By Peter Mitchell (The Australian)
April 10, 2013
A prominent Los Angeles Jewish welfare group has rejected an Australian media report it shielded a self-confessed pedophile being investigated for abusing boys in Sydney.
The report in Fairfax newspapers on Wednesday alleged Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles was harbouring the man, who was not named for legal reasons.
The assaults, said to have happened at Bondi's Yeshiva school in the 1980s, are being investigated by NSW detectives.
"The child abuse suspect at the centre of Australian media reports was neither a client nor an employee of Jewish Family Service or its Aleinu program," the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles said in a statement.
"Because of the controversy surrounding this issue, Jewish Family Service needs to set the record straight."
The Jewish Family Service said the Aleinu Family Resource Center pioneered a premier child abuse education and awareness program, Safety Kid, and the employee identified in the Fairfax report, Debbie Fox, was a nationally recognised expert on the prevention of child abuse within the orthodox community.
The report referred to an email Ms Fox allegedly wrote to the alleged pedophile in 2011 that said: "I have no idea how anyone found out - but calls are coming daily from many sources. So far, we've been protecting you."
The Jewish Family Service said Ms Fox was contacted by a victim requesting assistance connecting with the local Rabbinic Council in Los Angeles, and at the victim's request, she served as a liaison between the council, the victim, and the alleged perpetrator.
"There was nothing reportable to law enforcement because Ms Fox was never made directly aware of specific incidents that had occurred in Australia decades earlier, nor did the alleged perpetrator admit to her to any crimes or specific actions," the statement said.
"At no time did Aleinu staff ever shield a suspect from local or international law enforcement in any way whatsoever, nor would they ever do so.
"Rather, Aleinu staff follows all mandated reporting laws to the letter, working closely with local law enforcement, without exception."