Sunday, June 23, 2013

Expose of Sex Abuse in Australian yeshivos

Australian Age   A senior Australian rabbi who failed to stop an alleged paedophile from sexually abusing boys at a Sydney Jewish school said some of the man's victims may have consented to sexual relations and warned that involving police now would ''open a can of worms''.

Former senior Sydney rabbi Boruch Dov Lesches, who is now one of New York's leading ultra-Orthodox figures, made his remarks in a recent conversation with a person familiar with a series of alleged child rapes and molestation carried out by one man associated with Sydney's Yeshiva community in the 1980s. Rabbi Lesches' comments are likely to increase scrutiny of Australia's senior rabbinical leaders' handling of child sex abuse cases, amid allegations of cover-ups, victim intimidation and the hiding of perpetrators overseas.
In a legally recorded telephone conversation heard by Fairfax Media and provided to NSW detectives investigating the Sydney Yeshiva cases, Rabbi Lesches admitted to counselling the alleged abuser upon learning that he had sexually abused a boy a decade his junior. Rabbi Lesches said he told the man that both he and the boy would be forced to leave the Yeshiva community if he could not control his urges. [...]

Outspoken Melbourne Jewish sexual abuse campaigner and founder of victim support group Tzedek, Manny Waks, said Rabbi Lesches' comments ''unfortunately seem to be consistent with the approach of many senior Orthodox Jewish figures in the community who for decades have been more concerned with silencing victims and protecting perpetrators as well as their institutions, rather than with protecting innocent children''.

Mr Waks said his organisation would provide the royal commission into religious groups' handling of child sex abuse cases with full details of what has been happening for decades in Australian Jewish communities.

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