Thursday, February 5, 2015

Royal Commission: Rabbi Gutnick shakes as he tells of phone call that he thought was a prank, a decision he ‘profoundly regrets’

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, a senior judge of the Sydney Beth Din rabbinical court, now worked with victims of child sexual abuse and encouraged them to go to police without fear, he told the royal commission into institutional responses into child sex abuse on Wednesday.

Gutnick said he received the phone call in 1987, when he was a teacher at the orthodox Yeshivah Centre Bondi, and it was the first time he had heard of sexual abuse there.[...]

“I then subsequently forgot about the phone call because I thought it was nothing more than children playing a prank,” he told the commission.

Gutnick became emotional as he described how in 2011 a man asked to meet him. 

“This proved to be a life-changing experience,” Gutnick said before commissioner Justice Jennifer Coate.

“At my house the man asked me if I remembered receiving a phone call from a young boy in the 1980s, during which the young boy reported Gug for child sexual abuse. He told me that it was him, and that Gug had sexually abused him.

“I was shocked. It was the first time I had come face-to-face with a victim.”

Gutnick began to shake as he told the commission at Melbourne’s county court that after speaking to the victim he resolved to do everything in his power to make sure the voices of sex abuse victims were heard. [...]

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