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December 10, 2012

Parliamentary Inquiry Told Child Sex Abuse Coverups "Endemic" In The Jewish Community

Yeshivah College (Chabad) Melbourne AustraliaThe cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Jewish community is endemic and driven by intimidating leaders who downplay the issue, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

Yeshivah College (Chabad) Melbourne Australia
Chabad's Yeshivah College in Melbourne, Australia, the site of dozens of alleged cases of child molestation and rape, and a decades-long coverup of these crimes allegedly led by senior Chabad rabbis

Abuse endemic in Jewish schools: inquiry
Paul Mulvey • AAP

The cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Jewish community is endemic and driven by intimidating leaders who downplay the issue, an inquiry has heard.

Manny Waks is the only victim of sexual abuse at a Jewish school to go public with his experience but says he represented many others who have spoken to him and gone anonymously to police when he gave evidence at Victoria's parliamentary inquiry on Monday.

Mr Waks says he knows of two pedophiles still "roaming in the community", another who has gone to Israel where he's receiving psychiatric treatment and a possible link between abuse and a suicide.

He also spoke of a victim's family who have been forced out of Melbourne because of the pressure placed on them by rabbis, while the offender has recently held a senior position in the Jewish community.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the level of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community and the appalling way in which it has been mishandled, including through credible allegations of ongoing cover-ups, may be described as being nothing short of endemic," Mr Waks told the inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations.

While there are two cases currently before the courts involving the Jewish community, he says recent discussions with other victims have revealed ongoing abuse.

While police are aware of most of the allegations, he says Jewish authorities "attempted to cover up these crimes against innocent children."

Mr Waks, who was sexually abused by two trusted mentors at Melbourne's [Chabad] Yeshivah College 20 years ago, says he's the only victim to have gone public so far because others feel intimidated by the leadership of the small Jewish community.

[More than a dozen other alleged victims have spoken to police and been vetted. Eleven are slated to testify along with Waks at the upcoming trial of David Cyprys, a convicted pedophile allowed to work in Chabad's Yeshivah Centre by Chabad leadership who vouched for him and tried to coverup his crimes. Cyprys went on to alleged rape and abuse more than a dozen boys. And other alleged victims of another convicted Chabad pedophile, David Kramer, are in the process of being vetted for testimony against Kramer now that he's been extradited from the US.]

He told the inquiry one former Yeshivah student rang him to tell of his own abuse and was stunned Mr Waks had gone public. "This just doesn't get spoken about," he told Mr Waks.

But many alleged victims have told him of recent cases, including that of a 36-year-old man alleged to have sexually abused children within the Yeshivah community who fled to Israel as soon as he heard he was under police investigation.

He spoke of a 13-year-old allegedly abused three years ago who has not made a formal statement because he's "concerned with the possible ramifications against him as a result of going to police."

And he also mentioned a member of the Jewish community who was last year convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault against minors and is apparently the youngest person ever on the Sex Offenders Register in Victoria.

"The peak body of the Australian Jewish community, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), has done everything it can to try to downplay this scandal," he said.

He said the ECAJ does not regard sexual abuse as a pressing issue and made no mention of it at its Annual General Meeting last month.

He said students were vulnerable when exposed to influential religious leaders at events such as bar mitzvah classes and recalled his days as a teenager at the communal ritual bath.

"I'd go every morning before prayers. It used to be a free for all, there was no supervision, adults and kids together, everyone was naked," he said.

Mr Waks' father Zephaniah Waks also appeared at the inquiry on Monday but his evidence was suppressed.

I'm told that statements which were not submitted in writing well in advance of the public inquiry, including that of Zephaniah Waks, were temporarily suppressed for procedural reasons, but will be publicly available in the near future.

Here's another article on the parliamentary inquiry:

Jewry accused of hiding sex-abuse
Barney Zwartz • The Age

TWO paedophiles - one reportedly the youngest person ever put on the Victorian Sex Offenders Register - were "roaming the Jewish community" with most members utterly unaware, the state inquiry into how religious groups handled child sex abuse was told on Monday.

Community leader and abuse whistleblower Manny Waks said there was overwhelming evidence that child sexual abuse was endemic in the Jewish community and "the appalling way in which it has been mishandled", including credible claims of continuing cover-ups.

He said that in the few months since his written submission there had been more serious allegations of child sexual abuse. "Worse, in all of these new cases, those in positions of authority attempted to cover up these crimes."

