In jurisdictional jungle, where does the buck stop in misconduct cases?

By Richard Greenberg

Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), January 2007

American Judaism is not a monolith, and that may have implications in the fight against clergy sexual abuse. On one hand, the mainstream rabbinic organizations have established in-house panels to handle cases of suspected sexual misconduct and other ethics violations by their members. On the other hand, Judaism is highly decentralized, which means individual congregations are largely free to decide how to police themselves in this area. Consequently there is no guarantee that misconduct cases arising at the synagogue level will find their way to the ethics committees' dockets. Even so, several sources said they were confident that serious cases would probably be brought to the attention of denominational-level officials, or the police if necessary. Whether or not that is actually the case, reactions varied widely to the notion of congregants deciding a sexual misconduct case involving their own rabbi. That uncomfortable prospect was one of several examined by JTA in this three-month-long investigation of policies that have been drawn up over the past several years to rein in rogue rabbis and others who sexually exploit congregants, students or others.

Topic: Morality, Congregations and Synagogues, Sexual Harassment, Policy, Justice, Ethics, Abuse, Law, Crime, Religious Denominations, Clergy, Synagogues and Congregations

Name of Publication: Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) Investigative Series: Reining in Abuse

Editor: Greenberg, Richard , Meyer, Eugene L.

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Greenberg, Richard. In jurisdictional jungle, where does the buck stop in misconduct cases?. Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) Investigative Series: Reining in Abuse. Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). January 2007:


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