NEW YORK (JTA) – The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office says it has charged 89 men in the borough’s haredi Orthodox communities with child sex abuse — a threefold increase over a two-year span.
However, the Forward reported that Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes declined to provide any details about the cases, making the number of arrests impossible to verify. His spokesman, Jerry Schmetterer, gave the figures to the newspaper in mid-November.
The numbers reflect the number of haredi Orthodox men charged with sexual abuse since October 2009.
In an e-mail to The Forward in late October, Schmetterer said his office was not prepared to discuss the cases at the time. "Perhaps towards the end of November,” he wrote.
In 2009, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said it had arrested 26 haredi Orthodox men in the borough for sexual abuse over the previous two years.
Hynes had come under fire for allegedly neglecting sexual abuse cases in Brooklyn’s haredi communities. Sexual abuse survivors and their advocates say that Hynes has been lax on the issue because he is afraid of political retaliation from Orthodox voters.
Ben Hirsch, president of Survivors for Justice, told The Forward, “We deserve public notice of the arrest and conviction of Orthodox sex offenders, not culturally sensitive policies that keep these cases from the public, thereby placing children in danger.”