“Don’t give them cash: Jewish MLC writes to PM on sex abuse scandal”

Article in the Herald Sun | 26 Mar 2015 | by ALEX WHITE Twitter: @alexwhitelive

A STATE MP says a Jewish school should lose government funding until it cleans up its act on reporting child sex abuse.

Jewish Labor MLC Philip Dalidakis has written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott urging him to withhold funding from the ultra-orthodox Yeshivah Centre, which runs Yeshivah College, until it adopts a clear procedure of reporting child sexual abuse to police.

He wants any staff involved in cover-ups to resign, and a compensation fund for victims.

The Legislative Council member for the Southern Metropolitan region penned the letter on February 20.

Earlier this month lawyers for the Yeshivah Centre said it was waiting for the recommendations of the Royal Commis- sion on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse later this year, but outlined setting up a confidential committee to manage counselling and apologising to victims.

Mr Dalidakis said this was inadequate, prompting his call to the Federal Government.

“In these circumstances, the appropriateness of public funding for these schools must be brought into question while those who operate them have failed to accept full responsibility … and failed to give specific undertakings that no such abuses will be allowed to occur,’’ Mr Dalidakis wrote.

In 2014 it was revealed that administrators of the Yeshivah College failed to investigate allegations of child abuse between 1986 and 2007.

It was alleged at the commission hearings that the organisation protected serial child abuser David Cyprys, who is serving an eight-year sentence in a Melbourne jail.

A Yeshivah Centre spokesman said it would engage with the recommendations of the royal commission when they are made later this year.

“The school will continue to review its policies and will make changes, if necessary and appropriate, pending the royal commission’s recommendations,” the spokesman said.

“We already have published guidelines and process with respect to allegations of abuse and have said publicly we respect and abide by the law.’’