Assemblyman won't take part in rabbi sex abuse case

BOROUGH PARK - State Assemblyman Dov Hikind refused to release information he has about potential sexual abuse victims in the Orthodox Jewish community Friday.

Hikind was issued a subpoena earlier this week by Manhattan lawyer Michael Dowd, who represents two Jewish students he says were abused by Brooklyn Rabbi Yehuda Kolko.

Dowd believes Hikind has heard from other victims of abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community who could corroborate the claims of his clients about Kolko. Kolko was charged with sexual assault in 2006 and took a plea deal.

The students are suing the yeshiva for failing to protect them from Kolko?s abuse.

Hikind says many members of the Orthodox community confide in him about sexual abuse and other situations that are taboo among other Orthodox Jews and that they would never speak out about to police for fear they might be ostracized by their families and friends. He has refused to say if any of the alleged victims mentioned Kolko.

Hikind says he realized the magnitude of the sexual abuse problem within the Orthodox community after doing radio shows about it a few months ago. He hopes to use the information he has gathered from alleged victims for a larger project to launch in February that will provide the community with education about abuse and methods of prevention.

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