Recently, the New York Post and the Jewish Forward reported on an Orthodox yeshiva in Brooklyn that agreed to pay $2.1 million in a child sexual abuse settlement. The case involved Rabbi Joel Kolko, a senior rabbi, who was charged with molesting two boys at the Jewish day school. This was not the first time that charges had been made against this rabbi—they have been going on for 25 years.
Rabbi Kolko is quite unlike most of the priests accused of abusing minors. In the case of priests, almost all of the abusers were homosexuals: 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent were postpubescent. In the case of Rabbi Kolko, he started molesting the boys when they were six-years-old. He is a true pedophile.
The other two New York newspapers, the Daily News and the New York Times, are both known for their fixation on priestly sexual abuse, and for their hard-hitting editorials on this subject. Indeed, just the previous month, the Daily News had run a story on a Bronx priest accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy 30 years ago. The month before that, the New York Times ran a story about a teenage boy at Fordham Prep who was allegedly abused by a lay teacher 32 years ago.
Yet at first, neither newspaper reported on the Rabbi Kolko story, in which millions of dollars were paid out in a settlement—in 2016—in a case involving a pedophile rabbi. We took them both to task.
The following day, however, the Daily News offered a responsible rejoinder. It conceded that it “blew it,” explaining that it “sometimes misses stories.” Fair enough. It then contended that it covers the sexual abuse of minors whenever and wherever it occurs. It also defended itself against charges of anti-Catholicism, providing some examples of its fairness.
Unlike the Daily News, the New York Times has not explained why it did not cover the story about Rabbi Kolko. While we believe that the absence of a story in the Daily News was indeed an error, we do not believe that the Times erred.
The reasoned response by the Daily News was much appreciated, and we let them know it.