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Child Abuse endemic in Jewish schools: inquiry
December 12, 2012
12:13 pm
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December 10, 2012

The cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Jewish community is endemic and driven by intimidating leaders who downplay the issue, an inquiry has heard.

Manny Waks is the only victim of sexual abuse at a Jewish school to go public with his experience but says he represented many others who have spoken to him and gone anonymously to police when he gave evidence at Victoria's parliamentary inquiry on Monday.

Mr Waks says he knows of two pedophiles still "roaming in the community", another who has gone to Israel where he's receiving psychiatric treatment and a possible link between abuse and a suicide.

He also spoke of a victim's family who have been forced out of Melbourne because of the pressure placed on them by rabbis, while the offender has recently held a senior position in the Jewish community.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the level of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community and the appalling way in which it has been mishandled, including through credible allegations of ongoing cover-ups, may be described as being nothing short of endemic," Mr Waks told the inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations.

While there are two cases currently before the courts involving the Jewish community, he says recent discussions with other victims have revealed ongoing abuse.

While police are aware of most of the allegations, he says Jewish authorities "attempted to cover up these crimes against innocent children."

Mr Waks, who was sexually abused by two trusted mentors at Melbourne's Yeshivah College 20 years ago, says he's the only victim to have gone public so far because others feel intimidated by the leadership of the small Jewish community.

He told the inquiry one former Yeshivah student rang him to tell of his own abuse and was stunned Mr Waks had gone public. "This just doesn't get spoken about," he told Mr Waks.

But many alleged victims have told him of recent cases, including that of a 36-year-old man alleged to have sexually abused children within the Yeshivah community who fled to Israel as soon as he heard he was under police investigation.

He spoke of a 13-year-old allegedly abused three years ago who has not made a formal statement because he's "concerned with the possible ramifications against him as a result of going to police."

And he also mentioned a member of the Jewish community who was last year convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault against minors and is apparently the youngest person ever on the Sex Offenders Register in Victoria.

"The peak body of the Australian Jewish community, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), has done everything it can to try to downplay this scandal," he said.

He said the ECAJ does not regard sexual abuse as a pressing issue and made no mention of it at its Annual General Meeting last month.

He said students were vulnerable when exposed to influential religious leaders at events such as bar mitzvah classes and recalled his days as a teenager at the communal ritual bath.

"I'd go every morning before prayers. It used to be a free for all, there was no supervision, adults and kids together, everyone was naked," he said.

Mr Waks' father Zephaniah Waks also appeared at the inquiry on Monday but his evidence was suppressed.

© 2012 AAP

December 12, 2012
12:19 pm
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Another Jewish Child sex abuse scandal rocks Australia’s Jewish community.

SYDNEY (JTA) — Another major Jewish organization in Australia is embroiled in a child sex abuse scandal, adding to the trauma triggered by recent revelations of similar cases involving students at schools in Melbourne run by Chabad-Lubavitch and Adass Israel.

The name of the latest organization, alleged sexual abuser and alleged victims cannot be disclosed because of a suppression order issued by an Australian court. The case involves a man facing more than 25 counts of child sex abuse, including indecent acts with a minor and sexual intercourse with a child.

The defendant, who is not believed to be Jewish, has entered a not guilty plea in Melbourne Magistrates Court. He is scheduled to return to court in December, with a trial date expected to be set for next year. The alleged sexual abuse is understood to have taken place during an overseas trip about a decade ago.

A representative of the Office of Public Prosecutions confirmed that there are multiple complainants. Not all of them are believed to be Jewish.

Manny Waks, who broke his silence last year about the alleged sexual abuse he suffered two decades ago as a student at Chabad’s Yeshivah College, said, “It’s devastating to learn of the additional serious allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-up within our community. These new revelations highlight that instances of child sexual abuse are not unique to one segment within our community.”

News of the latest scandal came just days after Prime Minister Julia Gillard called for a royal commission of inquiry into the “insidious evil acts” of institutional child sexual abuse across religious denominations in Australia. Royal commissions are established in Australia when the judicial system is deemed to have failed. Although the terms of reference have yet to be finalized, they have powers of subpoena.