Mr Waks, a former vice-president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, last year became the first Jewish victim to publicly tell the story of his abuse, at Yeshivah College in Melbourne more than 20 years ago. He gave evidence with his father, Zephaniah Waks, but Family and Community Development committee chairwoman Georgie Crozier suppressed Mr Waks senior's testimony.

Manny Waks said several new allegations had come to him, partly because victims and families often sought his advice. In one case, he said, a family was forced to leave Melbourne under pressure from rabbis after they made allegations against a senior figure who "is still roaming freely within the Melbourne Jewish community".

In another case, a young member of the Jewish community was convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault against minors - becoming the youngest listed offender - and he too was freely roaming the community, Mr Waks said.

Another man, 36, was alleged to have sexually abused several children in the Yeshivah community - part of the Orthodox Chabad movement - and fled Australia as soon as he heard police were investigating him. Mr Waks said the man was himself allegedly sexually abused repeatedly as a child by a relative, an active member of the Sydney Jewish community.

In another Yeshivah case, a man, 30, is alleged to have abused a child, 13, about three years ago.

"Most devastatingly, over the past few days, I have been informed of a possible link between an alleged incident of child sexual abuse at Yeshivah and a subsequent suicide."

He said he had also received a number of allegations of abuse and cover-ups within the Sydney and Perth communities.

Mr Waks said the Executive Council of Australian Jewry had "done everything it could to downplay this scandal" and that in some cases "their scant response was highly damaging".

He said he and other victims were deeply hurt, angry and incredulous not only about the abuse and the cover-ups, the intimidation of victims and their families, but the "meek response" by Jewish community leadership.

Dr Tom Keating, abuse victim, academic and child protection expert, told the inquiry that mandatory reporting was irrelevant for child sex abuse by clergy, because the purpose of mandatory reporting was to ensure the guardian was protecting the child.

Dr Keating, a former head of Victoria's Department of Human Services, said a child protection worker to whom abuse was reported would have to advise telling police. "This is not reporting that a child is at risk, it is reporting a crime."

He said the Catholic Church abuse protocols, Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response, were perfectly designed to produce the results they did, protecting the church's reputation and wealth. "In my experience the church authorities are entirely unencumbered by ethical or pastoral concerns."

He said that despite church leaders' protestations that flourishing abuse was a thing of the past, their modern attitudes of clerical control, suppressing dissent, alienating women and persecuting gays meant sexual abuse was more likely.

Manny Waks' complete statement to the parliamentary commission of inquiry as a PDF file:

Download Manny Waks 12-12-10 Victorian Government Inquiry - opening statement for testimony (final)

Comments

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The only way to stop this (often cyclical) abuse is to stop covering this up, Rabbonim to wholeheartedly rule that the police must be contacted, and not to privately say it is ossur, and by victims contacting the police.

i don't understand. 'in the jewish community'? or at 'chabad'?
why accuse the whole community, when there is a problem with chabad?

@Yosef
I'm afraid this is also happening in the Brooklyn, New York frum community far longer than in Australia. I was frum for six years and the whole time just something didn't feel right and now I find out that I have lived among pedophiles in boro park and kensington. I had gone to the mikva among them, davened in a minyan with them, learned Torah with them and it's sickening that the Torah has been taught out of the mouths of clever child molesters and now as the closet door is opening up some pretty scary well known Rabbinical monsters and community leaders will be exposed.

Excuse me I forgot the pedophiles in Flatbush and my very own Russian-Jewish community.

Whether in New York or in Australia, better to say 'the orthodox Jewish community' or the "ultra-orthodox', whichever fits better. It doesn't involve Jewry as a whole. There are many more Jews of other streams than there are Haredim and their ilk. What is of some concern is that while those of us on this blog know that's true and that the filth is confined to this subset of the Jewish whole, to the haters and the primitives out there a Jew is a Jew is a Jew and this will just serve as ammunition for them.

@SML
I agree with you a hundred percent and it should also be mentioned that besides Chabad, the Litvish/Yeshivish or Misnagdim communities are also heavily involved in kiruv (outreach) to the secular or unaffiliated Jewish communities worldwide.

Why did the holy Rabbi of the Adass community publicly say that no one is allowed to speak against Child Molester Malka Leifer as it is Loshon Hora!
What chance to the victims get?

