It is no secret that Rabbi Matt Tropp's job as director of the largest region in the country of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) was on the line following allegations of teen abuse by Rabbi Baruch Lanner two years ago. Not only had Rabbi Tropp long called Rabbi Lanner his rebbe and mentor, but he was considered his "hatchet man," according to several former NCSY members.
Freehold, N.J.: Marcie Lenk's first response on hearing of the guilty verdict last Thursday in the trial of her former mentor, Rabbi Baruch Lanner, on child sexual abuse charges was a sense of relief.
Lenk, a 36-year-old Ph.D. candidate in religion at Harvard University, has been part of an informal network of former National Conference of Synagogue Youth members who have been struggling for many years to convince Orthodox authorities to prevent the 52-year-old Rabbi Lanner from having any contact with children.
They still don't get it. That's what some critics are saying this week about the Orthodox Union's official "it's not us" reaction to the sex abuse conviction of its former national youth leader, Rabbi Baruch Lanner.
The rabbi, 52, a longtime senior official at the OU's National Conference of Synagogue Youth, was convicted last Thursday on six counts of sexual abuse of two teenage girls in the mid-1990s. The girls were students at the New Jersey yeshiva high school Rabbi Lanner served as principal, as well as members of the NCSY Etz Chaim chapter he led for many years.