(JTA) – More than 100 haredi Orthodox rabbis and teachers in the United States have signed a proclamation saying that Jewish law obligates all Jews to report suspected child sex abuse to the authorities.
The proclamation, called a kol koreh, was released in recent days. It cites the statement in the Book of Leviticus – “Do not stand by while your neighbour’s blood is shed” – as the basis for the obligation to report suspected abuse.
“Lives can be ruined or ended by unreported child abuse, as we are too often tragically reminded,” the proclamation states.
“We, the undersigned, affirm that any individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable basis to suspect child abuse has a religious obligation to promptly notify the secular law enforcement of that information” begins the proclamation.
“These individuals have the experience, expertise and training to thoroughly and responsibly investigate the matter. Furthermore, those deemed ‘mandated reporters’ under secular law must obey their state’s reporting requirements.”
In reporting Monday on the proclamation, the blog FailedMessiah reported that most of the 107 signers are what it calls “second or third tier” rabbis and that no leading Hasidic rabbis signed. The blog also pointed out that no members of Agudath Israel of America’s Council of Torah Sages signed and that most haredi news outlets did not report on the proclamation.