NJ camps’ board is asked to resign for ignoring director’s predatory behavior


(JTA) — The president of a Jewish camps association in New Jersey has urged its entire board to resign, in the wake of an investigation finding that the board knew for years about the predatory behavior of its former executive director.

The New York Jewish Week reported Wednesday that Peter Horowitz, the current president of NJY Camps, urged all 60 members of his board to join him in resigning for allowing the former executive director, Leonard Robinson, “to operate for far too long without any real oversight, creating an environment in which his abuse of others was allowed to go unchecked.”

Robinson was forced to resign from his position at NJY Camps, which operates various Jewish summer camps, in April after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. An independent investigation into the allegations was completed in September, The Jewish Week reports, but its conclusions only became public when the head of a large New Jersey Jewish federation read the report and called on the entire board of NJY Camps to resign.

The investigators’ report “is a shameful, damning, heart-breaking and miserable study in leadership failure,” Dov Ben-Shimon, executive vice president and CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, NJ, wrote in a letter to his leadership last week. His letter was obtained by The Jewish Week. NJY Camps is a partner agency of the MetroWest federation.

According to Ben-Shimon’s letter, the report unearthed 11 cases in which Robinson “harassed, abused, mistreated, intimidated and harmed women” during his 25-year tenure as NJY’s top executive. Ben-Shimon also wrote, citing the investigation, that Robinson would use “NJY funds” to “pay off victims.”

Robinson, 77, declined The Jewish Week’s request for comment.

Ben-Shimon also writes that the investigation “clearly points to the fact that many in the senior board and past president leadership knew of [Robinson’s] behavior and did nothing to prevent it.”

Horowitz, the president of the NJY Camps board, said he intends to resign “no later than February,” The Jewish Week reported.

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