With Catholics, Southern Baptists, and non-denominational congregations all harboring sexual predators in positions of leadership and taking steps to cover up the crimes, it’s important to remember that no group, certainly no religious group, is immune from these problems.
CNN reports that the prestigious preschool run by Washington Hebrew Congregation in D.C. has its own alleged predator — Jordan Silverman, a former teacher who denies all charges — and an investigation by local officials, unearthed via a Freedom of Information Act request, substantiated the suspicions.
It’s no longer just one group of parents making the accusations; it’s backed up by an investigation undertaken by the DC Superintendent of Education.
The school allegedly allowed the accused abuser to lead groups of children to a wooded area outside the center and the bathroom, and dismissed other staff members’ verbal complaints about the alleged maltreator “disappearing with children for periods of time,” according to the letter.
The center did not enforce its policy prohibiting staff members from using cellphones at the school, which the alleged abuser used to take videos and pictures of children, according to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.The center’s former director also threatened to reprimand staff members who complained about the alleged abuser, the agency says.
The school said in a statement that it had fixed “most” of the issues that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education required of them. Indeed, they regained their license this past May.
Still, the government officials who investigated the school said that there was only one written performance evaluation on Silverman during his three years there and no paperwork documenting his qualifications (like a résumé or transcript). If the allegations hold up in court, it would only be the latest sign of a religious school doing more to stop people from calling out abuse than preventing it in the first place.
The parents whose children were allegedly abused have filed a civil lawsuit against the school. It was first reported in April. The allegations were first made in August. Only now, however, is there an indication that the government has been investigating the school and backing up many of the problems alleged by parents.
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