Ex-Australian Jewish official charged with sexually assaulting four men

SYDNEY (JTA) — A former Jewish leader from Sydney will appear in court next month on charges of sexually assaulting four men.

David Bitel, 60, a ex-member of the executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies and a prominent attorney, was arrested last week and charged with seven offenses, including rape and indecent assault on four of his male clients. The alleged incidents took place in Sydney between 1995 and 2004, police say.

Bitel was granted strict conditional bail and ordered to appear in court on Jan. 22.

The allegations relate to four men of Nepalese, Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi origin.

Bitel, whose grandparents were refugees from the pogroms of czarist Russia, was president of the Refugee Council of Australia for a decade from 1995. He has been the chairman of the Australian Refugee Foundation and been lauded for his work on behalf of refugees.

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