Panel Should Decide On Abuse Charges


I would like to express my objections to suggestions that all allegations of sexual abuse be reported to the district attorney’s office (“Questions Surface On Hynes Task Force,” May 25).

The problem is that there is a possibility that the accused may be innocent. A public report to the district attorney would unfairly brand the accused as a sexual predator.

A balanced solution would be to report all allegations to a panel agreeable to both the district attorney and the yeshivot. If the panel feels that there is a probability that sexual abuse occurred, then the matter should be referred to the district attorney for further action. If the panel feels that there is a probability that improper conduct short of criminal abuse occurred, then the teacher should be dismissed and a record should be made of the decision. If on the other hand, the panel does not find it probable that either abuse or improper conduct, the record of the matter should be sealed from any public viewing.

Such a procedure would uncover both improper conduct and abuse while protecting the reputations of the unjustly accused. Indeed, the statute anticipates this type of vetting when it required the reporting of credible allegations, not all allegations.

Fairlawn, N.J.