Amsterdam Jewish school delayed reporting teacher-student sex abuse: Report

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Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton). Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton)

In 2012 the Jewish Cheider School in Amsterdam waited three months to report that teacher Ephraim S. is suspected of sexually assaulting students, and only did so under pressure from then Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt of Education, the Telegraaf reports based on internal documents from the school and conversations with former teachers.

The school wanted to handle this case through internal Jewish justice, according to the newspaper. Because of this obstruction, the accused teacher was able to escape to Israel before the police could arrest him. He was eventually extradited to the Netherlands in 2016. The trail against him starts on Wednesday. Ephraim S. is accused of sexually assaulting or raping five children. 

The documents in the newspaper's possession show that vice president of the school, rabbi Jacobs, stalled in reporting S. to the police even months after the Education Inspectorate asked the school to gather testimony from children, parents and teachers. "Rabbi Jacobs indicates that he is not convinced of a reasonable suspicion and therefore does not want to file a report", the Telegraaf quotes from minutes of the school. "The confidential inspector states that we refuse to report. Rabbi Jacobs thinks the word 'refuse' is unfortunate. The inspector maintains that this is the appropriate word."

The school also pressured parents not to report the teacher to the police. According to the newspaper, a preparatory conversation instruction states: "One in five reports is false. Discuss this with parents. If police discover this, parents/children will be prosecuted - court -fines." And a preparatory note for a conversation with one affected parent who was also a teacher at the school: "invite for a talk - labor law - point out statements - slander and defamation". And: "discuss that if it is not true, prosecution will follow."

According to the Telegraaf, the documents also show that the school leaders saw camera footage of the sexual assault. This footage can no longer be found. 

The inspector eventually turned to the Minister of Education to pressure the school into reporting Ephraim S. to the police. In October 2012, three months after the Inspectorate first asked for a report, the school eventually filed a police declaration. "Only because the confidential inspector believes that there is a legal duty to do so", Rabbi Jacobs wrote, the Telegraaf reports. 

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