SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Allegations of child sex abuse, rampant in Melbourne’s Jewish community, have spread to Sydney, with police mounting investigations into two individuals.
Police in New South Wales state said at least one of the alleged perpetrators under investigation is believed to be a former employee of a religious institution associated with Chabad-Lubavitch. Neither of the men have been publicly named.
The allegations date back to the late 1970s or 1980s, a police spokesperson said.
Rabbi Eli Feldman, a spokesperson for the Yeshiva Center, the headquarters of Chabad in NSW, said in a statement Thursday that police had not contacted them.
“Yeshiva unequivocally condemns any form of abuse, including child sexual abuse,” the statement said. “We welcome any police investigation to uncover any improprieties, especially regarding alleged crimes against children.”
Child abuse victim Manny Waks, the head of Tzedek, an advocacy group for Jewish survivors and victims in Australia, welcomed the news.
“This is yet a further positive development,” he said. “Tthe Sydney Yeshiva Center has made its position crystal clear: that it does not tolerate any forms of abuse, it encourages victims to go to the police, it commits to fully cooperating with the police, it offers victims and survivors an acknowledgement of what they may have experienced, and importantly, it offers them support and assistance in a practical and sensitive manner.”
Yeshivah College, the Chabad-run school in Melbourne, has been at the center of multiple child sex abuse allegations. Two former employees – David Kramer and David Cyprys – face multiple charges, including indecent acts on minors and child rape.
On Friday, a magistrate set April 23-24 as the dates for Kramer’s committal hearing, which will determine whether his case goes to trial. Kramer appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court via video-link from jail.
Waks also said a new victim had come forward with allegations that she was sexually abused as a child by a congregant of a synagogue in Melbourne in the 1990s.