Rabbis accused of sex abuse cover-up granted religious honours
ADMINISTRATORS of Yeshivah College have admitted never investigating complaints of a child sex abuse coverup, saying they briefed high-profile lawyer Robert Richter QC instead.
It comes as it was revealed a victim of child sexual abuse was forced to sit and watch at the weekend as Rabbis accused of the coverup were granted religious honours.
Former general manager Nechama Bendet said yesterday the college never even discussed investigating claims of a cover up.
But she said they approached Mr Richter, one of Australia’s top criminal barristers, in 2011 after former Yeshiva guard David Cyprys was charged with a string of child sex offences.
Ms Bendet, now the school’s director of development, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Mr Richter gave advice about public relations and dealing with victims.
The commission heard both Rabbi Abraham Glick and Rabbi Yosef Feldman were given religious honours at Chabad synagogues on Saturday.
Rabbi Glick is yet to give evidence to the commission but has been blamed for failing to handle complaints of child abuse appropriately.
The former Yeshivah College principal is accused of failing to report numerous alleged incidents of sexual abuse to authorities while in charge between 1986 and 2007.
He was in charge of the school when convicted paedophile Rabbi David Kramer was hurriedly shipped to the US after complaints were made by parents alleging serious sexual misconduct in the early 1990s.
Rabbi Feldman sparked widespread criticism yesterday when he made a shocking defence of paedophiles, saying some should be left alone if they have not offended for several decades.
Rabbi Feldman said he didn’t agree that paedophiles who had repented and not reoffended risked jail time if they were prosecuted.
While the men were granted the honours at the weekend victims of abuse have complained that they have been shunned from receiving them since going public with their stories.
AVB said he and his family had been bullied, harrased and vilified for trying to rid the ultra-orthodox Chabad commuity of the sexual abuse scourge.
He said one Rabbi had even referred to him as a ‘moser’, the most offensive term for Jews, referring to one who breaks the rule of Mesirah, informing on Jews to secular authorities.
“We are being victimised. We’re being judged,” he said.
“The foundation is rotten to its core.
“I often wonder whter I made the right decision coming forward.
“I know I need to do what I need to do if we’re going to change things.”
Comparing the child sexual abuse crisis to the Holocaust AVB said Jews needed to learn from the wrongs of the past.
“We will never forget (the Holocaust). That is always etched in our history so it shall never happen again,” he said.
“The holocaust was the murder of Jews.
“We’ve heard evidence from multiple rabbis that the perpetration of abuse is a kin to murder.
“We need to accept and hold up that the murdering of children through sexual abuse by our own is also a crime.
“Those individuals need to be, I’m not sure if the word is banished, but they need to be held in that regard as having perpetrated that murder.”
AVB, who was molested by Yeshivah employees Daniel Hayman and David Cyrprys in Melbourne and Sydney, said abuse perpetrated on him was wholly avoidable.
And he said the Yeshivah community continued to rally around his abusers.
Yesterday, Rabbi Feldman, a close friend of Daniel Hayman, admitted being angry when he was charged fearing he would end up in jail.
“Is it just a situation where we punish someone for what they did 40 years ago even though they’ve changed totally? They’re not a threat to society and everything else,” he said.
“Of course according to law you’re supposed to, I never said it shouldn’t be done according to law.
“But I’m certainly not happy about it. I’ve said this again and again. I done know why this is an issue.”