(JTA) — A liberal Orthodox Jewish day school in New York City has launched an investigation after a former assistant principal was accused of sexually abusing a student in the 1970s.
Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy in the Bronx, known as SAR, informed its community of the investigation in an email Tuesday night. A former student recently emailed the school alleging abuse committed by Stanley Rosenfeld, the school’s former assistant principal for general studies.
“As painful as this is for our school community, the pain for any of the victims of abuse is far greater,” read the email, signed by Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, principal of the elementary and middle school, and Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, the high school principal. “We are committed to being supportive to any victims of abuse, to understanding the abuse they suffered and the harm it has caused them, and to learning from our past experiences and using them to inform our present practices to protect our community.”
Rosenfeld, now 84, worked at the school in the 1970s. At the time, SAR ended at eighth grade. Its high school was founded in 2003.
In 2001, Rosenfeld was convicted of two counts of child molestation for abusing a 12-year-old bar mitzvah student while serving as cantor of Temple Am David in Warwick, Rhode Island. He was given a suspended sentence but served 18 months in prison after violating probation.
SAR has hired an external firm, T&M Protection Resources, to investigate the claims. The school is encouraging people to come forward with any information they have about abuse committed by Rosenfeld. It expects the investigation to take several months.
“We are committed to a thorough and comprehensive independent investigative process about the abuses perpetrated by Mr. Rosenfeld as well as what may have been known at the time or more recently,” Krauss wrote JTA directly in an email. “At this point, it would be premature to speculate on the findings of this effort.”
The community email noted that in recent years, the school implemented policies to prevent sexual abuse and harassment.