Thursday, October 27, 2011
Rabbi Joseph Gutnick knew of child sex claims, says bodyguard
JEWISH community leader Joseph Gutnick's personal bodyguard has told a Melbourne court his employer was aware of child sex allegations against Yeshivah College security guard David Cyprys in 2003.
Mr Gutnick's bodyguard, Adam Wright, was giving evidence in a hearing to determine whether Cyprys, 43, who has been charged with 29 child sex offences relating to students from Yeshivah, should have his bail revoked.
He said Mr Gutnick had knowledge as early as 2003 of alleged misconduct by Cyprus.
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Mr Wright told the Melbourne Magistrates Court he began working for the mining magnate that year and soon after met Cyprys, whom Mr Gutnick did not want around his own children, because of the allegations circulating in the tight-knit community.
''There was an issue with [Cyprys] … he wasn't happy with him being around,'' he said.
Mr Wright told the court he had seen Cyprys crossing Hotham Street in St Kilda East about 9 or 9.30pm on Thursday, October 13, in the presence of two children.
Cyprys's bail conditions prohibit unsupervised contact with children under 16.
Mr Wright also said a member of the Jewish community had told him Cyprys had been attending the synagogue attached to Yeshivah Gedolah - a tertiary college that is also known as the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand.
Under the terms of bail, Cyprys must not go within 100 metres of a school. The court heard that the college was typically for students who had finished VCE.
When Cyprys was arrested last month, the court heard he had been protected by his community, making it difficult for police to uncover allegations against him.
He faces charges relating to 12 boys, aged seven to 17, between 1984 and 1991. Since his arrest, up to six more alleged victims have come forward.
Detective Senior Constable Lisa Metcher told the court more charges could be laid.
The court heard from a number of witnesses disputing Mr Wright's account of the night of October 13, including Cyprys's brother and sister-in-law.
They said that he was at their home - near the intersection where Mr Wright allegedly saw Cyprys crossing the road - celebrating the Jewish holiday Sukkot until after midnight.
A guest at the celebration, Lauren Sabel, said when she arrived about 8.30pm Cyprys was already there.
Magistrate Luisa Bazzani refused the application because she believed Mr Wright had been mistaken when he thought he saw Cyprys.
The court also heard an application to amend Cyprys's bail to allow him to attend his usual synagogue, which is co-located with a school.
In a letter tendered to the court, Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick asked that Cyprys be allowed to attend the Elwood Talmud Torah congregation services so that he can remain properly observant.
Ms Bazzani ruled Cyprys could attend the synagogue when the school was not operating.
But the community appears divided on the issue, with the school, Yesodei Hatorah College, writing to parents in August to notify them of discussions with the synagogue to prevent Cyprys attending there.