Saturday, November 24, 2012
Another major Jewish organization in Australia is embroiled in a child sex abuse scandal, adding to the trauma triggered by recent revelations of similar cases involving students at two schools in Melbourne, run by Chabad and Adass Israel, respectively.
Because of a suppression order issued by an Australian court, the name of the organization, the alleged sexual abuser and the alleged victims cannot be disclosed.
The Forward can, however, reveal that a man faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on more than 25 counts of child sex abuse, including indecent acts with a minor and sexual intercourse with a child.
Despite the involvement of the unnamed Jewish organization in the case, the defendant is not believed to be Jewish. He entered a “not guilty” plea and is scheduled to face court again in December, with a trial date expected to be set for next year.
The alleged sexual abuse is understood to have taken place during an overseas trip about a decade ago.
A representative for the Office of Public Prosecutions also confirmed to the Forward that there are multiple complainants. Not all of them are believed to be Jewish.
Manny Waks, who broke his silence last year about the alleged sexual abuse he suffered two decades ago as a student at Chabad’s Yeshivah College, in Melbourne, said: “It’s devastating to learn of the additional serious allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-up within our community. These new revelations highlight that instances of child sexual abuse are not unique to one segment within our community.”
News of this latest scandal came just days after Prime Minister Julia Gillard called for a royal commission of inquiry into the “insidious evil acts” of institutional child sexual abuse across religious denominations in Australia. Royal commissions are established in Australia when the judicial system is deemed to have failed. Although the terms of reference have yet to be finalized, they have powers of subpoena.
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