Apparently, the Jewish Press was right to warn its readers about a coming reckoning for a yeshiva in Brooklyn engineered by gadfly blogger, The Unorthodox Jew.
The Daily News reports,
A Brooklyn rabbi and his yeshiva were hit with a $20 million civil lawsuit yesterday, accusing him of molesting two students more than 25 years ago […] The plaintiff, identified by his Miami lawyer, Jeffrey Herman, only as John Doe No. 1, was allegedly molested during the early 1970s over a two-year period, Herman said. […] Herman, who claims there are at least 15 victims, charges that school officials waged a campaign of intimidation and concealment against victims and their families to bury the accusations against the rabbi.
School officials could not be reached for comment.
More interesting to me is not the alleged child molester, as there will always be those in every community, but the stonewalling and denial by other administrators of this institution. It’s one thing to be insensitive to students and parents who could be pressured into silence, but it is strategically confusing that the yeshiva did not at least heed the threats from Unorthodox. The guy clearly meant business, and because of his anonymity, was outside of their reach, either politically, communally, or otherwise.
Forget the morality of the issue for a moment.
Where do you think you are? Once there is a lawsuit–and he repeatedly warned that a lawsuit was coming–there is going to be attention from the media. Now there is a lawsuit, and it’s going to be a three ring circus. Did you think the Daily News was going to give a hoot about your ban on the internet? Did you think that they would fear your community’s voting block power? As for any demand for sensitivity, we are dealing with a tabloid, one quite desperate to try to keep up with the NY Post’s superior coverage of Ultra-Orthodox scandal, which helps attract a hefty and desirable Jewish readership. And yes, many of us do read the Post on the sly.
Now you are in big trouble, and your entire community will suffer with you, barely finding the strength to proclaim (in public) that they believe that the victims fabricated their stories, or that the local press is just anti-Orthodox.
You should have cleaned house when you had a chance. You should have cut a deal.
Instead, out of pride and habit, you will be vanquished by a blogger. And you will make blogs more popular among your own as a means to express grievances, and mobilize against you.