Today, Tablet Magazine published an article by Menachem Kaiser called Panic in Jerusalem. Kaiser did not find much evidence of molestation, and notes that the case is similar to others in which large numbers of children made accusations that turned out to be false:
This history is relevant because, to borrow Lanning’s (an FBI expert’s) term, a multi-dimensional sex ring has never once been substantiated. Never, despite the enormity of the crimes in question, and despite the numbers of times they’ve been alleged, has any independently corroborated evidence been found. Many of the children who testified in these cases have, as adults, recanted their testimonies, and courts have, over the years, turned over convictions that were based purely on children’s testimonies. In the most famous of these cases—the McMartin preschool trial in California, which ran from 1984 through 1990 and in which more than 350 children claimed they had been abused at their daycare center—every single allegation was thrown out.
The idea that there was a ring of pedophiles seemed fantastical to me, but the news reported initial evidence of molestation. According to the article, even that might be in question.
The article concludes with a quote by Lanning:
“One of the real tragedies of these cases is that once contamination takes place, you can’t undo it,” said Lanning. And it is clear that the case in Nahlaot has been contaminated—in other words, the facts can no longer be reliably determined—whether by the parents, whom police say are at fault for asking their children leading questions, or the police, whom the community says provided no guidance and were generally incompetent. “I believe that in most of these cases, maybe not all of them, there are seeds of truth, something happened here,” says Lanning. “And then through a complicated process, however sadly and unfortunately, the whole thing got exaggerated and embellished, and the sad result may be that someone who did bad things to children may now get away with it.”
Here are the previously published articles on the topic: