My previous post on Ryan Karben prompted an interesting conversation with someone who knew him from the YU days. According to this person, Karben’s affinities were an “open secret” at YU and he personally knew people who had been propositioned by Karben.
We then discussed the question of if and when someone’s tendencies should be “outed.” If we are aware that someone is potentially dangerous, to what extent do we pursue this person or expose the risks of being involved with such a person.
On one hand, we do have the obligation of lo ta’amod ‘al dam rei’echa and cannot sit idly by while people are being harmed. If we know that there is a risk in the community, can we risk doing nothing?
On the other hand, pursuing such people needs evidence and as the Gafni and Lanner cases have shown us, they might not do much good. Furthermore, there is always the risk of slander, which is prevalent enough as it is let alone being motivated by religious or political agendas.
I’m open to suggestions.
Update: In an IM, The Town Crier points to other recent examples of whistleblowing both good and bad, including Un-Orthodox Jew and the Kolko issue as well as Jewschool apologizing (and perhaps retracting the apology) for reporting that Gafni was accused of rape. In the Internet Age and instant anonymous blogging, the whistleblowing reporting can be used for good or evil faster with more immediate consequences.