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Brooklyn DA Forming Task Force After Facing Criticism Over Handling Of Child Sex Abuse Cases

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes spoke out Wednesday on the controversy over his handling of child sex abuses cases in Hasidic and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.

Under the suggestion of former Mayor Ed Koch, Hynes is putting together a task force Friday to address witness intimidation issues in sex crime cases in the communities. However, Hynes warned the task force will come up against the challenges of this insular community.

"When someone is intimidated to the point where they will not proceed with a criminal case, it's always almost unlikely that they'll ever help us with an intimidation case," Hynes said.

CBS 2's Chris Wragge asked the district attorney why it took an outsider to come up with the plan.

"Do you want the honest answer? Do you want the honest answer?  I hadn't thought about it," Hynes quipped.

Hynes also backed away from the tacit support he had given to the demand by Hasidic leaders that allegations of sexual abuse first be reported to a rabbi, warning a major rabbinical leader of possible consequences.

"What you're doing is putting rabbis at risk, because one or more of them are going to make the mistake of committing a crime by intimidating witnesses and they could end up in handcuffs," Hynes said.

1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reports


Hynes has also proposed legislation that would make it mandatory for religious representatives to report sex abuse cases to the authorities.

The district attorney has continued to defend his decision not to release the names of the alleged abusers, saying it could identify victims.

"For 18 years every time we identified a defendant in a criminal case the victim was almost immediately discovered by this relentless community," Hynes said, adding that his aim is to prosecute those who intimidate and harass those involved in sex abuse cases.

Earlier this week, Hynes released an expanded report on the nearly 100 members of the city's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community who have been investigated for alleged sex crimes.

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