"The inquiry will examine whether the concept of mesirah has influenced the attitude of rabbinical leaders and community members in their treatment of victims of abuse who participate in the criminal process."
The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
[Chabad's] Yeshivah Melbourne tried to "cure" serial sex offender David Cyprys and continued to employ him more than 20 years after victims reported he had sexually abused them, a Royal Commission has heard.
The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse began its second hearing in Melbourne on Monday, focusing on the ultra-orthodox Jewish organisation Yeshivah.
The two-week hearing at the County Court will examine Yeshivah Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi's response to child sexual abuse allegations against their former employees, convicted sex offenders David Cyprys, David Kramer and Daniel Hayman.
Cyprys was found guilty of indecent assault in 1992 and released on a good behaviour bond. In 2013, the County Court found him guilty of five charges of rape, five charges of indecent assault, attempted indecent assault, and two counts of gross indecency. He is still serving his eight-year prison sentence for these crimes.
One of Cyprys' victims, known as AVA, said he was sexually abused between the ages of 14 and 17, when he took private kung fu lessons from Cyprys.
"There is no doubt in my mind Yeshivah College and some of its rabbis were aware of David's penchant for young boys," he told the commission.
His mother, known as AVQ, said she first reported her son's abuse in 1986 to the-then director of Yeshivah Centre [and of Chabad in Melbourne], Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner.
Rabbi Groner, who died in 2008, responded, "Oh no, I thought we cured him," she said. Rabbi Groner assured her he would "take care of it. It will be fine."
About 2002, AVQ called the rabbi again when she learned that her son had continued to be abused by Cyprys years later. He asked her if AVA was going to the police, and she responded "probably".
"What do you need me for then?" he replied.
AVA said Cyprys should not have been allowed near children at Yeshivah until 2011: "I don't care how cured they thought he was."
Manny Waks, who was also abused by Cyprys, told the commission he had confronted Rabbi Groner in the 2000s about why Cyprys continued to be employed as a security guard at Yeshivah despite abuse allegations against him from 1996.
Rabbi Groner told Mr Waks that he was "personally dealing with it" and that Cyprys was receiving professional help.
Other victims and their family members are also expected to give evidence they were ostracised by rabbinical leaders and the Jewish community after they reported abuse.
Counsel assisting the Royal Commission, Maria Gerace, said in her opening address on Monday that witnesses would give evidence that Chabad communities - who strictly observe Orthodox Judaism - were "insular and set apart from the wider secular community".
"Witnesses are expected to give evidence that historically, there was no sex education whilst growing up and family members and members of the community did not openly discuss the issue of sex," she said.
"I anticipate witnesses will also give evidence that a person's standing in the community and community attitudes to a member can affect, positively or adversely, a member's prospect of marriage and economic opportunities."
The commission would also examine the role the religious concept mesirah, which prohibits Jewish people from handing over another Jew to a secular or non-Rabbinic authority. Mesirah developed in response to the historical persecution of Jews.
"The inquiry will examine whether the concept of mesirah has influenced the attitude of rabbinical leaders and community members in their treatment of victims of abuse who participate in the criminal process," she said.
The Australian Broadcasting Company news adds:
The role a Jewish code of silence played in the handling of abuse allegations at the Yeshivah centres in Melbourne and Sydney will be examined by the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
Sitting in Melbourne, the inquiry heard senior rabbis within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community linked to the Yeshivah College and Centre in East St Kilda and Bondi would give evidence into their handling of allegations and the treatment of abuse victims and their families.
Part of the examination will focus on the concept of Mesirah, the religious code dictating Jewish people do not report or "hand over" other Jewish people to the authorities.
The inquiry has heard that victims and their families have been criticised and ostracised by the their community to this day.
Counsel assisting the commission Maria Gerace said evidence would be given about abuse perpetrated by three convicted child abusers, David Cyprys, David Kramer and Daniel Hayman, and will look at when Jewish leaders first heard of allegations, and their responses.
The inquiry will also look into the departure of Kramer from Australia days after accusations of abuse were raised with the college.
Kramer is a former teacher from Yeshivah College in Melbourne who served jail terms in both Melbourne and the United States for child abuse.
Cyprys is serial child abuser currently serving an eight-year jail term in Melbourne.
Hayman received a 19-month suspended sentence for abuse he carried out at Yeshivah Bondi.
The commission heard parents complained about Cyprys to the rabbis at Melbourne's Yeshivah centre in 1992.
One of Cyprys's victims told the inquiry he was groomed by Cyprus in the 1980s while a student at the Yeshivah College.
He was abused in the ritual bathhouse and in classrooms.
The inquiry heard when the victim's mother complained to the then head of the Yeshivah centre, Rabbi Davod Groner, he replied: "I thought we'd fixed him" and told her "he'd take care of it."
The victim, referred to as AVA, said Cyprys once asked him if he knew of any others boys who were interested "in what we're doing".
The abuse was reported to police in 2002.
The inquiry will also examine further allegations of abuse and ongoing investigations.