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.
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.
Declaring that he is “not a monster” and acknowledging errors in judgment — but stopping short of apologizing to the girls he sexually abused — Rabbi Baruch Lanner was sentenced last week to seven years in a New Jersey state prison.
Rabbi Lanner, 52, once one of America’s most prominent Modern Orthodox youth leaders, was taken away in handcuffs Friday from the Monmouth County courtroom in Freehold, N.J., after delivering an emotional plea for mercy that invoked the Holocaust, God and his grandchild.