Head of the Rabbinical services organization ‘Tzohar,’ Rabbi David Stav, criticized on Wednesday rabbis who hush up sexual abuse cases in their communities rather than reporting them to the authorities.
“Sexual abuse is physical and psychological damage of the highest order. Rabbis that attempt to silence these matters without dealing with them through the appropriate channels are transgressing the Torah,” he said.
Rabbi Stav asserted that one who has committed sexual abuse is likely to do so again if he is not treated by a qualified professional.
“This is unrelated to the Talmudic adage that one should not think badly of a Torah scholar that sinned, for surely he has done Teshuva [repentance]; here, we are dealing with one who is sick, and a sick man does not heal by himself.”
Rabbi Stav stresses that police and welfare services cannot be thought of as some foreign or hostile entity; they are part of the public like everyone else.
It is therefore a moral and legal obligation to report incidents to the authorities. “A Rabbi is not a doctor or a psychologist, and a Rabbi that encounters cases of abuse in his community must report them to relevant professionals.”
Rabbi Stav is scheduled to speak this Monday at the Binyanei Hauma complex in Jerusalem on the topic of sexual abuse.