The Chabad-Lubavitch community in Sydney was more intent on protecting the perpetrator and safeguarding its reputation, a Jewish child sex abuse victim told a local court.
The 38-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, read his victim impact statement on Tuesday during the sentencing hearing for Daniel “Gug” Hayman, a dual Australian-American citizen who resides in Los Angeles.
Hayman, 50, pleaded guilty ealier this month to indecently assaulting the then 14-year-old boy when Hayman was a volunteer at a Chabad-run camp in the 1980s.
Charges against Hayman were later withdrawn, however, as the court judged that he was mentally unfit to stand trial.
The reaction of community was to “fall into line to protect the offender”, Associated Press reported him saying. “The community was more intent on protecting its good name than me.”
The victim said he has been branded an “informer” and shunned for going to police.
Hayman’s barrister said his client had also been shunned by the Orthodox community. Hayman, a one-time director of Sydney’s Yeshiva, had made “substantial payments” to the victim, his barrister added.
Manny Waks, the founder of Tzedek, an advocacy group for Jewish victims of child sexual abuse, said it was the first conviction of an institution-related offence outside of Melbourne.
There are still “powerful elements” inside the Orthodox community that are determined these issues get “swept under the carpet”, he told media outside court.
Mr Waks, himself a victim, said the “ongoing intimidation, harassment and bullying” of the victim must not be ignored.
A spokesperson for Sydney’s Yeshiva, which is the headquarters of Chabad, told the JC: “The Sydney Yeshiva community is unaware of who the victims are and therefore cannot comment on allegations of bullying or shunning.
“It is very unfortunate that a victim feels shunned and if he or she comes forward to the Yeshiva community leadership we will do our utmost to provide as much comfort and support as possible.”