No End In Sight

by Derryn Hinch
December 11, 2013

THERE MUST BE CHILD abuse victims in big cities and small towns all over Australia right now who are thinking: Is there anybody I can turn to? Is any child safe? Is there any person in authority I can trust?

Daily, we read more stories about betrayal. Shocking stories about adults abusing their positions of trust, abusing their power, using their positions to prey on children.

And it is not only current children. It is those women (and men) now in their forties and fifties and older who had their innocence stolen and their lives ripped from them who have kept the awful secrets hidden. Not forgetting the hundreds, maybe thousands, who felt there was no lifeboat, nobody to trust, and killed themselves while priests changed parishes to continue their predatory behaviour.

In Sydney right now, there is heart-wrenching public evidence at the Royal Commission into the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing program.

But it is not just the Catholic hierarchy which covered up abuse and transferred paedophile priests. The federal Royal Commission and the recent Victorian parliamentary inquiry have catalogued crimes and cover ups in the Anglican church and the Salvation Army.

There have been cases involving the Salesians at Rupertswood which showed a venal cult existed there amongst the Brothers.

And I have written a lot (thanks to a brave man called Manny Waks) about cover-ups of sex crimes against Jewish students at the prestigious Yeshivah College.

Only recently I wrote an editorial under the heading Skullcap Skulduggery.

I pointed out that Waks and his family had suffered persecution ( in a community that knows more than most about persecution) after he started an advocacy group called Tzedek for Jewish child sex abuse victims in their own Orthodox college in St. Kilda.

Waks claimed that, for decades, a code of secrecy protected paedophiles at the college. He insisted that a paedophile rabbi was not only allowed to leave Australia without having his crimes reported to Police, but college authorities were complicit in that escape. Even paid for his flight to Israel.

The child molesting rabbi was David Kramer. He went on to work in the United States where, no surprise, he molested another unsuspecting student.

Kramer eventually was extradited to Australia where, earlier this year, he e pleaded guilty in Melbourne’s Magistrate’s Court to five counts of indecent assault and one of committing an indecent act in the presence of a child under 16 when he worked at Yeshivah College in the early 1990s.

At a County Court sentencing hearing, all the sordid cover-up details came out. Manny Waks was right.

The former principal at Yeshivah, Rabbi Abraham Glick, admitted he refused to report Kramer to Police because he was concerned for the teacher’s welfare. (I thought he was more concerned with his own, and the college’s, reputation.)

The Catholics had perfected the cover-up by transferring paedophile priests to other innocent parishes. The Jewish hierarchy went one better.

Harry Cooper, a member of the school executive, offered to pay for Kramer’s ticket to Israel out of college funds, if he left immediately. This was after more victims had complained of sexual assaults. Obviously, Rabbi Glick and the whole executive agreed with the exit plan.

The father of two victims at the college had formally complained to Rabbi Glick who refused to take action in the 1990s. The County Court was told the school principal advised the father he wouldn’t even suspend Kramer from the teaching staff because he was concerned for his welfare.

To hell with the welfare of his victims or future victims. What hope did those kids have? Here was their rabbi, their school principal, siding with their abuser.

I pointed out earlier this year that although Rabbi Glick was no longer principal at Yeshivah he still held a senior role at the college as head of the council that presides over the religious ethos of the Yeshivah Centre. I said he should be sacked.

Well, Rabbi Glick is back in the news and this time he has been stood down after allegations that he repeatedly raped a young student at the college in the 1970s.

(A police spokeswoman said a 67-year-old man from Balaclava was arrested and interviewed on Monday and released pending further inquiries.)

Only recently, the college principal, Yehoshua Smukler, wrote to the ultra-Orthodox community reassuring them that police had said no staff members were under investigation. The latest allegations? He said the centre only learnt of them late last week.

He said although ‘Rabbi Glick is a highly respected staff member and community figure’, he had been stood down and had not attended the campus or had contact with students.

In his police statement the alleged victim said he was eight when he was lured to the worship centre and raped and had a ‘clear memory of the pain and grunting’. He said he was raped several times and forced to perform oral sex, and claimed the rabbi also abused another victim.

‘After I was raped I was in shock and I went to the office and I was shivering and crying. I didn't know what rape was because I was eight years old. I didn't know what sex was, so I didn't have the words to say what happened’.

Rabbi Glick was arrested by Task Force Sano which was set up to work with the Victorian inquiry into how religious organisations responded to child sexual abuse.

In its report last month, the parliamentary committee said Task Force Sano had launched 135 new investigations.

Watch this space.

Footnote: One of the worst cases ever of child sex abuse, anywhere, involves an Australian paedophile who has just been jailed in the United States. I warn you in advance this footnote is not for the faint-hearted.

Queenslander Peter Truong, 36, bought, yes bought, a new-born baby boy. Prosecutors said he bought the baby from ‘a woman in a foreign country’ (believed to be Russia). For the next six years, Truong and his male partner – a 42-year-old Queenslander named Mark Newton – transported the little boy around the world to engage in sex with at least another 12 men.

The main reason I am reporting this to you is because of where these evil men were sentenced and what the sentence was. In Indianapolis, Newton was jailed for 40 years. Truong was jailed for 30.

The judge said Truong got a shorter sentence because he cooperated with police to lead them to other paedophiles and because of his own history of childhood abuse.

When did any child molester in Australia get anything remotely like those sentences?