Better Late Than Never, Too?
The head of Australian Jewry lies about Chabad coverup of child sexual abuse on national radio, claiming that Chabad has fully cooperated with police when police repeatedly have stated – including in court under oath – that the Chabad community was not cooperating and was attempting to obstruct justice. And Danny Lamm's organization and Lamm himself lie about when the first credible word of child sexual abuse in Melbourne's Chabad and haredi communities was made public, claiming that happened only in 2011 when there was, in fact, a major child sexual abuse scandal in the haredi community there in 2008 which was well-covered in the local Jewish media.
Please click the gray bar to listen:
Lead Jewish victim Manny Waks writes:
“This [the audio interview posted above with Dr. Danny Lamm] is the most offensive and despicable interview I have heard on this scandal. Danny is essentially questioning the integrity of the Herald Sun journalist (who wrote yesterday’s explosive article, and was subsequently interviewed on radio stating that he had been inundated with phone calls from members of the Jewish community corroborating the facts contained in his article), Victoria Police (who have made it clear, including in court, that Yeshivah was not fully cooperating), as well as the victims and their families (who have reported ongoing harassment and intimidation by some within the Yeshivah leadership).
Danny is simply accepting Yeshivah’s current position, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It makes me wonder how the ECAJ would have reacted at the time the abuse in question was happening—based on their current position, it would probably have taken Yeshivah at their word that no abuse was taking place.
I should add that Danny’s acceptance of Yeshivah’s position is all the more confusing given that a senior official within the ECAJ had informed me directly and unambiguously that Yeshivah is completely unwilling to engage with any of the peak bodies. So even if Yeshivah changed its attitude towards the peak bodies, the fact that the ECAJ now takes them at their word is perplexing.
It is also interesting to note that the ECAJ belatedly issued a media statement (also attached) welcoming the Prime Minister’s announcement of a Royal Commission. While I welcome this development, it was a shame that it happened four days after the announcement and only after I highlighted publicly this lack of interest by the ECAJ and the other peak bodies (I noted this on my Facebook account— https://www.facebook.com/manny.waks/posts/138544962961469?comment_id=292973¬if_t=like—at around 2:30pm and the ECAJ circulated the statement just after 5pm).
It is also worth noting the major inaccuracy in their brief statement; ‘[a]llegations of sexual abuse concerning a small section of the Jewish community in Melbourne surfaced in July 2011’ is patently false. They have obviously forgotten about the Malka Leifer affair, the former ultra-Orthodox Adass Principal who is alleged to have sexually abused many children under her care and then fled (with assistance?) to Israel. This transpired in 2008. I’m sure her victims, their families and many within our community remember this scandal all too well. Apparently not the ECAJ.
It is difficult for me to rationalise the ECAJ’s current position, only to say that perhaps this is part of a second generation Holocaust survivor mentality, where some within the community fear retribution in response to scandals afflicting our community.
While I acknowledge and respect Danny and the ECAJ in terms of their contribution to the Jewish community, on this issue they have gotten it wrong, very wrong. Their position is simply untenable. The ECAJ should clarify its position and/or apologise to those they have offended.
The ECAJ should be standing behind victims, their families and the community—not behind the very institutions that facilitated and covered up the ongoing sexual abuse of dozens of innocent children.”
Here's the official statement, such that it is: