New Challenger Seeks to Unseat Six-Term B’klyn DA Charles Hynes
Via The Jewish Voice: Abe George Decries Policy of “Protecting” Child Molesters
A Brooklyn native and longtime public servant, Abe George is ready to serve again, this time as the Brooklyn District Attorney, challenging the 24-year incumbent, Charles Hynes, in the 2013 election.
Living the American dream, George’s parents came to the United States in 1970, and were the first in their respective families not only to make it past middle school, but to become college graduates. His parents both worked at Coney Island Hospital, his mother as a nurse for more than thirty years, and his late father as a Hospital Care Investigator for almost two decades.
Abe George, a product of the New York City public school system, decided to take a cue from his parents and dedicate himself to helping others (you could say it’s a family tradition), in his case by pursuing a legal career in public service. Upon graduating law school, Abe interned at the Manhattan District Attorney office and continued to serve in that office as an Assistant District Attorney for the last eight years.
Two weeks ago, George left the Manhattan DA’s office, to run for Brooklyn District Attorney in 2013, challenging Charles Hynes after 23 years in office. “Hynes’ Politics dominated the DA Office,” he told the Jewish Voice in an exclusive interview this week. “Hynes abused the power of Justice to serve political means. “My election will be about restoring integrity to the office,” he explains.
Hynes, George says, went after all of his political opponents who had the audacity to challenge him. After a short period they all found themselves somehow indicted or declared mentally incompetent as in the case of Judge Philips.This granted him term after term to rule, and run unopposed in 2009.
George stepped forward to challenge Hynes primarily because he felt that the public has lost trust in the DA’s office, since politics dictated the policies thereof, instead of the demands of justice.
Recently, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has come under fire for not vigorously pursuing molestation cases in the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities, a charge Hynes vehemently denies.
The NY Times led the charge claiming, that Mr. Hynes has won election six times as district attorney thanks in part to support from ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who lead growing communities in neighborhoods like Boro Park and Crown Heights. But in recent years, The NYT reported, as allegations of child sexual abuse have shaken the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, victims’ rights groups have expressed concern that he is not vigorously pursuing these cases because of his deep ties to the rabbis.
In 2009, Hynes set up a program Called Kol Tzedek (“Voice of Justice” in Hebrew), to “ensure safety in the community and to fully support those affected by abuse,” his office said. Nonetheless, Mr. Hynes continued declining to publicize the names of defendants prosecuted under the program — even those who were convicted.
“Mr. Hynes policy of protecting pedophiles, by shielding them from public review, only to appease a few people, had to stop,” Mr. George said. “This is policy out of politics, not public safety.”
As an excuse for refusing to identify certain Orthodox Jews charged with sexually abusing children, Mr. Hynes cited the fear of witness intimidation. “I haven’t seen this kind of intimidation in organized-crime cases or police-corruption cases,” Hynes complained.
“To state that the Orthodox community is worse than the Mafia, is just ridiculous,” Mr. George said, frustrated. “If the community is so dangerous, according to Mr. Hynes, then the revised policy of Mr. Hynes, which allows for disclosure on consent of the victim, is inconsistent because then the pedophile knows that it was the victim who agreed to disclose their name, pressure will be even stronger to stop the victim. A policy of full disclosure of the pedophile’s name in all cases allows for the light of day to be shined onto the pedophile to protect the victim from harassment by the pedophile.”
Opposing Mr. Hynes revised policy, which he calls ‘inconsistent,’ Mr. George pointed to law enforcement as best to deal with the situation. “If the defendant’s name is [already on the] public record, once charged in court, we should publicly announce his or her name,” he said. “We are only protecting the abuser, by not disclosing the name. In addition, some victims would never have been reached, unless the offender is exposed, “he explained.
Addressing the unfair hit the entire orthodox community took, following the investigative reports on Mr. Hynes policy, Mr. George noted that everyone realizes there are a few bad apples in the community. The only reason it caught fire and became an issue was because of Mr. Hynes policy, acting in a political way to cover up abuse stories.
When asked how he would address the issue, as part of an election issue, talking to the community and asking for their vote. Mr. George responded, saying he’s convinced that the community will understand that his position is based on what’s best for the victim and for community safety. “I’m willing to talk to anyone, and explain why those names have to be exposed,” he said is his strategy. “People don’t want to protect pedophiles.”
In general, “Hynes has done a terrible job at addressing crimes,” he said. Noting that Brooklyn leads in homicide and shooting since 2005. The Jewish community has been lucky to have experienced low crime rates within the Orthodox neighborhoods, George says, acknowledging and praising the efforts of the volunteer Shomrim security patrol. Still, people should still be concerned and worried about the increase in crime outside the community, he explains, since our children definitely travel outside of the neighborhoods for events or educational training. George pledges that if elected, he will work more closely with the police department to refine the city’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy.
“While ‘stop-and-frisk’ is very important, we need to adopt a proactive solution that respects the individual while protecting the city,” he said. “It’s wrong to have people stopped without reasonable