Brooklyn, NY – With increased scrutiny on the handling of sex-abuse cases involving members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox community, some elected officials are beginning to take a stand on practices tied to District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.
But few elected officials this week wanted to take a position one way or the other regarding another controversial practice of Hynes’ office: that of withholding from the public a list of names of Orthodox people accused or convicted of sexual abuse crimes. The list was compiled through a hotline called Kol Tzedek.
One such critic is Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents Borough Park and Flatbush.
“If it’s my next-door neighbor, my grandchildren come over on a regular basis, I would want to know,” said Hikind, who has openly called on Hynes to publicly release the names.
“I don’t get it,” he told The Jewish Week on Tuesday. “[Hynes] should explain this much more than he has. He should hold a press conference where everyone should ask more questions. So far it doesn’t make much sense. …. Each perpetrator has multiple victims. Releasing information in one case is going to mean Yankel or Shloimie or Esther was molested?”
Two other prominent Orthodox politicians this week, however, took a pass on the issue.
Councilman David Greenfield, who also represents Borough Park and Flatbush, did not respond to questions addressed to him by e-mail and through an intermediary.
And Simcha Felder, Greenfield’s predecessor who is now deputy city comptroller and a candidate for state Senate, said on Friday he needed more time to look into the matter. On Tuesday, he said, “I’m still researching this issue and decline to comment.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not respond to a detailed message left with his press office on the topic, nor did the state’s highest law enforcement official, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, as of Tuesday.