Conservative movement finds ‘highly sexualized culture’ in youth programming

The Conservative motion released a report Wednesday examining extra than 7 a long time of sexual abuse and misconduct inside of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the denomination’s umbrella firm, and United Synagogue Youth, its youth wing.

Sarah Worley, an unbiased attorney, identified 40 victims of sexual abuse or misconduct, together with “inappropriate sexual get hold of, grooming, and/or boundary-crossing behavior,” according to her 20-webpage report, which was despatched out to some Conservative motion associates and posted on-line.

“We are heartbroken by these accounts and sense deep sorrow that any unique may well have endured,” Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, main government of the USCJ, reported in a assertion on the organization’s web-site. “Among the a lot of tens of hundreds of Jewish teenagers that have appreciated their expertise in USY over the several years without having incident, any report of misconduct or abuse is a single much too lots of, and every single 1 is unquestionably worthy of our focus and empathy.”

Worley discovered that no grownup accused of sexual misconduct in her report was currently connected with the movement, and that all these persons have been barred from taking part in potential actions.

The misconduct outlined in the report, most of which transpired in the increased New York Town location, which includes an grownup workers member in the 1980s who threatened to blackmail a teenager with a “graphic photograph” whilst at camp. In 1990s, an grownup employees member allegedly sexually assaulted multiple teens on a USY journey. An grownup workers member inspired teenagers to have interaction in group masturbation repeatedly all through the 1990s and 2000s. And the 2010s introduced additional reports of sexual assault, and of an grownup employees member “displaying intercourse toys and disseminating graphic video” to a teenager at a USY party.

The report stated that “Ms. Worley documented that several sufferer/survivors and other folks who achieved out to her complained of an extremely sexualized culture within USY.”

Nonetheless, Worley “did not find evidence of systemic or popular abuse beyond the personal incidents noted,” in accordance to the report, which Worley did not publish but authorised, in accordance to the USCJ.

The Conservative movement investigation and general public report follows a comparable enterprise by the Reform movement, which published 3 studies — a person covering the Union for Reform Judaism and NFTY, its youth wing yet another for Hebrew Union Higher education-Jewish Institute of Religion, its seminary and a ultimate one from the Central Convention of American Rabbis, its rabbinical organization — previous 12 months.