FORMER Yeshivah Centre, Melbourne, security guard David Samuel Cyprys has been convicted of sexually abusing nine children in the Chabad community during the 1980s and 1990s.
He has become the second former Yeshivah Centre worker to be found guilty of sexually abusing children this year, after David Kramer, a former teacher, was convicted in July for crimes against four young boys and later jailed.
Victorian County Court judge Peter Wischusen lifted a blanket suppression order on Tuesday, enabling media to reveal that at a trial beginning on August 12 this year, Cyprys, 45, had entered not-guilty pleas to five rape charges relating to one of the victims, but was unanimously found guilty by a jury.
He subsequently accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to 12 additional charges. In all, he was found guilty of 17 charges relating to nine victims, whose names continue to be suppressed from publication by the court.
The charges related to rape, indecent assault, gross indecency and procuring an act of gross indecency. Charges against three other complainants were dropped.
At Tuesday’s plea hearing, Cyprys sat quietly in court, as his crimes against minors, aged between seven and 17, at places such as the Yeshivah Centre’s mikvah, a youth camp, the centre’s office, and in a house near the centre, were described in graphic detail.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Grant and barrister Marcus Dempsey, appearing for Cyprys, submitted case law relating to sentences issued to offenders in similar circumstances. Cyprys, who is in remand, will appear in court again on November 8, when Judge Wischusen will weigh the consequences on Cyprys’s family and other matters before sentencing him.
Cyprys faced a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court last year, where former Yeshivah College principal Rabbi Avrohom Glick, who is still employed by the college, said he had been given information by the late Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner in the early 2000s that led him to suspect sex-abuse allegations at Yeshivah might relate to Cyprys. He said that shortly before his death in 2008, Rabbi Groner told him outright it was Cyprys. But Cyprys was arrested only after a victim came forward in late 2011.
The County Court heard Cyprys, a security guard and martial-arts trainer who mingled freely with pupils, committed the first of the offences as a 14-year-old and continued until he was aged 23.
Manny Waks – CEO and founder of Tzedek, an advocacy group for victims of child sexual abuse in the Australian Jewish community – said outside the court he was satisfied with the outcome of the proceedings so far.
“We have another perpetrator in our midst who’s been held to full account, which is a remarkable day for justice … we acknowledge and thank the very courageous victims,” he said, urging other victims to come forward.
Referring to the centre, he added, “So many of the victims were part of the Yeshivah College or were involved through youth movements. From our perspective, the Yeshivah Centre must be held to full account.”
He described a Yeshivah apology, issued after the sentencing of Kramer, as “very impersonal”.
“They have not changed their attitude and the culture that permeates that institution,” he said.
PETER KOHN AND TIMNA JACKS
Convicted child abuser David Cyprys.