New abuse claims surface in NSW, Vic
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New abuse claims surface in NSW, Vic

THE AJN can reveal that police are now investigating allegations of child abuse in Sydney’s Jewish community, believed to have taken place around 20 years ago, while in Melbourne, yet another case of abuse has come to light.

THE AJN can reveal that police are now investigating allegations of child abuse in Sydney’s Jewish community, believed to have taken place around 20 years ago, while in Melbourne, yet another case of abuse has come to light.

The AJN alerted authorities to the alleged abuses in NSW in 2011. Since then, several victims have come forward, with Detective Inspector Ana Loughman saying that the investigation into the incidents is gaining momentum.

“We have spoken to people in Queensland, Victoria, the Central Coast, Sydney and the USA,” Loughman said. “Some potential victims did not want to participate and some have requested time to think about their position, because it is obviously a difficult decision to resurrect their emotions.”

She said that police were still trying to locate victims, and she is encouraging anyone who has been affected or has information to come forward.

“We need to chip away at this. We are only on first base, but a couple of years ago we didn’t have any information to act on.”

Manny Waks – founder of Tzedek, an advocacy group for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community – said he was pleased to learn about the developments. “We have received credible reports for some time that there were a number of child sexual abuse victims and survivors within the ultra-Orthodox community in Sydney,” Waks said. “I’m delighted at the courage displayed by a number of ­victims/survivors in stepping out of their comfort zone by confronting their past experiences. No one should underestimate the courage this takes. The community must provide them whatever support, advice and assistance they may require.”

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick from the Sydney Beth Din said that under Jewish law any case of sexual abuse should be reported to the police, and he has encouraged people with information to come forward.

“Potential victims need to be protected by the speedy apprehension of perpetrators, who must be brought to justice,” Rabbi Gutnick said.

“For that to occur victims must come forward, and when doing so must be fully supported in this difficult task by the community. There is no room for cover-up and denial.”

In Melbourne, meanwhile, abuse allegations have moved beyond Yeshivah College, with a woman coming forward and alleging that she was sexually abused by a congregant of the synagogue she attended as a child in the 1990s.

She said the abuse happened over nearly a decade, but when her mother approached a rabbi for assistance she was pushed aside.

The rabbi allegedly told the woman’s mother that the alleged abuser was sorry and that he had undertaken teshuvah (atonement).

The woman, who has recently spoken to Victorian Police, moved to a different country but said she has never recovered from her alleged abuse.

“I was robbed of my innocence,” she said. “Until this very day, there are things that will trigger something inside of me that make me want to snap.”

Alleged child abusers and former Yeshivah College (Melbourne) employees David Cyprys and David Kramer are set to stand trial this year.

Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) president Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant said the RCV remains committed to the statement it issued in 2010, which “affirms its unqualified condemnation of all forms of child abuse”, and “affirms its halachic position that the prohibitions of mesirah (reporting crimes to the civil authorities) and arka’ot (adjudication in civil courts) do not apply in cases of abuse”.

Any person wishing to come forward with information, contact Bondi detectives on (02) 9365 9650 or the Victorian Police  Sexual Offences Unit on (03) 9556 6125.

JOSHUA LEVI

Manny Waks – founder of Tzedek, an advocacy group for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community.

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