Mug shot of Lanner
October 20, 1949 |
New Jersey, United States
|Other names||Bernard S. Lanner|
|Criminal penalty||Seven years in prison, paroled for four years|
|Criminal status||On parole|
|Conviction(s)||Child sexual abuse|
In 2000, an investigative series published in The Jewish Week alleged that Lanner had physically and sexually abused young people for decades. Lanner resigned the day after it was published. The story, "Stolen Innocence," later won an award for "meritorious journalism."
An investigation was conducted by the Orthodox Union (OU). The investigating committee, headed by then-Hillel President Richard Joel, spent over $1 million interviewing more than 140 people and issued a 330-page report detailing the abuse. The report alleged that Lanner had physically and emotionally abused dozens of teenagers, including fondling girls and kneeing boys in the groin, and that the abuse had begun in 1970. As a result of the report, the executive vice president of the OU, Rabbi Raphael Butler, resigned. He had been criticized for failing to act on earlier complaints.
Lanner was convicted in 2002 of sexually abusing two teenage girls who attended the religious school where he had been principal, and sentenced to seven years in prison. An appeals court dismissed one of the child endangerment charges in 2005. He was released on parole on January 10, 2008, and will remain on parole for four years.
A 2001 second report commissioned by the OU found that the abuse had been overlooked for decades, despite multiple complaints, and that "profound errors of judgment" had been made, including failures of management. The case has been described as "well-publicized" and a "watershed in the way the Orthodox community addresses sexual abuse".
In 2003, the members of the Beth Din that had investigated Lanner in 1989, Rabbis Mordechai Willig, Yosef Blau and Aaron Levine, apologized to the victims for not acting to stop the abuse. Blau was singled out by Willig for counseling victims over the years.
- Offender Details, accessed via "NJ Dept of Corrections - Offender Details". (Click on "accept"; on the next screen enter "Lanner" and "Baruch" and click on "submit"; on the next screen click on his "sbi number", which is 000652003C.), New Jersey Department of Corrections. Accessed January 17, 2008.
- "World Briefs", The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, September 20, 2002.
- Rosenblatt, Gary. "Stolen Innocence: RABBI BARUCH LANNER, the charismatic magnet of NCSY, was revered in the Orthodox Union youth group, despite longtime reports of abuse of teens.", The Jewish Week, June 23, 2000. Accessed December 7, 2008. "Baruch Lanner is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant, dynamic and charismatic educators in Jewish life today. As director of regions of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth, an arm of the Orthodox Union, the 50-year-old rabbi has been working with and supervising teenagers for more than three decades."
- Smothers, Ronald (October 12, 2002). "Rabbi Convicted of Sexual Abuse Is Freed on Bail Pending Appeal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- "Youth groups react to sex-abuse reports" Herwald, Margi. The Cleveland Jewish News. Cleveland, Ohio: Jun 30, 2000. Vol. 76, Iss. 14; pg. 17
- "Orthodox Union board to vote on report on sex molestation probe;" ELLI WOHLGELERNTER. Jerusalem Post. Jerusalem: Dec 25, 2000. pg. 04
- Jacobs, Andrew. "Orthodox Group Details Accusations That New Jersey Rabbi Abused Teenagers", The New York Times, December 27, 2000. Accessed November 21, 2007.
- "Top O.U. official resigns, but critics say it's not enough", Wiener, Julie. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. New York: Jan 24, 2001. pg. 8
- "Split Ruling On Lanner Appeal" Ain, Stewart. The New York Jewish Week. (Manhattan edition). New York, N.Y.: Feb 18, 2005. Vol. 217, Iss. 39; pg. 1
- Rosenblatt, Gary. "Lanner to be released from jail next week.", The Jewish Week, January 9, 2008. Accessed January 8, 2008
- "A Scandal’s Echo" Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Religion Editor and Julie Wiener, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Jewish Journal, January 5, 2001.
- "Rabbi Expelled Over Sex Abuse Claims", Chanan Tigay, Special to the Baltimore Jewish Times, New York City, April 1, 2005.
- "Lanner Bet Din Rabbi Apologizes: Rabbi Willig says he had `blind spots' over the years, asks for forgiveness." Rosenblatt, Gary. The New York Jewish Week. (Manhattan edition). New York, N.Y.: Feb 28, 2003. Vol. 215, Iss. 39; pg. 8
- "Rabbi Willig Apology Stirs Campus", Avi Robinson, The Commentator (Yeshiva College student newspaper), March 6, 2003