Friday, May 17, 2013

Rabbi's Sex Assault Conviction May Encourage Others In New Jersey Orthodox Community To Bring Complaints To Civil Authorities

AP reported earlier this week that a guilty plea in the sexual assault trial of former yeshiva teacher Rabbi Yosef Kolko "may be a watershed for the prosecutor's office and the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood [New Jersey]."  The plea came Monday, part way through Kolko's trial, after two others claiming to have been abused by Kolko contacted the prosecutor's office last week. The Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood has been reluctant to report sex abuse complaints to civil authorities, preferring instead to handle them through rabbis and rabbinical courts. (See prior posting.) In this case, the young victim's family had been ostracized by the community for taking the case to civil courts. Senior Assistant Prosecutor Laura Pierro said she hoped that this trial would open the door to others in the community cooperating with prosecutors.