According to a recent report from CNN, the DC Superintendent has substantiated several allegations of sexual abuse involving a teacher for a preschool run by the Washington Hebrew Congregation. The superintendent reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to the synagogue in June.
The Child and Family Services Agency found that “more than one child was a victim of sexual abuse by the alleged maltreator.”
Allegations of sexual abuse involving the preschool teacher were first brought to light in August of 2018.
The cease-and-desist letter makes several damning accusations. The school allegedly allowed the accused teacher to take groups of children to a wooded area outside of the synagogue and the bathroom. Furthermore, the school allegedly ignored complaints from other staff members concerning the teacher “disappearing with children for periods of time.”
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education says that even though the center had a policy that banned cell phone use by staff members, this policy was not enforced. The teacher reportedly used his cell phone to take videos and pictures of victims.
The agency also says that the former director of the center threatened to discipline other staff members who had voiced concerns about the teacher accused of abuse.
The cease-and-desist letter demands that the Washington Hebrew Congregation stop these violations immediately and to adhere to an action plan to fix them.
As of July 2, 2019, no criminal charges have been filed in this case. However, the DC Metropolitan Police Department and attorney general are currently investigating the alleged abuse at the Edlavitch-Tyser Early Childhood Center.
Attorney Laurence Banville represents survivors of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits against abusers and third parties who failed in their duty to stop or prevent the abuse. Here are some thoughts from Laurence on the legal options available to preschool sex abuse victims and their families:
Preschools have a legal duty to make sure the children under their care are safe from the threat of sexual abuse and other harm. Sadly, it’s crucial to guard against sexual predators, as these predators often seek out positions of trust where they will be working with children.
In the Washington Hebrew Congregation case, several parents have joined together in a lawsuit against the congregation. The families of eight young children who attended the congregation’s preschool filed the suit, alleging that the congregation and its former director, D.J. Jensen, ignored warnings about a teacher accused of abuse for over two years.
The lawsuit alleges that the abuser is former Washington Hebrew Congregation preschool teacher Jordan Silverman. However, he has not been named as a defendant in the lawsuit and has not been charged with any crimes as of July 2, 2019.
If you believe that your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a teacher or someone else in a position of trust, we advise speaking with an experienced sex abuse victims lawyer to learn more about your family’s legal options.