Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Showdown in Flatbush

The Kolko case involves 20 children who have allegedly been molested by this elementary school rebbe over many years and the teacher was never asked to leave the school.The issue that is somewhat confusing, if not disorienting is the possibility that many other people knew what was going on: teachers, rosh yeshivas, parents and family, friends of parents and family, and on and on, who turned away and refused to step out and confront the situation.

There could have been a thousand people who knew about it all along. Let us divide them into different categories and empathically imagine their situation:

  • The children who were most traumatized said nothing. They tried to forget/repress what happened.
  • The parents who began to protest and attempted to stop the creep, but were bullied by the school machers or dissuaded by various rabbis. After a while, they gave up and looked away. The extent of this racketeering aspect of the case will come out in court.
  • The teachers and other insiders who knew of the situation, but looked away because their livelihood depended on keeping silent. After all, good teaching jobs are not so easy to come by, and there was a wife and children at home.
  • The friends and relatives of the children who kept silent because the parents remained silent. Who were they to step out ahead of the parents? And anyway, did they really know what happened?
  • The parents of the children who did speak up, kept silent because they must have felt that they would further damage their kid if they made a fuss. As I imagine it, they reasoned that their child would be branded as someone who had a traumatic sexual experience, and when the time came, it would be much more difficult for the child to marry. Whistle-blowing would hurt the yichus, the social standing of the child and the family.
  • The children who confessed to their parents kept quiet because their parents told them.

I'll tell you one set of players that have not remained quiet over the years. I'm willing to bet many of these children, psychosomatized their traumas and guilt into physical symptoms. One child couldn't sleep at night, the other was a bed-wetter, a third developed a tickā€¦ Their bodies knew and found a way to give expression to their tragedy.


At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Kolko case involves 20 children who have allegedly been molested...."

Only one person has come forward from many, many years ago. There may be one or two other "john does" as well. Check your facts, please, before hand-wringing.....


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