No Secrets

Editorial

Published April 27, 2012, issue of May 04, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

There was a time when Megan Kanka’s name was well-known for all the reasons that a parent most fears: The 7-year-old New Jersey girl was raped and murdered by a neighbor who, it turns out, had two previous convictions for sexually assaulting young girls. He lured little Megan into his house to see a puppy, and — well, you really don’t want to know the rest.

“Megan’s Law” was passed by the New Jersey Assembly a month after her 1994 murder; it required the state to set up a registry for sex offenders and to notify the community when an offender changes residences. The law, or a version of it adapted by many states, is not without controversy, but it speaks to a public’s right to know the whereabouts of a potentially dangerous person.

That’s how it works in this country. When someone is arrested for or convicted of a crime, the information is public. We don’t have secret trials or private adjudications. Even “when the CIA apprehends a suspect in a very serious espionage matter, that is not secret. This can never be secret. This is the essence of our individual liberties in an open society,” says Peter Schneer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition.

Someone forgot to tell the district attorney of Brooklyn.

As our Paul Berger has reported, DA Charles Hynes will not reveal the names of the many Orthodox Jews whom he has arrested — and in some cases convicted — of child sexual abuse, because of the community’s “tight-knit and insular” nature. His office argues that releasing the names of suspects would allow others to identify their victims. And that might be true in a small, select number of cases.

But this extraordinary, sweeping, autocratic decision to keep secret even the names of men who have been convicted of these awful crimes is an affront to the rule of law. It denies parents the opportunity to protect their children, and victims the assurance that justice is in their corner. Hynes should release the names immediately, or make a solid case for those identities he may need to protect. No secrets on a crime this serious can ever be tolerated.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.