Responsibility to children 'existed in theory' rabbi tells inquiry
12 February 2015
THE RABBI who presided over Melbourne’s Yeshivah College as principal at a time when staff were abusing children says his responsibility to ensure students’ safety existed “in theory” but was never spelt out.
Rabbi Abraham Glick joined Yeshivah College — part of Melbourne’s Orthodox Chabad community — as a teacher in 1970, becoming head of Jewish studies from 1974 and principal from 1988 to 2007.
He was involved in a decision to send teacher and rabbi David Kramer to Israel in 1992 when an abuse allegation was made, and also served as principal while Yeshivah worker David Cyprys was abusing boys in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Rabbi Glick today told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he only knew “in principle, in theory” that as principal he had a responsibility to be aware of issues that might put children at risk of abuse.
“It was never spelt out as such,” he said.
“I suppose at some level one could argue that yes, as principal that was my responsibility. If one understands the way Yeshivah actually operated it’s not so clear,” he said.
Asked if he had known throughout his teaching career that abuse should be reported to police, Rabbi Glick said no and that he was “not sure” if he would have reported abuse complaints to police if they arose.
“I didn’t think that it was really an issue,” he said.
“The situation never arose. It’s not a conscious decision that I would have ever made — ‘don’t report it to the police.’”
Rabbi Glick agreed sending an alleged perpetrator overseas could hinder police investigation and criminal charges, but said that was “not necessarily” the case for Kramer, who Yeshivah sent to Israel in 1992.
“He could be extradited, which he was.”
Kramer was not extradited to Australia until 2012, after he had moved to the US and been convicted and jailed for further child sex abuse offences.
The hearing continues.
Originally published at The Australian.