My name is Eric Aiken. I was raised, and remain, a fully observant Orthodox Jew. “The List” is the most comprehensive compilation in the world of individuals involved in Orthodox Jewish communities who are alleged to have been either arrested for, or convicted of, child sex crimes or endangerment (or in some cases, sex crimes against adult women.) For background information, I have included some individuals who have not been charged with a crime, but have been in the news. Please read the Disclaimer page before reading “The List” page.
Among my goals in creating this database is that it be used as a resource for parents and employers to protect children, prevent abuse and deter cover-ups. I believe that this database will help save the lives of Jewish children who are deliberately targeted by Orthodox child sex predators for rape and sexual abuse.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke
In truth, this database should not be run by me, but rather by any number of major Orthodox institutions who are responsible for the safety of Orthodox children. Despite being told privately by top officials at Agudath Israel of America, the Rabbinical Council of America and the National Council of Young Israel that they all support exposing Orthodox child molesters, not one of these organizations publishes a database that exposes these criminals.
None of them will even endorse this website which does exactly what they privately tell me that they support. Their callousness endangers Orthodox children everywhere by failing to expose the identities of Orthodox child rapists and molesters to Orthodox parents and employers.
Children who are sexually abused suffer enormously from the trauma of their abuse. Many suffer their entire lives. They have higher rates of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, failed marriages and suicide than the general public. It is imperative that we, as adults, do everything in our power to protect the children in our care from these heinous assaults. But to do so, we first need to know who the people are who commit these crimes.
“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” The movie, “Spotlight”.
I personally know at least a dozen Orthodox men who are either child sex predators, child pornographers, rapists or sex offenders. Half of them are rabbis. Some of them I grew up with, some I met in yeshiva, some I met through simply living in Orthodox communities throughout the U.S. and Israel.
If you are Orthodox, you probably also know quite a few Orthodox sexual predators. You just don’t know that they are predators because they are rarely identified publicly and few people in the Orthodox community are willing to discuss the subject.
In my research for this website, I have discovered a common theme. Orthodox child sex predators are routinely protected and covered up by rabbis and Orthodox officials.
Victims who speak out or report their abuser to the police are publicly shamed, humiliated and punished. Many victims and even their entire families are expelled from their Jewish schools, synagogues and communities for speaking the truth. This is typically done with at least the tacit, if not overt, approval of local rabbis.
Few Orthodox rabbis or officials are willing to acknowledge in more than broad, non-specific terms the severity of child sexual abuse in our communities. Few of them who conceal and cover up known child sex predators are held accountable for their reckless actions. Institutions that allow Jewish children to be sexually abused are shielded from responsibility for their negligence by powerful rabbis. Victims are not acknowledged, apologized to or compensated for their enormous pain and suffering as Torah law requires.
The covering up of Orthodox child sex predators and the ignoring of the plight of thousands of their victims is a gross violation of Torah laws and Jewish ethics. Our rabbis and Orthodox officials must stop denying, minimizing and ignoring our child sex abuse problem. They need to expel child sex predators from our institutions and communities and embrace the victims whose lives have been destroyed through no fault of their own.
I believe that it is just as dangerous today to be an Orthodox child as it was for me and the kids of my generation 35 or 40 years ago. No one protected us from Orthodox child sex predators then and little is being done to protect the children of this generation, either. By failing to address the problem of child sexual abuse in any significant or meaningful way, our religious leaders are enabling the future destruction of thousands of Jewish children’s lives.
Many victims of sexual abuse will leave Judaism in disgust because no one who could have and should have protected them did so. Some victims will choose to self-medicate their pain through drug or alcohol abuse. Others will not deal with their pain anymore and will choose suicide.
So the question for our rabbis and communities is, what’s our number? How many more of our children should we allow to be raped and sexually abused before we act? How many more Jewish victims need to jump out of hotel windows or pull the trigger to the gun they put to their head before we stop the abusers and their abuse?
Abuse frequently moves from generation to generation. Many abusers were abused themselves when they were children. How many more generations of sexually abused Orthodox victims are we going to allow to become abusers themselves?
What’s our number?
For two years, I contacted leading and influential rabbis and Orthodox institutions in an attempt to get them to stop the rampant sexual abuse of Orthodox children. My efforts went nowhere. Most rabbis wouldn’t even return my phone calls or reply to my emails when I told them that I wanted their help in protecting Jewish kids from sexual abuse.
I contacted Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America; Rabbi Dovid Zweibel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America; Farley Weiss, President of the National Council of Young Israel and Richard Joel, President of Yeshiva University.
Neither Rabbi Zweibel nor Richard Joel would respond to my messages. Neither Rabbi Dratch nor Farley Weiss agreed to take any steps to protect children.
I tried contacting three more leading Orthodox rabbis who publicly appeared to be concerned about stopping Orthodox sexual abuse. None of them would return my calls.
I called and emailed the Jewish Federation of North America half a dozen times over the course of an entire year asking to speak to someone about stopping child sexual abuse in the Jewish community. No one would return my calls or respond to my emails. Once, however, I was able to reach someone who told me that stopping child sexual abuse was not on the budgeted agenda of the Jewish Federation and therefore no one would be available for me to speak to.
I am not making this up.
