Another major Jewish organisation in Australia is embroiled in a child sex abuse scandal, adding to the trauma triggered by recent revelations of similar cases involving students at a Chabad and Adass Israel school.
The name of the organisation, the defendant and the alleged victims cannot be revealed due to a court suppression order.
But it can be revealed that a man has faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 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, entered a “not guilty” plea and is scheduled to face court again next month, 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 around a decade ago.
A spokesperson for the Office of Public Prosecutions also confirmed that there are multiple complainants. It is understood not all of them are 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 in Melbourne, 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 this 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.
While the Catholic Church has borne the brunt of the media exposure, the Jewish community has also been implicated since 2008 when news first broke of sexual abuse allegations against Israeli-born Malka Leifer, the principal of Melbourne’s Adass Israel girls’ school. Leifer denies the charges.
In addition, last year, claims emerged against 12 Yeshivah College students of alleged child sex abuse in the 1980s.
David Cyprys, a former security guard contracted to the college, will stand trial next July on 41 counts of child sex abuse, including child rape. He has pleaded not guilty.
Another alleged perpetrator, David Kramer, a former teacher at Yeshivah College, is awaiting extradition from America, where he was jailed in 2008 for molesting a 12-year-old boy in a synagogue, to Melbourne, where he is wanted by police investigating child molestation claims.