Editorial Board, The Jewish Press
November 21, 2007
As is being widely reported, longtime fugitive from justice Avohom Mondrowitz has been detained in Israel in anticipation of his extradition to the United States to answer to charges of sexual abuse that were lodged against him 22 years ago.
According to the Israeli court decision ordering his detention, Mr. Mondrowitz fled to Israel following his indictment in New York in 1985 on eight counts of child abuse and five counts of sodomy involving five boys ages 9 to 15. The court decision notes that because Israeli extradition law was recently revised, Mr. Mondrowitz can now be extradited to New York to stand trial on the charges for which he was indicted.
Though there are questions as to whether the statute of limitations has run on the charges, his detention and probable extradition are all to the good. The charges lodged against him were of the most horrific nature, and it is inconceivable that he should not be required to answer for them in a court of law.
Due, however, to the apparent disinclination to come forward on the part of the parents of Mr. Mondrowitz's alleged Orthodox Jewish victims, he was indicted in 1985 only in connection with the charges made by the parents of non-Jewish children. Thus, even if the statute of limitations is ruled not to have run out and he is made to stand trial in connection with those charges, it does not necessarily mean any indictments can now be presented against him involving yeshiva youngsters.
We can't think of a more powerful argument for the necessity of a new, more honest approach to the very real problem of pedophilia and abuse in the Orthodox community. We must avail ourselves of all legitimate resources - which would include intra-community counseling as well as unhesitating resort to secular law-enforcement authorities. Our children deserve no less.