Jewish Federation has a unique power and responsibility to make Jewish institutions everywhere safe for children. They give $3 billion per year to over a thousand Jewish institutions around the world. Few Jewish institutions of any religious denomination or affiliation have implemented meaningful procedures to protect children from sexual abuse. Although I have focused my efforts and this website on Orthodox child sexual abuse, it is clear from my research that child sexual abuse is found in Jewish communities around the world without regard to religious leanings.
A few years ago, Haifa University and the Israeli Ministry of Education conducted a study that reported that over 17% of Israeli Jewish children have been sexually abused. That translates into over 300,000 Jewish victims. The study excluded the entire Orthodox population which I believe has a much higher percentage of child sexual abuse than the rest of the Jewish population.
Jewish Federation can, but doesn’t, use its enormous influence to require all institutions that receive Federation funding to implement and enforce child safety rules, such as the five rules I have listed below. Implementing these rules costs nothing, will save lives and can be enforced immediately. Unfortunately for Jewish children around the world, protecting them from child rapists and sex predators isn’t in the Jewish Federation’s budgeted agenda.
CHILD SAFETY RULES
(These rules can be applied to all Jewish institutions, not just Orthodox)
1) Individuals who are arrested for, or convicted of, child sex offenses must be identified on a publicly available central database that is heavily promoted by rabbis and all major Jewish institutions. Many child sex offenders move from city to city and country to country, especially to and from Israel. Without a method to track them, they are able to slip unnoticed into new communities and continue their crimes.
2) Anyone who is credibly believed to have hurt children in the past or who may be a danger to children (and certainly everyone convicted of a child sex crime) must be expelled from every Jewish institution in which children are present. If the abuser leaves for a new community, the new community’s rabbis, officials and Jewish school principals must be informed immediately as to what the abuser has done and why he is a danger to Jewish children.
3) No adult (other than a parent or guardian) may ever be secluded with a child in a Jewish institution.
4) All employees of Jewish institutions must conduct themselves as if they were mandated reporters. This means that if someone suspects that a child may have been abused, that suspicion must be reported immediately to the police – without first asking the permission of a rabbi. Only the police, not rabbis, have the training and skills necessary to investigate allegations of criminal sexual conduct.
Mandated reporting laws (each state has their own) do not require proof of a criminal act before reporting a suspicion to the police. The police will determine if the report is credible and act accordingly.
5) Rabbis must stop –
- Demanding that victims not report their abuser to the police.
- Intimidating and allowing others to intimidate victims to prevent them from testifying in court against the victim’s abuser.
- Covering up known child rapists and sex predators.
- Demanding that Jewish therapists and Jewish social service agencies violate the law and not report Jewish child sex predators to the police, as several Jewish therapists have told me is currently being done.
- Allowing, and even encouraging, the public shaming and punishing of victims and their families who report abuse. Rabbis must make clear that anyone who humiliates a victim or expels the victim or the victim’s family from a Jewish school or synagogue is in violation of Torah law and that the perpetrator will be punished for such outrageous behavior.
CHILD SEX ABUSE STATISTICS
The Department of Justice reports that less than 10% of child sex offenders are ever convicted for their crimes. Due to the enormous community pressure to silence victims, I believe that in the Orthodox world that percentage is far less. I have found hundreds of individuals who have been arrested for, or convicted of, child sex crimes and I am certain that there are thousands more who have not ever been arrested for their crimes.
According to the Department of Justice:
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they reach the age of 18.
- Most child sex offenders are not strangers, but are known to the child.
- Nearly all child sex offenders are either juvenile or adult males (in my database of several hundred individuals, only 4 are female).
- At least 30% of victims of child sexual abuse go on to abuse others.
- Studies by the Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic and a researcher at George Washington University show that there is no drug or therapy that “cures” molesters and that molesters are always at risk of re-offending. Molesters are never safe around children.
- Other studies show that the average child sex offender will molest well over 100 children in his lifetime.
- Numerous studies show that children almost never lie about being sexually abused. A common tactic among those who seek to deny abuse reports and silence victims (See the Yeshiva University page) is to falsely claim that the child who reports being abused is a liar. This is almost never the case.
Torah’s obligations to protect children
The Torah states emphatically that every Jew is obligated to prevent another from being harmed, even if a majority of the community allows the harm to occur.
“Do not be a follower of the majority for evil (Exodus 23:2)”
(Even if our rabbis and leaders protect child molesters and abandon our children to sex predators, we must not follow their ways.)
“Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed (Lev. 19:16)”
(The Rambam – Maimonides – explains that if someone has the ability to protect another from harm and fails to do so, they are in violation of this commandment.)
“And you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18)”
(Simply put, if you don’t want to be sexually abused, don’t allow others to be abused, either.)
Violating any of these Torah laws is just as serious as eating pork, desecrating the Sabbath, committing adultery or stealing. They are all prohibited equally by God and his Torah.
When our rabbis and community officials cover up child rapists and sex predators and silence their many victims, they violate these Torah laws and Jewish morals. We cannot stand idly by the blood of our children and do nothing to protect them. We as Orthodox Jews have to change our attitudes towards child sexual abuse in our communities. It is real, it is found in Orthodox communities throughout the world, it is highly destructive to its victims and it must be stopped now.