Several former students of Yeshivah College have lodged statements to police alleging they were molested by David Cyprys, a security guard who also taught karate. The Elwood Talmud Torah Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue, has asked Mr Cyprys to stand down from his role as a committee member on the board of management. Cyrus's crimes against children were allegedly covered up by the head of Chabad in Australia.
Synagogue asks alleged child molester to stand down
Jewel Topsfield • The Age
A SECURITY guard accused of sexually abusing boys from an Orthodox Jewish school in St Kilda East has been asked to stand down from the board of management of an Elwood synagogue until a police investigation into alleged paedophilia at the school is completed.
Several former students of Yeshivah College have lodged statements to police alleging they were molested by David Cyprys, a security guard who also taught karate.
The Elwood Talmud Torah Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue, has asked Mr Cyprys to stand down from his role as a committee member on the board of management.
President Hilton Meinrath told The Age Mr Cyprys had been a part of the synagogue for a number of years and they had never received any complaints.
Mr Meinrath said Mr Cyprys had a current government permit to work with children. But he said he had asked him to stand down voluntarily until the police investigation into alleged abuse at Yeshivah College was over. ''We will not take any further action until we know one way or another,'' Mr Meinrath said.
Mr Cyprys continued to work alongside children at Yeshivah Centre, which runs the school, despite pleading guilty to indecent assault in 1992. No conviction was recorded, but he was fined $1500 and ordered to be of good behaviour.
The former Yeshivah Centre director, Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, was told of sexual abuse complaints against Mr Cyprys as early as 1996. Mr Cyprys's private security licence states he is employed by Yeshivah Centre.
Yeshivah Centre did not respond to questions from The Age about whether it currently employs Mr Cyprys. But in a letter to parents, Yeshivah College principal Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler said the school had been advised by police that the allegations and investigations did not relate to a member of staff.
Earlier this month, Jewish community leader Manny Waks spoke to The Age about sexual abuse he says he was subjected to between 1988 and 1991. It can now be revealed Mr Cyprys is one of the alleged perpetrators.
Mr Waks said he spoke out in the hope it would encourage others to speak to police, or to seek help. Several other alleged victims are believed to have subsequently spoken to police.
Mr Waks said he wanted to hold to account both the alleged perpetrators and Yeshivah Centre, which he said betrayed victims by persuading them to remain silent.
He made his first statement to police about Mr Cyprys and another man in 1996. He also told Rabbi Groner, the centre director at the time.
In 2000, Mr Waks said, he was horrified to see Mr Cyprys was still providing security for Yeshivah Centre. ''It was just appalling. I said to Rabbi Groner: 'How can you have that person here having access to children and doing security for the synagogue?' Rabbi Groner pleaded with me not to go public with it. He said: 'I'm looking after this; he is getting help.' ''
Police wrote to former Yeshivah College students earlier this year, urging them to contact Crime Stoppers if they had been assaulted between 1989 and 1993. The investigation was mainly linked to former teacher David Kramer, who fled Australia in the early 1990s after parents complained he had sexually abused students. Police hope to extradite Kramer when he has served a seven-year prison sentence in the US for sodomising a 12-year-old boy.
However, police have also been contacted by former Yeshivah students who allege they were sexually abused by other members of the Chabad-Lubavitch community, including Mr Cyprys. The Age believes the police have not recently spoken with Mr Cyprys.
Lawyers for Mr Cyprys have served Mr Waks with a ''concerns notice'', alleging an email he wrote to 23 people titled ''sexual abuse at Yeshivah'' was defamatory.
In a letter to Mr Waks, solicitor Barrie Goldsmith alleged the email was defamatory because it imputed Mr Cyprus committed sexual abuse and was being investigated for committing sexual abuse.
Mr Waks said the letter demonstrated the ''unconscionable, unrepentant and vicious nature of this individual … I and some of his other victims look forward to our day in court.''
Mr Cyprys did not respond to inquiries from The Age.
I can add that Cyprus did not respond to an email I sent him last night, containing a different newspaper article that named him in the caption of a photo.
Cyprus emailed me several days ago asking me to remove comments about him posted by an Australian reader.
At the same time, other Australian readers linked to Chabad sent me emails claiming those comments were defamatory and that Cyprus was not the man alluded to in the weekend Australian.
You can see many comments defending Cyprus and other alleged molesters in the comments sections of previous posts on this scandal.
I'm told there are complaints of child sexual abuse at Chabad's Yeshiva College going back into the 1980s, and that Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner covered up all of these incidents, protecting the child molesters but not the students in his care.
Groner – who was hand picked for his job by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson – was also allegedly an abusive person who treated his wife very poorly.