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Former Chabad volunteer in Australia pleads guilty to child assault

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – An Australia native living in Los Angeles pleaded guilty to indecent assault on a child while he was volunteering at a Chabad-run camp in Sydney in the 1980s.

Daniel “Gug” Hayman pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Sydney court to one count of indecent assault as part of a plea bargain. It was the first case of child sexual abuse in the city’s Jewish community to go to trial.

Hayman was charged with two counts of gross indecency relating to the alleged sexual abuse of two boys in the mid-1980s while working as a volunteer at a camp associated with the Yeshiva Center in Bondi, a Sydney suburb, but the charges were dropped as part of the plea deal. In a separate trial, Hayman was acquitted Thursday on a technicality of an alleged act of indecency against a female complainant.

He was arrested late last year after Tzedek, an advocacy group for Jewish victims of child sexual abuse, tipped off police that he was returning to Sydney for his mother’s funeral.

Hayman will be sentenced on May 27.

A spokesman for the Yeshiva Center, which houses Chabad headquarters in Sydney, declined to comment this week, referring to the statement it released when Hayman was arrested last year. Although Hayman was involved with the Yeshiva Center, the center said, he was never an employee or teacher with responsibilities for children.

“Sydney’s Yeshiva Center should now clarify its position regarding what it knew in relation to allegations against Mr. Hayman,” said Manny Waks, chief executive of Tzedek. “We have now achieved another important milestone: the first child sexual abuse-related trial involving the Jewish community outside of Victoria.”

In Melbourne last year, three men were jailed for sexually molesting Jewish children, including two former employees of Chabad’s headquarters there.

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