A top rabbinic dean of Yeshiva University has warned rabbis about the dangers of reporting child sex abuse allegations to the police because it could result in a Jew being jailed with a black inmate, or as he put it, “a shvartze,” who might want to kill him.
Rabbi Hershel Schachter, one of the most respected faculty members of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, also said that children can lie and ruin an innocent man’s life.
“It could be that the whole thing is a bubbe-mayse [tall tale],” Schachter said.
Schachter said Jewish communities should establish panels of rabbis who are also psychologists to first hear such allegations and decide if law authorities should be informed.
Schachter, whose taped remarks were posted on the Failed Messiah website, said a student at Yeshiva University’s high school in Manhattan confided in him years ago that he had been abused.
Schachter said that he asked the student to tell his story to a rabbi who served as the school psychologist, but the child refused because of the humiliation it could bring on his family.
He said he did not report the abuse to the authorities because he could not be sure the allegations were true.
“So now, 40 years later, the guy’s spilling everything out to the newspaper,” Schachter said in the recording.
Schachter then suggested it was the former student’s fault if more children were harmed because he refused to speak to the psychologist.