Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Statement From Rabbi Lesches

The following is the complete statement from Rabbi Boruch D. Lesches in response to recent media reports about him.

I would like to inform the public that statements I made in a private telephone conversation have been spliced and twisted to present opinions that are not my own and are offensive to members of the greater public.

I would like to make my position absolutely clear: Without any reservation, I endorse the rabbinical rulings encouraging victims of abuse to report to the police.

I was saddened to see an edited audio clip released by the Australian media regarding the personal phone conversation I had with an alleged victim of child abuse. I am troubled by the unprofessional conduct of the reporter who did not call me to verify the facts. Had he called me, I’m sure the information I would have provided would have produced a dramatically different article.

As I clearly told the caller in a subsequent phone conversation: I had no knowledge of the alleged assault claimed to have occurred some twenty-five years ago and discussed in the news report.

In the conversation, I was discussing a separate incident concerning inappropriate sexual conversations where I was under the impression that both alleged parties were similar in age, twenty-one years old.  I was never informed of any allegations involving minors prior to this call.

In retrospect I am shocked to hear of these allegations, because I often entrusted my own young children to the care of the alleged perpetrator, without hesitation. I would never have done so had I known of these allegations.

I am firmly committed to doing everything necessary to eradicate child abuse in all communities. If the caller had mentioned present abuse, I would have advised him to contact the proper legal authorities.

In my present community, where I am the Rabbi, there is no reticence to contact the police. We do not hide from or cover up criminal behavior. In our schools this is a known fact, and one of the reasons we, may G-d protect us, have to date not been afflicted with the evil disease of child sexual abuse.

Baruch Dov Lesches
June 23, 2013

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