By Joshua Levi (Australian Jewish News)
November 14, 2013
VICTIMS of child abuse in the Sydney Jewish community may be being paid to stay silent, according to NSW Police.
Eastern suburbs local area command crime manager Ana Loughman, who is leading the investigation into historical allegations of child abuse in the local community, said it has been difficult to gather evidence.
“We have information that people who may have been victimised may have entered into agreements for payment with other people not to disclose, report or come forward,” Loughman told The AJN.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) executive director Peter Wertheim said he isn’t aware of anyone that has been offered payments to remain silent, but if it is true then it would be appalling.
“The interests of justice and the protection of society from abusers demand that perpetrators be brought to account,” Wertheim said.
“We also believe that this is the best way to help past victims achieve some measure of redress and perhaps a sense of closure.”
He said the ECAJ has stated publicly on many occasions that all allegations of sexual abuse of children should be the subject of a thorough and proper investigation by the police, with the complete cooperation of the Jewish community.
“We continue to call on the families, friends and advisers of those with claims of abuse to support them in every way, and that includes taking information and allegations to the proper authorities.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller said he also wasn’t aware of anyone being paid to stay quiet.
“If these allegations are true they raise very serious ethical, moral and possibly also legal questions for those involved,” Miller said.
He said offering payment for victims to remain silent is, in his view, unacceptable.
“If perpetrators of child abuse are shielded from having to face the law, both the interests of justice and deterrence against future abuse are undermined.”
CEO of Tzedek Manny Waks said the allegations were “consistent with what we have seen happen elsewhere within the Jewish community”.
“Sadly, nothing really surprises me anymore,” Waks said.
If you have any information, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.