If you are Charles Hynes, Brooklyn DA, what you really want right now is for this entire mess to go away. It might, however, be too late for that. Even Mayor Bloomberg has joined the finger-pointing, reports The Guardian.
Now that reports have spread on the alleged arrangement with the local rabbis to screen molestation accusations, and widespread criticism has emerged on the practice of shielding the names of the accused, it might be time for Hynes, or others, to clean house by filing criminal charges against anyone and everyone involved in shielding the alleged pedophiles.
One possible route to pursue would be criminal obstruction statutes. If the higher-ups wished to go after Charles Hynes, official misconduct is a crime in the great State of New York. The charge requires proof of either an act relating to his office, but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, or knowingly refraining from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.
The latter is much more plausible, if more proof can be found regarding the alleged arrangement. This law is essentially a malfeasance statute, and requires allegations Hynes knowingly failed to do his job. Some might argue that this is exactly what is happening with the alleged pedophiles in the Orthodox Jewish community.
However, prosecutors do have wide latitude on deciding what charges to bring, so proving that his actions were an abuse of discretion could be difficult, but not impossible.
Assuming Hynes stays in office, or if his successor wishes to make a good first impression, they could also possibly go after anyone who has engaged in victim any kind of intimidation. Obstructing governmental administration in the second degree seems like a possible charge for those cases.
This law requires obstructing the administration of law by means of intimidation, physical force, or a a few other listed methods. If the tales of widespread victim intimidation amongst the Orthodox community prove to be true, the intimidators could be prosecuted under this statute.
Both offenses are Class A misdemeanors, which carry a penalty of up to one year in jail.
Please come back to this blog for legal updates on the Charles Hynes allegations.