Retired Rabbi Jon Adland part of investigation for sexual …

Posted By on March 29, 2022

CANTON Retired Temple Israel Rabbi Jon Adlandwill no longer havean active rolewith thecongregation following a report investigatingallegations of sexual misconductthat took place inthe 1970s when hewas a rabbinical student.

The complaints stem from a national reportcommissioned by the Union for Reform Judaism to investigate accusations of sexual harassment, abuse and misconduct at itsworkplaces, summer camps,programming and youth programmingstretching back decades.

The Union for Reform Judaism encompasses more than 800 congregations. Reform Judaismis the largest branch of the faith in the U.S.

Rabbi David Komerofsky, Temple Israel's current leader, said Adland has relinquished the title of "emeritus" in connection with the synagogue.

Adland served Temple Israel from 2011 until he retired in 2019. He succeeded Rabbi Leah Herz.

"He's no longer formally connected to Temple Israel," Komerofsky said. "The emeritus status was honorary. Our congregation is investigating the processes that led to where we are now. We are committed to ensuring that anyone who has information to share about any inappropriate interaction with Rabbi Adland will have a safe and reliable way to do so. ... My commitment to the congregation is, I want transparency."

Adland declined to comment when contacted by the Canton Repository.

In the 126-page report released Feb. 17,the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm, which conducted the investigation, describesthe complaints about the Union for Reform Judaism as "serious and credible."

Investigators say they uncovered a "boundary-crossing culture"in which people were pressured to engage insexual activity and feared retaliation if they complained;a murky ethics structure;and unclear hiring standards as they pertained to rabbis.

Investigators interviewed 168 people. The complaints were made bymales and females. They included17 complaintsinvolving minors and adults,16 incidents involvingpeers under 18, and 39 cases involving adults stretching over the last 50 years.

More than 500,000 young adults and children participated in URJ-sponsored camps and events.

According to the report, the URJ has made changes recommended by the report to improve how it operates, from strengthening its training and screening process, to establishing clear policies for consensual relationship between adults, to making information aboutits policies more accessible.

Though dozens of rabbis were investigated,Adland is one of only four specifically namedin the report.

Investigators said they fielded three complaints of alleged sexual misconduct involving Adland and three girls under 16 at a camp in the summer of 1977 when he was a 23-year-old rabbinical student. Adland acknowledged being at the camp in 1977but told investigatorshe didn'trecall engaging in any such misconduct.

The report notes that inmany cases, victims who complained about misconduct resulted in the alleged perpetrator being fired. However, one of the alleged victims told investigatorsshe reported Adland's behavior to a female camp counselor andnothing was done.

Adland told the investigatorsthat he was ashamed that he may have acted unethically,and apologized for any harm he might have caused. He also informedinvestigators that he was the subject ofan ethics investigation in 2018 conductedby the Central Conference of America Rabbis, a rabbinic leadership organizationamid allegationsof improper conduct between him and a 14-year-old girl some time between 2005 and 2010.

The organization found the accusation credible and censured Adland, who is prohibited by the organization from working with minors. Adland also informed investigators that he underwent a "teshuva" or repentance process.

Thenative of Chevy Chase, Maryland, was ordained in 1982. He is a graduate ofgraduate of Washington University in St. Louis and theHebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati,where he alsoearned a master's degree.

Prior to Canton, he served in Indianapolis and Lexington, Kentucky.While in Stark County, Adland has been involved in a number of causes and organizations, including Planned Parenthood, Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio, the governng board of Goodwill Industries, and the GreaterCanton Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

Itis unclear if any legal action couldbe taken. In most states, the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges is 20 years.

Komerofsky noted that none of the allegations are connected to Adland's tenure in Canton,buturged anyone with a complaint to come forward. Any complaints, he said, will beinvestigated by an independent third party.

Temple Israel, Komerofsky said, is working with Adland'stwo previous congregations, the Union of Reform Judaism and theCentral Conference of America Rabbis to ensure that anyone who needs to report information can do so.

Temple Israel has posted the information on its website at

"I hope there is nothing else to be shared," he said.

Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or

On Twitter: @cgoshayREP

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