July 01, 2019

Officials have substantiated multiple accusations of child sexual abuse by a preschool teacher at a prominent synagogue in Washington, DC, according to a cease-and-desist letter sent by the DC superintendent of education to the synagogue in June.

The letter says the district's Child and Family Services Agency found that "more than one child was a victim of sexual abuse by the alleged maltreator" at Washington Hebrew Congregation's preschool.

CNN obtained a copy of the letter through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Founded in 1852, Washington Hebrew Congregation, is one of DC's oldest and most prominent Jewish institutions, attended by the city's Jewish elites for generations.

But the congregation and its early childhood education center have been thrown into turmoil since allegations of child sexual abuse arose last August. The cease-and-desist letter is believed to be the first public finding of an investigation into the alleged abuse at the school by DC authorities.

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.

"I am hurt beyond words to learn that this temple received confirmation from CFSA (Child and Family Services Agency) that my child and other preschoolers were sexually abused and they continue to deny it and they refuse to apologize for it," the parent said in a statement provided by the families' attorney, Michael Dolce.

Like other plaintiffs in the civil suit, the parent asked for anonymity to protect the identity of the parent's child.

"My life and the lives of so many others have been turned upside down as we try to process what happened to our children and learn the new skills that we need to be supportive parents of our sexually abused children," the parent continued.

"And as we try to repair these wounds, this temple keeps ripping them back open by denying the abuse occurred, refusing to apologize for it, and abandoning Jewish principles of justice and repentance that they teach their congregants."

In their suit, the families are seeking unspecified damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

The complete article can be viewed here.