On Monday, December 10th, a NY jury found Nechemya Wberman, an unlicensed ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor, guilty of sexual assault. As described in the NY Times, Weberman repeatedly sexually abused a young girl who had been sent to him for treatment. Allegations of abuse in the ultra-Orthodox community have been in the news for years, but few prosecutions or civil law suits have been successful, in part because many victims have been reluctant to come forward and all too often few people are willing to support the victims. Sadly those who do support victims can face harsh consequences: Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, a victims right advocate in the Ultra Orthodox Community had bleach thrown in his face because of his unwaveringly support of victims.
What this all shows is that sexual abuse of children by religious officials is not a “Catholic thing” or a “priest thing.” Of course, sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests was and is a very prevalent and because the US has such a large Catholic population it often gets the most attention; but that doesn’t mean sexual abuse doesn’t happen in Protestant churches or in various branches of Judaism. Nor does the person have to be a cleric as the conviction of Nechemya Weberman demonstrates. They only need to have a position of trust and authority and access to children.
Here are the NY Times articles.