While the Catholic Church has borne the brunt of the media’s spotlight here, news broke in 2008 of sexual abuse in the Jewish community with allegations against Malka Leifer, former principal of the Adass Israel girls’ school. The chief rabbi of Adass Israel, Avraham Zvi Beck, and other officials have been accused of helping Leifer flee Australia for her native Israel as soon as the allegations emerged that year within the tightly knit, non-Zionist, Yiddish-speaking community. Leifer denies the charges.

Last year, claims also emerged of alleged child sex abuse in the 1980s involving 12 Yeshivah College students, three of whom now reside in the United States.

David Cyprys, a former security guard contracted to the college, will stand trial in July on 41 counts of child sex abuse, including child rape. He has pleaded not guilty.

Another alleged perpetrator, David Kramer, is a former teacher at Yeshivah College, which is part of the Chabad movement’s Yeshivah Centre. Kramer is awaiting extradition from America, where he was jailed in 2008 for molesting a 12-year-old boy in a St. Louis synagogue. In October, a U.S. judge approved the extradition order to Melbourne, where he is wanted by police investigating claims that he molested four boys attending Yeshivah College between 1989 and 1992.

“We understand why Julia Gillard made that decision, but we are nervous for certain people in our community,” said Timmy Rubin, a Lubavitcher who runs a mikvah in Melbourne that some Adass women attend. “Some people are really nervous because 25 years ago, they probably did the wrong thing.

“With Adass, the problem is that nobody pressed charges, and that’s why she got away with it. People whose daughters were mucked around with were furious, but they were scared to press charges because they didn’t want their girls to be shamed in the community — that’s the real tragedy.”

Shlomo Boruch Abelesz, a former secretary of the Adass Israel community, said, “The fact that there don’t seem to have been any abuse claims for a number of years now shows that the Jewish schools have tackled it and cleaned up their act.”

In the Yeshivah College case, it is alleged that Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, the Brooklyn-born chief rabbi of Chabad in Melbourne until his death in 2008, helped cover up allegations of child sex abuse and gave alleged perpetrators the option to flee the country or be reported to authorities.

Many inside the Chabad community say that Groner’s reputation has been besmirched by the sex abuse scandal, especially since he cannot defend himself. Groner was sent by the Lubavitcher rebbe to Melbourne in 1958 and is widely credited with putting Chabad on the map in Australia, building a network of educational, religious and outreach institutions.

The royal commission may summon Rabbi Avrohom Glick, the principal of Yeshivah College at the time of most of the alleged offenses. In his original statement, Glick said he had only recently become aware of the accusations about Cyprys, but in May he changed his story under oath, admitting that he was in fact aware of rumors in the early 2000s.

Magistrate Luisa Bazzani sharply questioned even Glick’s revised position, saying it was “unfathomable” that he was not aware of the alleged abuses in the 1980s.

A senior member of the Orthodox community in Melbourne who spoke on condition of anonymity said the rabbis in Chabad and Adass “who knew of cases and turned a blind eye, or didn’t bring them to the attention of the authorities, will be named and shamed. It’s absolutely inexcusable.”

The current Yeshivah College principal, Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler, issued a statement commending Gillard’s appointment of a commission.

“Child abuse is abhorrent and has traumatic consequences for victims and their families,” he said. “Yeshivah takes child protection very seriously and will fully cooperate with the royal commission and continue to act vigilantly to eradicate abuse.”

But Waks, who has become an unofficial spokesman for the alleged victims, was underwhelmed.

“The Yeshivah leadership has excelled in doublespeak: They inform the public that they are cooperating fully with the relevant authorities, yet in private they are engaged in the most vile and irreligious acts,” he told the media.

Waks, who claims that his family has been victimized by fellow Lubavitchers critical of his public exposure, said that more alleged victims have come forward.

“I’m receiving more and more allegations of child sexual abuse coming from the Melbourne, Sydney and Perth Jewish communities,” he said.

