JTA — Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a rabbinic dean at Yeshiva University, has warned against reporting uncorroborated sex abuse allegations to police.
At a rabbinical conference in February in London, Schachter called “ridiculous” the idea that Jews should not turn fellow Jews over to secular authorities for fear of violating the principle of “mesirah,” or betrayal — the traditional Jewish prohibition on informing. However, he warned that that false allegations could lead to arrests and imprisonment with a “shvartze” — a derogatory Yiddish term for a black person — and that communal boards should be established to vet allegations before involving law enforcement.
“Before you go to the police and before you got to family services, every community should have a board… to investigate whether there’s any raglayim la’davar [substance] or not,” Schachter says, according to a recording posted on the blog FailedMessiah.com.
Schachter did not respond to inquiries from the Forward newspaper, which has been running stories since December about allegations of abuse by former faculty members at YU’s high school for boys. The alleged incidents took place decades ago.
In state prisons, “the warden in the prison can kill you. They can put you in a cell together with a shvartze, with a… black Muslim who wants to kill all the Jews,” Schachter added.