Manny Waks, a former student at Yeshivah College, who claimed in 2011 that he was molested by two separate perpetrators.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - The tightly knit Chabad Lubavitch community in Melbourne has been rocked by claims about the role of the community's rabbi in alleged instances of child abuse at an Orthodox boys school.
At the center of the crisis is David Cyprys, a former security guard contracted by Melbourne's Yeshivah College, which also houses the headquarters of the local Chabad movement.
Cyprys, 44, appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court last week, contesting 53 charges of gross indecency toward minors, including six counts of rape allegedly committed between 1982 and 1991.
There are at least 12 alleged victims, including two who now live in America.
Court documents state they were assaulted at various locations, including Cyprys' van, Yeshivah College, Gan Yisrael youth camps and ritual baths.
In a dramatic week in court, testimonies were made public about the alleged role of New York-born Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, the spiritual leader of Melbourne's Yeshivah College and head of the Chabad movement in the city, who died in 2008.
Rumors have long been circulating that Rabbi Groner, who was sent here by the late Lubavitcher rebbe in the 1950s to spearhead Chabad in Melbourne, had failed to report allegations of sexual abuse to authorities. Last year, police accused Yeshivah College leaders of "lying to police" and "trying to cover up sex abuse claims."
Rabbi Avrohom Glick, Yeshivah College principal between 1986 and 2007, changed his testimony under oath last week to say that Rabbi Groner had told him on two occasions the names of individuals who were allegedly molested.
Rabbi Glick, who still teaches at the college, also said that an alleged victim reported his story to him. Previously, Glick had said he had not heard any claims by alleged victims.
Court documents released last week revealed that parents of alleged victims confronted Rabbi Groner in the 1980s. One mother said in a witness statement that when she called Groner to tell him of her son's alleged abuse, he replied, "'Oh no, I thought we cured him.' By this I was sure that Rabbi Groner meant this sort of thing had happened before with David Cyprys."
Rabbi Groner, whose brother Leib was the Lubavitcher rebbe's personal secretary, was widely credited with "putting Chabad on the map in Australia," according to Yossi Aron, an Orthodox historian who is writing a book on Yeshivah.