A flagship Chabad boys' school is under pressure to fire its former principal, who now works as a teacher and the school's student welfare officer. A judge found it was ''unfathomable'' that the rabbi was unaware of child sexual abuse in the school at the time it allegedly occurred.
Call to stand down Yeshivah teacher
Jewel Topsfield • The Age
A MELBOURNE Jewish boys' school is under pressure to stand down one of its teachers after a magistrate found it was ''unfathomable'' he was unaware of sexual abuse at the time it allegedly occurred.
Philanthropist Moishe Gordon, a long-standing member of the Yeshivah community, said he would bankroll advertisements saying Rabbi Abraham Glick must go from Yeshivah College, where he teaches Jewish studies and is head of student wellbeing.
Rabbi Glick, who was the principal of the East St Kilda school at the time of most of the alleged offences, originally said he had only recently become aware of accusations that Yeshivah security guard David Samuel Cyprys had molested children. He changed his evidence under oath in the Melbourne Magistrates Court and admitted he was aware of rumours in the early 2000s.
But Magistrate Luisa Bazzani said it was ''unfathomable'' he did not know at the time the sex abuse allegedly occurred in the 1980s.
Mr Gordon said any organisation ''worth its salt'' would have stood Rabbi Glick down a long time ago, pending the outcome of court cases. “He knew something and did nothing. That is not a person who should any longer be looking after children,” Mr Gordon said.
Cyprys has been committed to stand trial on 41 charges, including rape, allegedly committed against 12 boys between 1982 and 1991. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In a letter to the community, Yeshivah congregant Bruce Cooke said the alleged rape by Cyprys underscored the need for change at the Yeshivah Centre.
“Those who failed the children must be held to account,” Mr Cooke wrote.
“No one has resigned of their own accord. No personal apology or even approach has been made to any of the victims or their families.
“Rabbi Glick remains one of the Yeshivah Centre's highest-paid employees and most powerful individuals.”
Yeshivah College principal Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler said it was inappropriate to comment while the matter was before court.
The call for Rabbi Glick to stand down comes as a full-page advertisement in the Australian Jewish News said all rabbinic and secular authorities in Western democratic societies stated one must go to the police in the case of suspected child sex abuse. “Period. No ifs or buts. One must also co-operate fully with the police - not evading, covering up and certainly not lying. Victims and their families should have the complete support of their community - under no circumstances should they experience additional victimisation.”
The advertisement said it was sponsored by supporters of victims and their families in Melbourne and supported by prominent individuals and organisations including Liberty Victoria president Spencer Zifcak, writer and editor Hilary McPhee and the Sydney Beth Din.
Anti-abuse campaigner Manny Waks said: “The fact it has got to this stage, where supporters of child sex abuse victims and their families feel the need to take out paid ads in the media to combat the ongoing abuse from a fringe sector within our community, is a terrible blight on the entire Jewish community.”