NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A New York prosecutor says he wants Orthodox Jews to report pedophiles despite a tradition of keeping some criminal matters within the close-knit community.
Agudath Israel of America, a prominent body of Torah sages, mandates anyone with knowledge of sex abuse at the hand of a fellow observant Jew to first report it to rabbis, who then decide whether the case should go to secular authorities.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes' Project Kol Tzedek, Hebrew for "voice of justice," is trying to alter the paradigm as in the case of Andrew Goodman, 27, who has been charged with 144 counts of sexually abusing two Orthodox boys from Flatbush -- one from 11 to 15 years old, the other 13 to 16, the New York Post reported Sunday.
He has pleaded not guilty to the allegations, which date to 2006 and include child pornography, recording sex acts via Web cam and threatening the life of one boy, who reported him to authorities.
Community consider Goodman is a monster, and that clear-cut moral judgment makes it easier to want to see him locked up as a menace, the Post said.
"Andrew Goodman is known in our community as a lifelong molester who preys on young boys and ruins their lives," a Talmudic scholar at Congregation Bais Torah wrote to Brooklyn Judge Martin Murphy, who is hearing the case.
Goodman was arrested July 2010 and freed on $10,000 bail to return to the home in which he lived with his adopted parents and sister. However, after community members made a surveillance tape of teens leaving Goodman's house during early-morning hours, a judge raised his bail to $1 million.
Izzy Fried, Goodman's lawyer, said his client would fight the charges.
"These were not forceful -- no one was held against their will," Fried told DiMango.