(JTA) — London’s haredi Orthodox establishment rejected a television news report that it had failed to tackle child abuse properly.
A spokesman for the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations told The Jewish Chronicle that the allegations were “simply not true and is a slur on our community.” The paper did not name the spokesman.
A Channel 4 program that aired on Jan. 30 showed video of the Union’s spiritual head, Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, telling a man who said that he had been a victim of child abuse in Stamford Hill not to go to the police.
The station said the footage “exposes how the strictly Orthodox community’s approach to child protection can leave children at risk and shield abusers from justice."
The Daily Mirror reported that the program’s investigators found 19 cases where alleged crimes were not reported.
The program also interviewed an anonymous rabbi who said one family was driven out of their community after reporting that their child had been sexually abused in a synagogue.
The spokesperson for the union told the Jewish Chronicle that the community did all it could to protect its children from “these unspeakable crimes. We may once have thought that our community was immune from such matters. But we now know that we are not.”