavior committed to cover up the rape and abuse of children, but rabbis in Australia seem to be trying very, very hard. Some are accused of trying to intimidate victims and telling people that it would be a sin to reveal to authorities that someone is raping or abusing kids.
Photo: Robert A Pears / Getty
In fact, one of the most senior men in the world's Chabad community allegedly told victims of abuse that he wouldn't back them up, despite knowing the truth, simply because it would ruin the abuser's life and that would be a "grave sin." Presumably raping children isn't such a grave sin, at least if you're a Chabad rabbi.
That's not even the worst that the rabbis are accused of saying. At least one says that the child abuse was consensual and that the little kids who were abused were just dirty little things who were thinking about nothing but sex.
In material obtained by the Herald Sun the rabbi admitted to knowing of allegations of abuse by the perpetrator but said he was powerless to do anything.
During a conversation with the victim the rabbi allegedly told him reporting the abuse now would do nothing but destroy the life of the alleged sexual perpetrator and his children.
"In cases like this, that are such a long time ago ... the proper approach is to let him go," he said.
Other shocking suggestions made by the rabbi included:
TELLING the victim he had invited the abuse because he wasn't religious enough
SAYING children as young as five were abused because they were obsessed with sex, including with animals
ADMITTING he knew about allegations of abuse by the alleged perpetrator several years before the victim was allegedly abused.
The rabbi allegedly said he had raised the claims with the alleged perpetrator and had told him to stop but did not report the allegations to police. It is understood the alleged perpetrator continued to offend for several years before ultimately relocating overseas.
So, the kids who were abused and raped were themselves at fault for not being sufficiently religious and for obsessing about sex. We can add to this the accusation that the kids agreed to be raped by the rabbis:
In defending his decision not to report the alleged assaults to authorities the rabbi said he believed the attacks were consensual.
"We are talking about very young boys and everyone is saying they agreed to this," he said. "If you are going to do something to them at a certain stage in their life, you are destroying their life, you are destroying their whole life and their children, and therefore this is something that is ridiculous, like mechalel shabbos (desecrating the sabbath) or serving idols," the rabbi said.
According to one critic quoted in the article, the rabbis have been telling the public that they are cooperating with the authorities in their investigations into child sex abuse. If, however, they are telling people privately to not report the truth, that would undermine all alleged cooperation.
Sadly, it's difficult to say that anything better should be expected from authoritarian religious organizations. A big part of their activities tends to be devoted to protecting their existence and power. Revealing the full truth of child abuse would tend to undermine that power and that, in turn, would endanger their existence.