The Parliamentary Inquiry is a great forum, it allows you to put forward any claim, suggestion or thought without having its veracity tested. The Waks’, and that’s plural, because ZW surely colluded on this submission, have been able to conjure up images and allegations that are fictitious. Here they have gone out of the personal realm and gaining support for Manny’s alleged abuse to a new level where they speak on a universal stage, able to say what they like as long as it does harm to a community and or school that was relied on but has now outlived its usefulness to them.
I wonder if Manny has suppressed the memories of the abuse he allegedly suffered in the family home, physical, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse that the family and kids allegedly suffered.
Word is out that someone besides Avi Yemini , who changed his name from Waks out of shame & disgust, might be about to tell all.
The big question is. What did Zephania have to submit to the inquiry? This was his big chance to go on the record and tell it as it is. Without fear of being accused of running to the press and being misrepresented.
Should make interesting reading for those with good memories. Will someone publish this important contribution to the cause of protecting children from all abuse.

Attack the victim. BS.

Double Helix, it really is interesting what the ZW submission was. It still hasn’t been released, so it may be quite serious. Anyway, I’ve made some enquiries. It’s only a rumour at this stage, but it seems ZW may have given evidence that Emmanuel Althaus, a well-known Yeshivah Centre trouble-maker, molested a daughter of his years ago. After she got married and had a few kids, the son-in-law found out, and this played a part in the divorce. EA then tried to destroy the ex-son-in-law because he knew too much, and EA wanted to make sure he would never talk.

Actually, it’s likely the evidence also included something else. There are some younger members of Yeshivah Centre who are in the know, and they think the reason that Emmanuel Althaus and some of the older members are so strongly trying to cover everything up is that there was some sort of pedophile network back in the old days, and they are protecting important people in YC or each other. It is well-known that a certain pedo teacher was active round 50 years ago in YC, before he was shipped off.

@Emanuel Newgan
I am also concerned that there may be many Rabbinical pedophile networks in Brooklyn involving some big figures.

Is by any chance F.R.E.E involved in the cover up? FREE subsidizes yeshivas and Gan Israel camps in Brooklyn to the Russian secular Jews.

Eugene, you have been watching far too many spy movies. Chill.

Steven, these day you never know.

Does anyone in the community not feel even slightly curious as to why Manny waks and his father are trying to take down the organisation who educated their FOR FREE, took them to summer and winter camps FOR FREE and babysat them after school. (they were in the chabad youth office games room everyday or using yeshiva basketball courts as their back garden)
They cry poor and don't pay school fees or camp fees.

The Waks family has 17 or so kids, and neglected them so they were "hefker" to run around making chaos after school, during Shabbat prayers and on Shabbat afternoon between evening payers. Anyone who was in school with them can confirm this. how many fires did they light on school property. how many fights did they start. If their parents actually looked after them they wouldn't have ended up in the mikve with DK. No one else's kids did....
This family makes trouble for the school and youth group yet still enrol their kids there and to the camps and don't pay a cent.
It's not the schools job to parent 17 wild hefker kids. They got more from yeshivah centre than anyone else ever. Show some gratitude and accept responsibility for Zephaniah and his wife neglectful parenting instead of blaming the school.

Must be quiet in Melbourne. The Yeshivah Centre trolls have started up again. Blame the victims, you scum.

Joshmo are you saying because a fire was lit it is ok to rape the kid? Does that apply to yor kids too?

Does anyone in the community not feel even slightly curious as to why Manny waks and his father are trying to take down the organisation who educated their FOR FREE, took them to summer and winter camps FOR FREE and babysat them after school. (they were in the chabad youth office games room everyday or using yeshiva basketball courts as their back garden) They cry poor and don't pay school fees or camp fees.

