DC police investigate sexual abuse allegations at synagogue preschool
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DC police investigate sexual abuse allegations at synagogue preschool

Washington Hebrew Congregation says employee put on leave over claim of ‘inappropriate conduct involving one or more children’ over the past year

The sanctuary at the Washington Hebrew Congregation, a Reform synagogue in Washington DC. (Washington Hebrew Congregation website)
The sanctuary at the Washington Hebrew Congregation, a Reform synagogue in Washington DC. (Washington Hebrew Congregation website)

Police in Washington, DC, are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse at a synagogue preschool.

The Washington Hebrew Congregation sent a letter on August 19 informing parents that a staff member had been placed on administrative leave over allegations that the employee at the Edlavitch-Tyser Early Childhood Center “may have engaged in inappropriate conduct involving one or more children.” The allegations had come to light on August 15, according to the letter.

A DC police report said the alleged abuse occurred between last September and this month, the Washington Post reported Monday. The allegations came through a DC Child and Family Services Agency hotline.

The suspect’s name has not been released.

Washington Hebrew said in the letter that it has launched its own independent investigation into the allegations.

“These allegations and the necessary investigations are painful for everyone, but as a sacred community and congregation we seek to provide support to all as we face these challenges,” the letter said. “We seek both justice and compassion as our tradition demands.”

The synagogue held an informational meeting with families last week to address the investigation and provided parents with counseling resources, according to the Post. During the meeting, the synagogue announced that it had hired more staff to help supervise the students to ensure their safety.

Washington Hebrew, which is affiliated with the Reform movement, has about 3,000 member families and is the oldest congregation in the city. The synagogue has deep roots in Washington’s political establishment and counts among its members prominent influencers of both parties.

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