Beliefnet
NEWARK, N.J., Dec. 26 (AP) --An Orthodox rabbi who was a leader of anational Jewish youth organization sexually abused women and girls, andphysically abused boys and girls, according to a report commissioned afterhe resigned over the allegations last summer.

The internal investigation also concluded that some personnel of theOrthodox Union and its National Conference of Synagogue Youth failed torespond properly to ``red flags'' raised during decades of complaintsagainst Rabbi Baruch Lanner.

No cover-up was found, but Lanner's ``inappropriate and crude behavior''should have led to his firing, according to a summary of the report released Tuesday.

``We sincerely apologize for the pain and suffering these young peopleexperienced as a result of Rabbi Lanner's actions. We also wish to apologizeto the families of these young people who entrusted their children to us,'' union president Mandell I. Ganchrow said.

``We promise to use this sad event as an opportunity to assure that behaviorsuch as this will never again occur within our organization.''

Lanner, 50, who separated from his wife earlier this year, did notimmediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

He told The Associated Press in July that he violated Orthodox Jewish law byhaving romantic relationships with former female students--none teen-agers--but did not break any other laws. Physical contact was limited tohand-holding and putting arms around each other, he said.

Lanner resigned as director of regions for the New York-based youth group inJune after The Jewish Week of New York, a leading Jewish publication, ranaccounts from more than 25 former students charging sexual, physical andemotional abuse.

The students, now in their 30s and 40s, said that Lanner kissed, fondled andhit teen-age girls and kneed boys in the groin. His accusers also said heattacked a man with a knife.

Prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating.

The Orthodox Union, which has a membership of nearly 1,000 synagogues andputs a seal of approval on kosher food, said it has arranged for freecounseling for current and former youth group members.

The report also includes recommendations for the union, some of which havealready been implemented, including anti-harassment programs.

Asked if any union staff will be fired, Ganchrow said, ``The issue ofpersonnel is one of the areas that we are looking at.''

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