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Investigation of sexual abuse at Jewish school points to jailed teacher

JTA

June 22, 2011 | 10:12 am

Police are investigating allegations of sexual abuse at an Orthodox boys’ school in Melbourne by a former teacher currently jailed in the United States.

David Kramer fled Australia for the United States after accusations he had sexually abused boys at Yeshivah College between 1989 and 1993.

Kramer, 50, was jailed in St. Louis in 2008, sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a 12-year-old boy at a local synagogue there.

Victoria Police may try to extradite Kramer when he is released, which could be as early as next year, according to a report Wednesday in The Age newspaper.

It is understood that Kramer, a Jewish studies teacher, was asked to leave the college after teachers were made aware of the allegations. But the allegations were never reported to authorities at the time.

In an open letter to the community, Yeshivah College parent Menachem Vorchheimer said many were aware of the allegations “for an extended period of time.”

“We have a duty to confront sexual abuse in our community,” he wrote. “Ongoing silence is not an option.”

One Orthodox insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told JTA: “There’s no pressure any more to keep quiet. The Orthodox community has changed its attitude. The days of keeping it quiet are gone.”

Last year the Rabbinical Council of Victoria passed a resolution affirming its “unqualified condemnation of all forms of child abuse.” It stated that the prohibition on reporting crimes to authorities “does not apply in cases of abuse.”

Yeshivah College is “steeped in Chabad-Lubavitch ethos,” according to its website. Its main campus houses the headquarters of the Chabad movement in Melbourne.

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