Senior Australian Chabad Rabbi Intimidated Child Sex Abuse Victim, Royal Commission Hears
Australia’s top rabbi – who is also a police chaplain – tried to silence a victim who called on Jewish leaders to confront the child sexual abuse crisis telling him to “remain silent,” the victim told Australia’s Royal commission. The victim also said that three weeks after one of his abusers, Daniel “Gug” Hayman, was convicted, Hayman he was honored as a sponsor at a Chabad Yeshiva Centre event. “Rather than distancing yourselves from him, you embrace him,” the angered victim testified.
The Herald Sun reports:
AUSTRALIA’s top Rabbi tried to silence a victim who called on Jewish leaders to confront the child sexual abuse crisis telling him to “remain silent”, it has been claimed.
The victim, known only as AVB, told the royal commission yesterday respected rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant told him he had no right to speak up over the abuse crisis.
Rabbi Kluwgant is the president of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australia and a current Victoria Police chaplain.
AVB said after the call for action he was bullied and ostracised from the orthodox Chabad community and vilified by senior rabbis.
He said he had emailed a group of influential figures connected to Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre calling on them to confront the issue of child sexual abuse in 2011.
He said the email highlighted the importance of supporting victims and encouraging them to cooperate with police.
AVB, who was molested by Yeshivah employees Daniel Hayman and David Cyrprys in Melbourne and Sydney, said after sending the email Rabbi Kluwgant told him he had no right to get involved. It is understood Rabbi Kluwgant did not know the man was a victim of abuse at the time.
AVB said Rabbi Kluwgant highlighted his position at Victoria Police in a way that made him feel “threatened and intimidated”.
“I feel my soul has been taken away,” AVB said.
“[Child abuse is] the most violent, destructive thing you can do to a child. You rip away their innocence, then you put them through a court process where they sit there and have to prove something happened to them.
“Bring back my soul by treating me like a person, acknowledging what happened to me was wrong, that failures were made. Give me back what was taken by embracing and accepting — I have done nothing wrong.”
AVB said three weeks after one of his abusers, Hayman, was convicted of sex offences he was honoured as a sponsor of a Yeshivah community event.
“Rather than distancing yourselves from him, you embrace him,” he said.
“Who is the pariah? Who is the one that’s welcome and the one that’s not?”
Rabbi Kluwgant said he couldn’t formally comment until he had given evidence to the commission.