Aussie Jewish leader claims abuse years ago in day school

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A senior Jewish leader claimed that he was sexually abused when he was a student at an Orthodox Jewish boys’ school in Melbourne.

Manny Waks, president of the Jewish community in Canberra and a vice president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, claimed July 8 that he was molested by a figure "in a position of power and authority" at Yeshivah College when he was a student there some 20 years ago.

Police reopened an investigation last month into allegations of sexual abuse at the school between 1989 and 1993.

News of the potential release next year from an American prison of David Kramer, a former Jewish studies teacher at Yeshivah College, reportedly has spurred authorities to appeal for alleged victims to come forward.

Some have suggested that Australia may try to have Kramer extradited if charges against him are presented.

Kramer fled to Israel in the 1990s and then the United States, where he was jailed for seven years for molesting a 12-year-old boy at a youth camp at a synagogue in St. Louis, Mo.

Waks, 35, said he was not abused by Kramer.

"The most important people in this tragedy are the many victims that have been abused and betrayed by the perpetrators and Yeshivah Centre many times over," Waks said in a statement. "The victims need and deserve justice and closure."

Waks grew up in a Chabad family with 16 siblings, but joined the Israeli army when he was 18 and rejected his Orthodox upbringing.

 

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