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Aussie paper rues mention of school molestation

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — An Australian newspaper apologized for referring to allegations of child molestation at a fervently Orthodox school in an article about the death of an American visitor.

The Age, Melbourne’s main broadsheet, printed an apology Tuesday for “any hurt caused” in its July 24 article — headlined “Motorcycle victim was Holocaust survivor” — about the death of Yitzchok Rotenberg, a fervently Orthodox Jew from New York who was visiting family in Melbourne. Rotenberg, 71, was struck by a motorcycle while crossing a street in Melbourne on July 22.

The article made reference to the scandal earlier this year surrounding the principal of the Adass Israel girls’ school who “fled to Israel ahead of allegations of molesting teenage girls at the school.”

John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, in a letter to Age editor Paul Ramadge blasted the “tabloid journalism” that “smeared a grieving family by gratuitously connecting their name to what supposedly occurred at the Adass school.”

He then took the matter to the Australian Press Council, and following further discussions the apology was printed in Tuesday’s editions.

“I am satisfied with this apology and now consider this particular matter closed,” Searle said in a statement released Tuesday, noting that Ramadge had recently addressed a public meeting of the Jewish community that was “open and frank.”

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