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Sexual abuse in the Orthodox community

Last month the Brooklyn D.A.’s office opened a hotline for alleged victims of Orthodox Jewish sexual abuse; already, the office has 19 active cases , ABC News reports in an in-depth piece on sexual abuse in the Orthodox community.

ABC News has spoken to Orthodox Jews who claim they were victims of abusers in New York, Baltimore and Illinois, who shared stories of alleged molestation followed by what they described as hostility from community leaders when they sought help…

Though [New York State Assemblyman Dov] Hikind and some rabbis have recently been willing to take on the issue, alleged victims say there is still tremendous pressure to keep quiet. Several said community leaders were skeptical of their claims, and said they were told that they and their relatives would never be able to find someone to marry them and that they would become outcasts in their tight-knit communities.

One prominent rabbi, speaking on the condition of anomynity, questioned whether abuse allegations were true.

"If there’s a family fight, a dispute in the family, it could start with verbal abuse. What happens next? You know and I know, it becomes ‘he raped me,’ or whatever," the rabbi said. "If you’re telling me there are allegations of abuse, I don’t know what ‘allegations’ really means."

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