FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)
During the short history of this organization, Jewish Community Watch (JCW) has received many questions. JCW has compiled this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) as a way to help people better understand JCW, our mission, and our process. If you have a question that you feel should be listed here, please contact us with any proposal that be appropriate to include.
Yes, as a 501c3 JCW must and does have a board. You can see the board members here on our website. JCW also has a larger board of advisors, which is made up of professionals in relevant fields who we frequently call for advice on various cases and projects. Some of them are extensively involved, some less so. You can see them here. You can also always find our board of directors listed on Sunbiz here.
JCW supports and identifies with members of the Jewish community, the victims, their respective families, and the public, particularly those vigilant about keeping their children safe. JCW’s commitment is, and will always be, to tell the truth. We have turned down money from those that wanted to donate, but at the same time, wanted to negatively impact the community. Similarly, JCW has turned down money from those that wanted to donate but desired to keep certain names from being exposed. JCW is built on a foundation of EMES (truth). We will always stay vigilant but neutral, with a focus on the truth and protecting our children.
No. In fact, those involved with JCW work with the intention of improving the Frum world. As an organization, we feel that every community has its issues and as members of the community we are responsible to protect those that are the most vulnerable. We take every precaution to not bring stories to the media or other outlets that have demonstrated an intentionally negative association with the Frum world in the past. However, there is no doubt that the benefit of publication and exposure of potential threats to the community outweighs the potential risk associated with the same measures.
On the contrary, the work we do is a Kiddush Hashem because it shows the world that we have the moral fortitude to bring honesty and safety to our community. When the rest of the world sees that the Orthodox Jewish community is acknowledging its issues and taking a moral and just position against danger, standing together with those that have been hurt, this causes our community to be a light unto the other nations and brings a true Kiddush Hashem.
Moreover, to pretend a problem does not exist while people are getting hurt is dishonest, deceitful, and cannot in any way glorify Hashem’s name. We must band together as a community and protect individuals that have been harmed and those that have the potential to be harmed. We are responsible for one another. Indeed, making certain difficult choices is absolutely necessary in order to prevent future harm towards our children, and violations of the Holy Torah, Chas Vesholom.
The responsibility for the pain of the family members of the abusers falls upon the abuser. The person that abused the child is fully responsible for the repercussions that his/her family faces. Hiding behind one’s own family, innocent victims, and blaming the pain they suffer on JCW, is not much different than the Hamas tactic of hiding behind human shields and then blaming the State of Israel for the casualties. In fact, at JCW, we consider the family of the abuser to be “secondary victims” and offer support to them when they reach out to us.
Yes. We feel horrible for every victim of sexual abuse because, unfortunately, the families of the abusers are also victims of the abuser. They are considered secondary victims of the abuser and also suffer from the abusers actions, forced to pay a price for the actions of their family member. For more information on secondary abuse, please see our Educational Section.
No one elected JCW nor was this organization appointed by any authority. Our objective is to collect information in a responsible way and to then deliver it to the public. This is only when the information serves the specific goal of protecting the public.
JCW is simply trying to warn the community of possible threats and allow parents to make choices for themselves about who is or isn’t a danger to their children. Thus, posting someone on the Wall of Shame is hardly acting as a judge, jury, and executioner. Offenders deserve far more than just having their picture on a website.
No. JCW conducts a thorough investigation, consults with its Board of Advisors (to assist on Torah, psychological, rabbinical, legal, and other issues), and consults with outside professionals concerning possible issues that may occur, including the impact it will have on the victims and their families. After the investigation is complete and a course of action is established by the advisors, the case is presented to the Investigative Committee, who reviews the case and all attending documentations, and presents a decision on the matter. You can read more about the investigative and exposure process here.
Yes, to the highest degree of responsible certainty. Hundreds of cases were brought to JCW’s attention for review, but only a small percentage of those cases resulted in exposure of the offender. JCW conducts extensive investigations and would never rely upon the suggestions of mere allegations or hearsay.
No, that is not an option. We have never accepted money on this condition and never will.
Yes, it is true that an individual was posted on the Wall of Shame as an offender and was later removed, however, it was not a case of someone being wrongfully or mistakenly exposed.
JCW received complaints regarding the individual from community members in Crown Heights that raised red flags. Subsequently, and with no relation to any information gathered by JCW, the same individual was arrested by the NYPD, and charged with sexually abusing a child. In line with JCW’s policy of warning the community of potential danger to its children, and with Rabbinical consent, JCW exposed the person. Later, when the charges brought by the State were dismissed, JCW removed the person’s information from the site, because JCW did not have enough independent information to maintain the exposure, and it appeared from the dismissal by the State that the allegations were unsubstantiated.
Yes, in some circumstances there are measures that can be taken. Such measures would be considered during the evaluation by JCW when deciding whether an offender should be posted on JCW.
