JCW has a reputation of being a safe and supportive place for victims, who often turn to JCW in order to maintain their anonymity, to supplement other resources they are receiving, or when they are not comfortable going anywhere else. JCW’s intention is not to supplant or replace police or other governmental investigative agencies, rather, to complement and/or assist them whenever possible.
For various reasons, a police report may not be possible (such as in cases where the local SOL has expired), or a report may be generated with no further actions taken, or a victim and/or their family may choose to not make any official governmental report. (This would be in situations in which the individuals involved in the case are not mandated reporters, and/or the particulars of the case do not mandate reporting).
If an official police investigation is taking place, JCW will not interfere with the process, and will only offer assistance (such as accompanying the victim to make a report, or to court).
In the event that a victim cannot make a report, chooses not to make an official report, or a report is made and no official investigation is underway, JCW will generate its own case and proceed into an investigation. In many cases, JCW was (and will be) able to assist law enforcement in pursuing and arresting abusers that have otherwise escaped justice.
Intake agents are JCW employees who are trained to work with victims of abuse. An intake agent is the initial point of contact for all victims and other individuals who contact JCW with information about an abuse incident. When JCW becomes aware that a child is currently in danger and needs immediate protection, Child Protective Services and/or the police are immediately called. In all cases, even when there is no active danger, JCW staff members will encourage the victim to report the crime directly to their local police department without delay, and without the intervention or mediation of a Rabbi, community leader, or any other individual. This applies whether the crime occurred within or beyond the applicable statute of limitations.
The intake agent’s next priority is to assess the victim’s urgent needs based on their current situation and mental state. If the victim needs or requests any kind of support, whether therapeutic or from a peer, they are referred to a member of our mental health staff (ie case manager). The case manager works to provide the victim with the appropriate resources, and to connect them directly with whichever professionals, groups, or services that will provide the victim with the necessary care and support.
Once the victim’s urgent needs have been met and a plan is in place to meet their long-term needs, the intake agent will initiate the JCW investigative process at the victim’s discretion. (Again, this discretion is limited to non-urgent scenarios). An initial interview and preliminary research and fact-checking is conducted. The case is then handed over to our investigative team.
Of important note: If there is an immediate emergency or concern regarding the perpetrator, JCW will notify the victim that the police will be notified. Additionally, if the reporting party is a minor, actively being abused, all JCW staff will report in the same manner as a mandated-reporter.
Once a case proceeds past intake and on to the investigative stage, JCW assigns an investigator, who utilizes a wide array of investigative techniques to develop the case and collect evidence, including basic research, background checks, collection and analysis of physical evidence and records, and various forms of surveillance. The investigator may also interview and take statements from victims, witnesses, and others of interest to the investigation.
As mentioned, in all cases, JCW encourages all victims to make a report to the police and pursue criminal prosecution of the alleged abuser. In many cases, information and evidence obtained by JCW is provided to law enforcement in order to aid in their investigation and prosecution of a suspected offender. JCW investigators routinely liaise with police sex crimes units, district attorneys, and the FBI.
JCW has always had a board of directors and advisors. Every case, other than those matters of public record or where the perpetrator has been convicted of a sex-related offense, our board thoroughly reviewed the evidence and issued a unanimous recommendation whether to expose information regarding the alleged predator.
Before warning the public of a suspected offender, JCW conducts a thorough case review before an Investigative Committee (IC) consisting of seven members whose identities are known only to members of JCW’s board of directors and board of advisors. JCW’s founder and co-founder are not among the members of the IC. Any JCW board member is authorized to confirm the following facts: (a) That this plan accurately describes the member’s understanding of JCW’s policy, (b) that the member possesses a current listing of the seven investigative committee members, (c) that to the best of the member’s knowledge, each of the seven IC members is a credentialed, experienced professional in a relevant field, with at least 15 years of experience in their respective fields, and has significant expertise and experience with CSA. Board members are not authorized to confirm or deny their own or any other member’s membership on the IC.
During a case review, a director presents a summary of the case history and background, the investigation, its discoveries, and his own conclusions. The Committee is provided with copies of the case files and any evidence exhibits. The names of victims and any identifying information are redacted to protect their privacy, and the name of the alleged abuser is redacted to avoid any potential for bias. Additionally, if necessary victims are made available to the Committee for interviews. A unanimous recommendation of the seven-member investigative committee is required in order to place an individual on the Wall of Shame. If the recommendation is not unanimous, the investigation is closed unless and until new evidence comes to light.
If an individual has been arrested, charged or convicted with sexual abuse, the existing public record of their charges (including the case’s current status and disposition) may be posted to the JCW website within the blog/news area without a case review or unanimous vote of the IC. The IC only votes on placing individuals on the Wall of Shame.