By Jewel Topsfield (The Age)
September 7, 2011
Prominent members of the Melbourne Jewish community lied to the police, covered up an alleged sex scandal and protected a man accused of repeatedly molesting children from a school in St Kilda East, a court has been told.
Locksmith and security guard David Samuel Cyprys, 43, was yesterday charged with 16 counts of indecent assault and 13 counts of gross indecency claimed to have been committed between 1984 and 1991.
Twelve alleged victims - who were aged between seven and 17 at the time the crimes are said to have occurred - knew Cyprys through Yeshivah College, where he worked as a security guard. Some also took karate lessons taught by Cyprys after school.
Detective Senior Constable Lisa Metcher said Cyprys was supported by ''high-standing members of the Jewish community'' who did not say anything when the alleged offending was canvassed. ''They failed to act in any way to protect children and the matter has been swept under the carpet,'' Senior Constable Metcher told Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Asked on what she based this, Senior Constable Metcher said: ''Based on the lies told to police and information that has been twisted and covered up.''
She said there was a high risk these supporters would help Cyprys flee the country if he was released on bail. Cyprys had told her he was ''unable to locate his passport''.
''The accused is still connected with people who would probably make it possible for him to leave the country if that was what was required for him to do,'' she said.
The court heard that five of the alleged victims were from Victoria and another five were from New South Wales. Police were travelling to the United States to obtain statements from another two.
Most of the alleged offences occurred in Melbourne, but some allegedly took place at Yeshivah school camps in NSW.
In 1992, Cyprys pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault. He was fined $1500 but no conviction was recorded.
Senior Constable Metcher said the Moorabbin sexual offences taskforce was receiving between five and 10 phone calls a day in connection with the case and it was possible that publicity after the court case would generate more. ''We believe there are other victims and complainants that will come forward,'' she said. ''A lot of anonymous complainants are still deciding whether to come forward and make a statement.''
The court was also told of concerns that Cyprys lived with his 14-year-old son and spent time living with his new partner, who had three children aged four, eight and 13. ''These children have been subject to child protection notification,'' Senior Constable Metcher said.
The prosecution asked that any bail conditions ban Cyprys from unsupervised contact with any child under 16, including his own two children and three step-children.
However, defence lawyer Alex Lewenberg said a parent should not lose the right to have contact with their children unless the children were in danger.
''There is the entitlement of the child to see their parent. Whatever condition might be imposed we ask permission to facilitate continued contact with the son and daughter,'' Mr Lewenberg said.
He also opposed a surety being imposed as a bail condition, saying Cyprys had been ostracised in the community as a result of media coverage.
''His ability to secure surety is limited if non-existent,'' Mr Lewenberg said.
However, magistrate Luisa Bazzani said she would only grant Cyprys bail on the condition he pay a $50,000 surety to ensure his return to court.
She ordered him to report to police in St Kilda every day, not to contact any prosecution witnesses other than police and not to leave Victoria.
A further bail condition was that he have no contact with any child under 16 without exception unless supervised by child protection authorities.
This included contact with his children and the children of his partner. ''It is up to the Department of Human Services to nominate an appropriate supervisor,'' Ms Bazzani said.
Ms Bazzani said Cyprys would not be released on bail until he surrendered his passport and any other travel documents to police.
Cyprys was remanded to reappear on December 2.