The sexual abuse scandals have triggered a flurry of online debate. In one post, a blogger wrote, “In each case, the rabbis of the respective [Chabad and Adass] community were approached by victims. In each case, there was discussion by the victims about going to the police. In each case, the respective rabbi said the victims and their families are prohibited from doing so.”

But in a Nov. 14 statement, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria backed the commission, saying that it “reminds the community that alleged halachic reasons to refrain from reporting abuse to the police or other relevant authorities are completely without foundation.”

December 12, 2012
12:21 pm
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Australian Jewish teacher faces child abuse charges.
12 December 2012

A former teacher at an Orthodox Jewish boys’ school in Melbourne has been extradited from America to face child sex abuse charges.

David Kramer, 52, was surrendered by US authorities late last week, arrested and charged with 10 counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecent acts with a child under the age of 16.

The incidents are alleged to have taken place at Yeshivah College, a Chabad-run school, between 1989 and 1992.Kramer appeared in court in Melbourne on Monday and was remanded in custody until January 18.

December 12, 2012
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NYC Orthodox Jewish counselor guilty of child sex abuse
12 December 2012

It took the jury about one day of deliberations to issue its verdict in the sexual abuse case of a prominent Brooklyn ultra Orthodox Jewish leader, CBS New York reports.

Nechemya Weberman, 54, was found guilty on all 60 charges against him for allegedly molesting a girl he was counseling over a three-year span beginning when the girl was 12, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported.

The charges include sexual conduct with a child and criminal sexual acts, CBS 2's Tony Aiello reported.

Weberman showed no emotion as the verdict was read, Cornell reported. He was handcuffed and taken into police custody after the verdict was read, where he will remain until sentencing.

Deliberations began Friday but the jury was convened for just an hour. Monday's verdict came down around 2:30 p.m.

The defense had argued that the girl leveled the charges against Weberman as an act of revenge because she believed he told her father about her boyfriend, which is in violation of the rules of the insular Satmar community.

The accuser, now 17 and married, waited three years before telling anyone about the alleged abuse.

Earlier Monday, the jurors reviewed testimony from an expert witness on the question of why children delay disclosing when they've been victims of sexual abuse.

The witness testified that waiting to report sexual abuse is not unusual because the abuser is generally someone the child knows well or is in a powerful position. That gives the child a feeling of helplessness or social rejection, the witness testified.

The girl was ordered to attend counseling sessions several times a week with Weberman or be kicked out of school,Cornell reported.

The girl testified that school officials told her she was a "piece of dirt," Cornell reported.

The jury also heard a read-back of testimony from a licensed social worker who works with Orthodox Jewish children.

Sarah Fried testified that the teenage accuser did not open up to her about the alleged sexual abuse right away.

The therapist testified that she knew something had happened to the girl because she was anxious and depressed.

When the accuser did tell Fried about the sexual abuse, Fried testified that the girl could barely get the words out and then fled from her office.

The defense argued that the now-17-year-old accuser was so rebellious against the Satmar community that she should have been able to speak up about sex abuse.

The expert witness testified that the comparison was like comparing night and day, Cornell reported.

The accuser and Weberman both testified during the trial.

Weberman faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 9

December 12, 2012
7:47 pm
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Insurance company payouts for claims concerning sexual abuse from Clergy, shows that it is not just Catholic Priest pedophile claims, that other religions are also subject to these claims and abuses, as well as groups like the scouts, and other positions of trust between leaders and children, teachers, etc. If you research records, other religions have their share of claims, usually the only ones making the headlines are the Catholic stories.

December 13, 2012
6:56 am
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child abusing perverts are everywhere, apparently.
I'd never allow my son off to camp, the Scouts, any of that..anywhere he could be off alone with a male.
And that is a sad statement about society.
It also screws over guys that geniunely like and want to hang out, and nuture kids. Because I for one, would not take the risk.

The polcie even advice kids that if they get lost ..always approach a female for help..never a male.
How sad is that?

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

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