Forward Thinking

The Brooklyn D.A. Stonewalls

By Paul Berger

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes

Three weeks ago, the Forward published a story about the dramatic increase in arrests of Orthodox men for child sexual abuse in Brooklyn. The figure that the Forward published — 89 men arrested and charged between October 2009 and October 2011 — was given to this newspaper during two separate conversations with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s spokesman Jerry Schmetterer in early November. When the Forward asked for written confirmation, Schmetterer responded by e-mail: “We are not prepared to discuss this at this time. Perhaps towards the end of November.”

Well, November has come and gone and District Attorney Charles Hynes’s office continues to avoid confirming the number or to answer related questions.

The Forward has requested the names of the 89 Orthodox men who were arrested and the crimes they were charged with. It has also asked the DA to explain the reason behind the startling rise in arrests.

During the previous two years — October 2007 to October 2009 — the DA arrested and charged 26 Orthodox men with sexual abuse. At the time, a D.A. spokesman said these arrests included “some cases” that involved adult victims. Prior to that, the frequency of arrests was much lower.

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