by Thomas P. Zugibe, Rockland County District Attorney
News 12 last week aired a special report focusing on recent disturbing incidents of sexual abuse in the Village of New Square. The six-minute feature spotlighted the criminal case of Rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld, an accused predator indicted by a Rockland County Grand Jury for the repeated molestation of a young male victim over the span of several years. Unfortunately, News 12 Reporter Tara Rosenblum provided more fiction than fact in her poorly produced bit of “infotainment.”
Rosenblum’s dramatized piece is a masterful manipulation of the facts with at least six glaring factual errors. Even more troubling is that she never thought to contact my office for information critical to developing a credible news report.
News 12 management and staff should pride themselves on fair and accurate reporting, not sensationalism and fear-mongering. There is nothing journalistically ethical about playing it “fast and loose” with the facts. Local media organizations exist to serve the community, but Rosenblum’s sweeping inaccuracies and misinformation only serve to erode the trust only recently forged between my highly-skilled special victims prosecutors and the Hasidic community in Rockland County. By distorting the truth, I fear Rosenblum may have reversed much of the progress we’ve made.
Please know my administration will continue to work closely with the Hasidic community to build confidence in our justice system to encourage more reporting from within. In the future, I would hope that News 12 – its reporters, writers, producers and editors – step up to provide our community with impartial and ethical coverage while standing for the principles of journalism.
Thomas P. Zugibe is the District Attorney for Rockland County, New York.