Sunday, December 11, 2011

Orthodox sex abuse scandal 

He looks like a movie star, but many members of Brooklyn’s Jewish community believe he is a monster.

Andrew Goodman, 27, who worked for Jewish social-service agencies, is charged with sexually abusing two Orthodox boys for years in Flatbush — one from age 11 to 15, the other from age 13 to 16.

Goodman filmed sex acts with the youngsters on a Web cam, according to the 144-count indictment, which alleges numerous violations since 2006. He has pleaded not guilty.

The handsome Goodman, who held parties in his home with liquor and child porn, also “threatened the life” of a boy who reported him to authorities, court papers and sources say.

He’s one of an astounding 85 accused Orthodox child molesters that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office says it has busted in the past three years in an initiative called Kol Tzedek, Hebrew for “voice of justice.”

The cases involve 117 victims — a number that has the community reeling from the extent of the horrors of pedophilia.

Launched amid complaints that Hynes was soft on Orthodox child predators, Kol Tzedek aims to coax victims to come forward, despite strong pressure in the insular religious community to cover up such crimes.

All but two of the suspects are men, and more than half the victims are male, said Assistant DA Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the sex abuse and crimes against children division.

Of the 38 cases closed so far, 14 perps got jail time, ranging from a month to 10-to-20 years for crimes that included sex abuse, attempted kidnapping, and sodomy, Jaus said.

The other 24 have walked free. They got probation, pleaded to minor charges, or saw their cases dismissed — often because victims or their parents backed out under community pressure.

Agudath Israel of America, a prominent body of Torah sages, requires anyone alleging sex abuse by a fellow observant Jew to first report to its rabbis, who decide whether the case should go to secular authorities.

Goodman’s case, which Hynes’ office hasn’t publicized, shows how the community’s response has started to change. Rather than keeping it among the Orthodox, some alleged victims turned to sympathetic religious leaders and outside authorities to help lock up a menace.

“Andrew Goodman is known in our community as a lifelong molester who preys on young boys and ruins their lives,” a Talmudic scholar at Congregation Bais Torah wrote to Brooklyn Judge Martin Murphy, who is hearing the case.


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Chaptzem! Blog