Hynes Is Late To Push for Mandate Law

Pushes Measure To Order Rabbis To Report Child Sex Abuse

Grandstand Move? Charles Hynes says he is pushing for a new law that would force rabbis to report abuse. But state lawmakers suggest he hasn’t been part of the legislative process.
shulamit seidler-feller
Grandstand Move? Charles Hynes says he is pushing for a new law that would force rabbis to report abuse. But state lawmakers suggest he hasn’t been part of the legislative process.

By Paul Berger

Published May 29, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes says he is pushing for passage of a new state law to force rabbis to report child sex allegations to authorities.

But lawmakers say Hynes has joined the legislative fray late in the state capital of Albany, and time is running out for any measure to pass this year.

“If [Hynes] wants to get something done before the session closes . . . [he’s] wasting precious moments,” said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Westchester). “Going through bureaucracy can take time.”


Read Paul Berger’s landmark interview with Charles Hynes.


New York’s legislative session closes at the end of June.

Hynes annnounced that he would push for the new legislation after Agudath Israel of America reiterated its policy that almost all sex abuse allegations should be taken to a rabbi before going to law enforcement. He said he would ask the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York to look into this legislation the week beginning May 28.

That timetable sounds unrealistic to Albany insiders. Several bills that seek to change New York State’s mandatory reporting laws, including a bill Paulin drafted, are currently pending in Albany. Progress is frozen while negotiations continue between New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers.

New York’s legislative process is notoriously opaque and it is difficult to assess the chances of success for any bill, let alone one with several pending versions.

Powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) will likely play a key role along with leaders of the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Mandatory reporting has become a major issue in Albany in the wake of a sex abuse scandal at New York’s Syracuse University involving Bernie Fine, a longtime assistant to legendary Coach Jim Boeheim.

Public pressure surrounding the issue has increased due to both the Syracuse scandal and scandals among religious communities, said Assemblyman John J. McEneny (D-Albany), who introduced a bill last year that would make clergy mandatory reporters of abuse.

Paulin said she hopes that a bill, with strong bipartisan support, may be drafted by June 12. But if Hynes wants some input, she said he should start working with lawmakers now.

Violating mandatory reporting laws is a misdemeanor, which rarely results in jail time.

Hynes said that if rabbis became mandated reporters he would push for the maximum six months-to-one year prison term for those who failed to report abuse.


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!
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • 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.