Rabbi Knew of Molestation Rumours

By Jewel Topsfield (The Age)
May 15, 2012

The ex-principal of a Melbourne Jewish school has changed his evidence about his knowledge of alleged paedophilia and conceded he was aware in the early 2000s of rumours that a former security guard had molested children.

The former security guard at Yeshivah College, David Samuel Cyprys, is contesting 53 charges - including six counts of rape - allegedly committed against 12 boys between 1982 and 1991.

In a witness statement, former principal Rabbi Abraham Glick said he had only recently become aware of accusations against Cyprys. He also said Yeshivah Centre director Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner had never divulged to him the names of alleged sex abuse victims.

But under oath in the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday, Rabbi Glick said he wanted to change this statement. ''I'm making that amendment because I said Rabbi Groner never divulged the names of individuals and I am now saying that is not 100 per cent accurate,'' Rabbi Glick said.

''There were two times when he named individuals.''

He said Rabbi Groner told him in the early 2000s that either an alleged victim or his father had complained that he had been sexually abused.

Rabbi Glick, who still teaches at Yeshivah College, said he had suspected at the time that Cyprys was the alleged molester. ''It's a small community - you can hardly sneeze without everybody knowing about it,'' he said.

''There were all sorts of rumours flying around, and I suspected at the time it was David Cyprys. Rabbi Groner may even have told me it was David Cyprys, I don't recall.''

Magistrate Luisa Bazzani asked whether the rumours had resulted in a requirement that Cyprys be supervised around children at activities such as camps and martial arts lessons, where the abuse is alleged to have occurred.

But Rabbi Glick said Cyprys had no longer been involved in these activities when the rumours were circulating. ''He was already married. I don't think he was involved in camps or anything of that sort.''

However, he said Cyprys had been a security guard at the Yeshivah Centre in St Kilda East, which includes the school, for a few years from 2000.

''I did not believe that Rabbi Groner would have allowed him to act as a security guard unless he felt that he was currently not a threat to anyone,'' Rabbi Glick said in his statement. He said that since making his statement he remembered receiving a call from Rabbi Groner shortly before his death in 2008.

''He said to me that he had been approached by a mother who advised him her child had been molested by David Cyprys. She was agitated, she was threatening to take police action. He called me to ask me if I had knowledge of that. I said I had no knowledge of that.''

Rabbi Glick said he also wanted to clarify his statement that he had no recollection of any child or parent making a complaint to him about Cyprys molesting children. In fact, he said, he had no recollection of complaints made while he was principal from 1986 to 2007, but last year a man had advised him he had been molested at a camp when he was a child.

''What I'm clarifying is that report to me was made to me last year when I was no longer principal. It wouldn't be true to say the report was never made to me,'' he said.

Meanwhile, David Kramer, a former friend of Cyprys, said in a witness statement that Cyprys had told him he was having a relationship with an alleged victim, who was aged between 11 and 14 when the alleged abuse occurred. (Mr Kramer is not the same man as the convicted paedophile and former Yeshivah College teacher of the same name, whom police are seeking to extradite from the US.)

''What he said was sickening to me but appeared normal to him. The way David approached the subject was as if he was speaking about an adult female,'' he said.

Mr Kramer said in the statement that Cyprys had told him Rabbi Groner was aware of the situation.

The case before Ms Bazzani continues.