Yeshiva 'Turned Blind Eye to Sex Abuse Claims'

cyprysBy Kate Legge (The Australian)
September 7, 2011

Members of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community failed to protect children at Yeshivah College from security guard and karate instructor David Cyprys by ignoring sexual abuse allegations, police told Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday.

Mr Cyprys, 43, faces 13 charges of gross indecency with a child and 16 counts of indecent assault between 1984 and 1991. The youngest of his 12 alleged victims was aged 7 at the time.

Mr Cyprys did not enter a plea and faces stringent bail conditions. Detective Senior Constable Lisa Metcher told the court Mr Cyprys posed a significant flight risk because of his connections with people who "would assist him to leave the country".

The court was told the investigating taskforce received between five and 10 phone calls daily from anonymous complainants wrestling with whether to make sworn statements.

The alleged offences occurred in Melbourne, and in Sydney when students went on school camps.

Police said Mr Cyprys ran a locksmith business from his home and was still involved with the security of Yeshivah College. The school has denied Mr Cyprys is an employee.

Constable Metcher said members of the Yeshivah community had supported Mr Cyprys "by not doing anything" when allegations were first canvassed.

In September 1992, Mr Cyprys pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent assault against a former teenage student at the school and was released on a good behaviour bond. Police interviewed a senior administrator at the college at the time this complaint was made.

"They were well aware of these matters," Constable Metcher said of school authorities. "They have failed to act in any way to protect children from matters that have been swept under the carpet."

Pressed by Mr Cyprys's lawyer, Alex Lewenberg, to identify the accused's supporters, the detective said: "They're from the Yeshivah community."

Magistrate Luisa Bazzani took seriously police concerns Mr Cyprys might pose a flight risk by imposing bail conditions that included surety of $50,000, the surrender of any passport or travel documents, daily reporting to police, no contact with children under 16 unless supervised by child protection authorities and a ban excluding him from a 100m zone near Yeshivah College and any primary or secondary school.