It is boring trying to belt some sense into f'wits like you but someone has to at least try: Let's look at the FOR FREE business for starters: The money came from willing supporters like myself.It came from the Australian Taxpayer & it came from donors that the Yeshiva shnorrers steal from.Yes that's night STEAL from.Not only do they steal the donors money but they present a disgusting & deceitful pack of lies to the donors about what is what at the YC.That is stealing a persons mind.That is numero uno BAD BAD,the worst kind of stealing.The YC has made an art form out of ripping off the government.The YC doesn't declare the unit cost per student or the unit funding received from the ATO per student.If it did it would probably show the Waks family to be the schools biggest donor because money received from the hapless taxpayer>cost to educate students.So where does that extra money go?Well that's a good question.How is the Kollel funded?Could it be from funds the ATO has only specified are to go to secular education? How are the mesivta boys funded.The ATO specifically does not allow funds for this program.You know,they are the next generation of unemployable scabs with an inbuilt sense of self entitlement. Maybe there is funny business where they are funded by ripping off the ATO. Why don't the YC produce audited accounts to the donors.You know the saying "do the right thing & be seen to be doing the right thing"

The YC NEEDS families like the Waks' to WASH THEIR OWN PROGENY THROUGH THE SYSTEM.When the shnorrers go shnorrering do they tell the suckers that the Groners & the other FOUNDING FATHERS HAVE THE G-D GIVEN RIGHT TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN & GRANDCHILDREN ETC UNTIL THE END OF TIME TO THE YC GRATIS?????? It is absolutely amazing how many smart & wealthy people have been stupid enough to support the YC.That's how it works though.Look at Pinto.He ripped of the smartest & richest.When it comes to con men you can't beat a good Kappota crook.

WHY? Why do you effing think the YC has no accountability? errrrrrrr derrrrrrrrrrr it's because they have got what to hide. How come the YC went from financial ruin about 1990 to flush with money today?They are still flush with money after spending how many millions on buying & building new properties.They have $10million today in liquid cash give or take a few bucks.

The Waks family has 17 or so kids, and neglected them so they were "hefker" to run around making chaos after school, during Shabbat prayers and on Shabbat afternoon between evening payers. Anyone who was in school with them can confirm this. how many fires did they light on school property. how many fights did they start. If their parents actually looked after them they wouldn't have ended up in the mikve with DK. No one else's kids did....

More rubbish/crap/twisted truth & barefaced lies you f'wit. Everything is supposed to be from HASHEM.Well thats what these Lubos reckon.So how come these Lubos are complaining about what is happening?I'll tell you how.Because they don't believe their own BS. Surely the WAKS kids were giving the management a warning when they were lighting fires.You know,a bit like the fat cows & the thin cows.It was a hint of what was to come. But the YC wouldn't take the hint so the place really is heading for a conflagration now. But don't forget,everything is for the good.Only good comes from Hashem.So when the place finally gets its comeuppence don't forget to say "gam zu le tova".

As far as the 17 kids go that's a drop in the ocean compared to the nepotistic managements

This family makes trouble for the school and youth group yet still enrol their kids there and to the camps and don't pay a cent.

TROUBLE??? YOU AINT SEEN NOTHING YET

JOSHMO YOU ARE AN APOLOGIST SHMOK

THIS WHOLE SAGA IS GOING TO PLAY OUT OVER THE NEXT MONTHS & YEARS & IN THE WORDS OF PAUL KEATING "I'M GOING TO DO YOU SLOWLY"

If Groner was alive today what would he be doing? Well if you have been listening to Telsner & others of his ilk he would NOT BE FESSING UP. WHAT? Thats right. Telsner said that besmirching Groners reputation was the worst possible thing. So how the F do you you tell the truth about Kramer/Cyprys & the other 6 or so that have not yet been nailed?If you tell the truth you MUST BESMIRCH GRONERS REPUTATION. Clearly Telsner has a low opinion of Groner.Thats right.Telsner is saying if Groner were here he would not be fessing up.He is saying Groner is up there(or down there some say)& Groner is telling Telsner to HUSH IT UP. Great stuff.

I haven't been posting for while, been sick. I am now informed that Emmanuel Althaus is wandering around Yeshivah Centre Melbourne claiming that I am Zephaniah Waks, apparently showing "proof" on bits of paper to some, and sending emails to others. I hear the post at http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2012/12/parliamentary-inquiry-told-child-sex-abuse-coverups-endemic-in-the-jewish-community-234.html starting with Double Helix December 11, 2012 at 12:17 AM is what made him lose it. He sent out threatening emails to Cooke and Waks, which were given to the police, who I hear now have quite a file on YC "leaders". The rumour is, he likes to dish it out, but like all bullies, can't take it too well himself and now, a lot of people seem to buy in to the original rumour, helped along by his actions which some think smell of "Methinks he doth protest too much".

I like to know how religious leaders, given the allegations of endemic child sexual abuse, have the moral authority to say homosexuality is an abomination?

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