The concept of Teshuva is very complex and is discussed by most Halachic authorities and Chassidic leaders. Teshuva does not just mean feeling bad for what you did and asking Hashem for forgiveness. Teshuva also requires a variety of factors, including making a public acknowledgement of wrongdoings, paying restitution to your victims, and taking every precaution to avoid ever repeating the offense again. If an abuser is concerned that JCW may one day find out about their crime and expose them, they should do everything in their power to rectify the damage they have done, seek therapy for themselves, and deal with their perversion.
Taking the following actions could lead to an offender not to be posted on the site, provided it was done before they are caught:
Yes, there are cases that would be reconsidered after time, but it is not a common practice. Each case will be determined individually by our board, focusing on the nature of the crime, the manner in which the perpetrator operated and groomed the victims, the impact the abuse had on the victims, the potential threat to the community, the actions taken by the perpetrator to repent for the crime, and other relevant information.
No. The Wall of Shame is a dynamic site based on the current threats to the community. One purpose of it serves to warn parents and the community of potential dangers. As a result, a situation may change and cause a reevaluation of an exposed perpetrator by the Investigative Committee. If, however, a person is wrongfully posted, JCW will issue a formal and public apology detailing the mistake.
Yes. There have been instances where the JCW board chose not to expose individuals. Some examples include:
Regardless, JCW maintains that all cases should be reported to the police and/or other law enforcement. Reporting the abuse may assist the police in getting corroborating evidence or other information to aid another case.
No, when the evidence is not reliable enough to be verified responsibly, JCW would not post information about the alleged offender on the site or in any public forum.
The person’s information would be removed from the site and JCW would post an apology.
The procedure and regulations that JCW has in place makes it virtually impossible for this to happen. In the unlikely scenario that this does happen, JCW will report that the person was innocent and he/she will be removed from the Wall of Shame and the newsblog. If there was a JCW investigation and it was determined that false testimony was provided, JCW will expose the people who lied and their accomplices. JCW will also write a public letter of apology to the innocent person and assist the wrongfully accused in any way possible.
In some incidents we may contact the abuser in order to give him/her a chance to explain what happened. In cases where there is evidence for arrest and conviction, we leave it for the police to decide what to do.
Yes, but none of these false cases resulted in a mistaken exposure because JCW investigated the claims and tracked down the truth. In one instance, a blog was created and a person was brought to JCW’s attention. JCW investigated the case and, realizing that the blog was offering information that was untrue, JCW tracked down the blog sources and had it removed. There have also been other scenarios where a thorough investigation determined that accusations were false. No publicity was drawn to those cases by JCW. In the former case, since the public was completely unaware of this incident, our Board chose to not draw unnecessary attention to the issue and expose it publicly. The perpetrator of this falsehood was confronted and he apologized for his actions.
If it is revealed to JCW that someone made false accusations in an attempt to destroy an innocent person’s life, JCW will take all corrective measures to bring justice to the matter and the specifics steps of how to proceed will be decided and voted upon by JCW’s board.
JCW is not bound by the rights provided to offenders by the Criminal Justice System. JCW will seek to protect children in the community even in situations where the offender somehow circumvented prosecution.
The most common example of this is in cases where the Statute of Limitation (SOL) has expired, shielding the offender from prosecution. The SOL requires a victim to come forward with accusations shortly after they become adults. While many states have changed this, some states still maintain short SOL’s (NY, for example, has a 3 year SOL for misdemeanors, 5 year SOL for felonies). Most victims are unprepared to talk about their abuse until many years after the crime was committed. Consequently, victims are denied justice for an incident that occurred while they were young.
Likewise, a victim may be dissuaded from reporting an offense because they feel that there is a stigma and shame associated with being known as a victim or because they don’t want to feel pressure from the community or from the predator’s supporters. In these cases, JCW provides an outlet for these victims while taking the opportunity to warn the community of the danger in its midst.
Even though we go through an extremely lengthy and thorough investigative process before a predator is exposed as a danger to the community, we use the word “alleged” in order to protect ourselves from frivolous lawsuits.
It depends. If the person is deemed an active threat to children (e.g. he/she works with children), we will expose the abuser with or without the victim’s consent in order to keep the community safe. JCW’s primary mission is to educate and protect the public.
JCW encourages all victims to report their incident to the police and make a police report of the incident. In several cases, JCW was instrumental in getting individuals arrested, charged, and convicted for the abuse they committed.
Additionally, JCW encourages all victims to seek appropriate restitution from the offender. However, in both scenarios, it is not JCW’s mission or duty to assist in the legal proceedings.
According to many leading rabbanim, if you know that someone is an abuser you must report him.
Check out our Investigative Process tab, to understand our process for when someone reaches out to us.
If you are a mandated reporter, you must immediately report your suspicions to law enforcement. If you are not a mandated reporter, we still advocate that every case should be reported to the police. Additionally and separately, you should consider reporting this to JCW or another similar organization that can assist in guiding both you and the victims.
JCW does everything in its power to maintain the confidentiality of reporting parties, victims, and their family members. However, JCW will share some information with its Board of Advisors and other internal parties in order to evaluate and consider a course of action.
Reporting a crime may save a life or another person from being harmed. The police often have records or other information unknown to the public and may be waiting on another victim to corroborate with another reported event. Additionally, since molesters are recidivist, there is a good chance that your case against the abuser is not the first, nor will it be the last.
