Rabbi Horowitz has over the past two decades become perhaps the best-known figure in the Orthodox community working to combat child abuse. He wrote a child-accessible book for prevention.

Now a US convicted child abuser is suing Rabbi Horowitz for defamation for warning parents in his new Israeli neighborhood against him. as an ongoing danger to children and urging parents to keep watch.

There is no dispute that the plaintiff was convicted of sexual abuse in the second degree in New York in 2009 and that he is registered as a level thee sex offender in the US. Level three is the highest level and means: high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists.

The whole idea about public registers of sex offenders on children is that you can’t say: was caught, was convicted, did time, let’s move on. The chances of repeat are often too great.

I learned that one needs to make a few distinctions:

  • There is a difference between a pedophile and a child molester. Not all pedophiles will molest. But there seems no cure for those who have done so. No, castration does not help. The innocent people who are never attracted to grown-ups are not to be envied and should not be equated to molesters. It should be understood that they should not be close or secluded with kids as one should not leave the fox to watch the geese, but they should also not be degraded.
  • There are molesters of young teenagers and of babies. The former are pedophiles who are only sexually attracted to boys or girls. There is no cure for that heartlessness. The latter do not care about the sex of their victims, abuse male and female babies alike. Their game is using powerless victims. There is no cure for that lack of morality.
  • The vast majority of “sexual” child abusers are men. Yet, women abuse too and are not less destructive. NB: Sexual violence is a type of violence, not of sex.
  • The offense is punishable because in almost all cases it ruins the victims’ lives. That it sometimes doesn’t (grown-up woman and young boy – who rather may feel great about being taken seriously and being his own man already) is a risk the law cannot take. If it’s real love, the grown-up should wait; if it’s just lust, they should keep their hands to themselves too.
  • The idea that most offenders are strangers (Stranger Danger) is obsolete (incest!). Most of them are acquaintances. The most “successful” ones may be married, known as saints or seem perfectly normal.
  • There was a time that child molesters tried to receive credibility by associating themselves with the gay movement as a fellow-sexual variation. Yet, the charade fell through as children’s lives should not be sexualized. Their consent (if at all) is never real valid consent.

The claimant’s lawyer admitted to The Jerusalem Post that his client, “is no saint.” However, he points out that no complaints have been filed in Israel and he has sued Horowitz for what he says are defamatory, unproven and false allegations and exaggerations both about his conviction and about his conduct after that conviction.

This reminds me of the libel case by Holocaust denier David Irving who in Britain in 1996 sued Deborah Lipstadt, a prominent historian, writer and professor, after she called him a liar in one of her books. She won. Sometimes it’s so easy to want a lawsuit to fail.

Whatever the merit of this comparison, how do I think this plaintiff should behave if — for argument’s sake — we’ll say that he’s on a righteous path now?

He should applaud that everyone around him is cautioned against him being close or secluded with youngsters. His level three conviction gives no chance for exaggeration. He should give lectures in his community to parents to never trust child abusers as there is no cure. He should specify that no family should have a guest sleep over who could at night visit the baby’s or children’s room. Being naive here is not a virtue.

That’s if he’s successful in having repented. And a fortiori, if he has not mended his ways, everyone around him should be cautioned against him being close or secluded with youngsters. His level three conviction gives no chance for exaggeration. There should be lectures in his community to parents to never trust child abusers as there is no cure. They should specify that no family should have a guest sleep over who could at night visit the baby’s or children’s room. Being naive here is not a virtue.

The accused, Rabbi Horowitz, is a saint and I hope that the judge — like in the case against Professor Lipstadt — will sing his praisees and convict the plaintiff to such court costs that we’ll never hear from him again.

Get informed, get his book — see here.

Full disclosure: I’ve never been sexually attracted to anyone under 16 and thank G-d for that. I once did have a child molester in therapy. His court-imposed participation in the therapy was a sham. But this supposedly super-religious man did tell me how he abused dozens of youngsters. His conviction never happened because of a computer error and he went straight back to seeking after youngsters, until he was caught again and sent to jail. Last I heard, he was hanging around Jerusalem playgrounds.