April 16, 2019

Eight families say a teacher at a Jewish preschool in Washington, D.C., repeatedly sexually abused their children over the past two years – and they contend the school's top leader and a prominent synagogue did nothing about it despite warnings.

Disturbing claims of sexual abuse against children, ages three and four at the time, are outlined in a new civil lawsuit filed late Monday in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia against the Washington Hebrew Congregation, which operates the Edlavitch Tyser Early Childhood Center, and its head of schools, Deborah "DJ" Schneider Jensen.

Plaintiffs are represented by the Sexual Abuse, Sex Trafficking and Domestic Violence group of the D.C.-based law firm Cohen Milstein, Sellers & Toll, which specializes in whistle-blower cases against corporations, antitrust, civil rights and human rights cases. 

"Silverman’s alleged behavior is only a part of this story," Steve Toll, managing partner of the law firm, said in a statement, adding that the preschool and Jensen "not only created an environment that enabled this predatory behavior but failed to act on a myriad of indications that something was wrong.

"They must be held accountable so that no child in this program ever suffers again," Toll said.

Michael Dolce, another plaintiff's attorney, urged anyone with concerns that the accused teacher may have abused other children in Washington or Vermont, to contact law enforcement. “Law-enforcement research indicates that many child sex abusers have multiple victims over time," he said.

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