In order to arrest someone, the police have to have sufficient probable cause that the person committed the accused crimes. Additionally, in order for the District Attorney to file charges, it is necessary to provide sufficient evidence, proving the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. A DA is typically not allowed to file charges against someone if the entirety of the evidence is only “he said / she said”, requiring additional evidence, including corroborating circumstantial evidence.
Yes, mental health professionals believe that a crucial part of the healing process is connecting with others who have had similar experiences. JCW therefore tries to connect survivors with others in their area in order to enhance recovery. In the future, JCW plans to create support groups as well.
Yes. A victim’s health is a top priority for JCW. We will assist any victim of child sexual abuse within our community with finding a therapist.
JCW has a strict policy to never to give out the information of any victim (or their families/supporters) to anyone. Every person involved in JCW is required to sign a comprehensive nondisclosure agreement, guaranteeing that they will not disclose information unless it is with consent or it is absolutely necessary to save a life.
Go to the Get Help page of our website
No. JCW is committed and focused on child sexual abuse. While we empathize with other forms of abuse, our expertise lies in this area.
Never force a victim to come forward and talk. Be there for them and let them know that you’re there to listen if they feel ready to talk about their abuse. Let them know that there are other victims that have gone through the same things and that they can reach out to organizations like JCW for help, who won’t judge them. See our Get Help section for more information.
The resource section of the Get Help page has links that can help someone looking for treatment. We realize that those who commit these acts, while in no way justified, often have powerful and difficult urges to control and we have the utmost respect for those who seek to undergo treatment and recovery. If the resource section is not adequate for your needs, we ask that you contact us and we will do our best to get you the proper support.
Yes, treatment does help, but there is no cure. Similar to the recovery of addictions, it remains a constant struggle and battle.
There are members in the community that either maintain a myopic approach to these issues, desire minimal exposure of any negativity to the community, don’t understand or believe the issue in its entirety, or don’t feel that sexual abuse is a big deal. JCW will continue to respond to this and drive the narrative and dialogue by bringing injustices to light and by providing justice to those wronged.
As well, family members of abusers have been known to use various public forums to spread false and inflammatory information about JCW, in an effort to discredit the organisation and by extension, protect their family member.
Last, sometimes people may support JCW’s mission, but have criticism of some of JCW’s methods and/or issues JCW has had in the past. We see this kind of criticism as potentially constructive and helpful to us as we seek to improve and better the services we provide to our community, and invite anyone with any kind of feedback to reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
As mentioned above, when JCW first started there were very few people involved. Even once the organisation began formally, it was just Meyer and one other staff member. JCW is the first organisation in the Jewish community to address CSA in as public a way as we do, and from it’s inception has always been inundated with cases beyond our capacity.
We know what it takes to gather the courage to reach out to JCW and talk about your abuse, and know how terrible it can be to not get a response.
For that reason, we restructured our intake process and hired an intake and assessments coordinator, whose entire job is to be the first contact at JCW, conduct initial intakes, and make sure people get to the right department. This is the first time we have had such a position in JCW, someone whose entire job is to make sure every call and email gets answered. She has also been going through old emails and reaching out to people who we may have not replied to. So if you contacted JCW years ago and no one ever responded, don’t be surprised if you hear from her at some point soon.
There are a couple things that person might be referring to.
As most of our followers are well aware, the CEO that JCW brought on a couple years was arrested in 2016 for embezzling money from the organisation. JCW shared this information immediately after the arrest because the board of directors felt it so important to be transparent with our supporters and followers. Unfortunately, a large amount of the money that was stolen was designated for therapy bills.
Since then, we have slowly been paying the therapy bills, though it is taking quite a while. We know how difficult this has been for many therapists and the survivors who are their clients, and we are truly sorry about it.
We will continue to seek advice from professionals in the areas that need improvement as well as listen to our supporters and our critics in an effort to enhance our organization. We continue to strive for improved transparency, providing monthly status reports and P&L’s to the board of directors.
The family members of abusers are secondary victims and should therefore be treated with equal respect and dignity offered to any other individual.
In the past, many rabbis were unaware of the horrific consequences of abuse to a victim and his/her family. We are optimistic that if they are educated on these issues and understand the damage wrought, they will change their positions. If, however, a Rabbi is unwilling to change his ways and continuously engages in cover-ups, we will inform the community of his actions. Rav Tauber, Shlita, says that if you know of a molester and don’t do anything to stop the abuse it is as if you molested the child yourself.
JCW is a 501(c)(3) organization that can provide tax receipts to anyone that made a donation. Donations are tax deductible.
JCW is an international organization. We currently have ongoing investigations for crimes in several states and countries.
Public support, both vocal and financial, are important to the survival of JCW and its ability to continue to operate. You can encourage your rabbi to get involved with JCW, create awareness of the issue by having community meetings, conduct training sessions, or simply be vigilant of potential threats. Also, JCW is trying to organize volunteers to assist on specific projects (keeping in mind that much of JCW’s information is highly sensitive and private).