Recently, in the states, there has been a frum Jew convicted for supposedly abusing a women while she was a teenager. Supporters of the convicted Jew keep repeating that he wasn’t convicted according to proper witnesses or evidence according to the Torah and even if he was a pervert the Torah doesn’t provide for imprisonment – especially life imprisonment. In a case, where a women/man claims she/he was abused, can this information be told to secular authorities in order to protect society? Is this ok even if the secular courts may punish the alleged abuser not according to beis din law

Answer:

When a person is suspected of child abuse, and there are clear indications that there are grounds for the suspicion, the authorities should be involved.

It is true that the police and courts don’t conduct themselves according to Torah law. But if we will follow Torah law, and therefore ignore all testimonies of women and children, we won’t be able to protect our women and children from the dangers of abuse. The Ran (Derush 11) and Rashba (Vol. 3, no. 393) already write that this is the reason why we need the law of the land (they discuss the Law of the King) to complement Torah law.

Moreover, we know from long and unfortunate experience that beis din doesn’t have the capacity to deal with abusive people, and the maximum we can do is to get them thrown out of the mosad they work in. They then move location, and find employment in a different mosad, and continue (chas ve-shalom) abusing.

Therefore, as a general rule the authorities must be informed. Under such circumstances there is no concern for the prohibition of mesirah (in addition, the Aruch Ha-Shulchan writes that the prohibition does not apply for civilized and fair judicial systems).

Having said this, it is important to evaluate each case carefully on its individual merits.

Best wishes.

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