The Pittsburgh police bureau’s sex assault unit is investigating claims of sexual assault involving a teacher at the Yeshiva Schools in Squirrel Hill.
It was not known if the incident under investigation involved a student or where it might have occurred.
According to police, Rabbi Nisson Friedman, 26, who is well connected in the local Jewish community and is the son of an influential Minnesota-based rabbi, is suspected of sexually assaulting at least three boys while employed by the school.
Det. Bryan Sellers of the city’s Bureau of Police Sex Assault Team, who is investigating the case, said he is “absolutely certain” there are additional victims.
The Yeshiva Schools include the boys school and Lubavitch Center Campus at Hobart and Wightman streets and the girls school and preschool campus at Forbes and Denniston avenues.
Representatives of the schools could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
The Yeshiva Schools are in the district of City Council member Corey O’Connor, who on Tuesday night said he was aware of the investigation.
“It’s our job and the job of the police to protect every child throughout the community,” he said, adding that the obligation extends to all schools.
“It’s an ongoing investigation.
The police do a great job,” Mr. O’Connor said. “We’re all in it together to make sure our kids are safe.
If someone broke the law, they definitely should be held accountable.”
The first day-school for Jewish students in Pittsburgh, the Yeshiva School opened its doors to four students in an attic apartment on Dawson Street in Oakland in the early 1940s.
Since then it has grown into a proud presence in the community, including a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion in the mid-1990s.
At the time, Principal Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld said during an interview with the Post-Gazette that Yeshiva was begun so Jewish children could have a full secular education as well as a complete program of Jewish heritage, including the Hebrew language.
“This is where their training begins in how to live Jewishly,” Rabbi Rosenfeld said at the time. “We ensure that every child knows they are superstars, certainly in their own way, and that they as individuals can reach their fullest potential.”
Pennsylvania Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas would not confirm the investigation but said, “If there were allegations made and reported to ChildLine, they would absolutely be investigated,” referring to the state’s child abuse hotline.
Attempts to contact Friedman were unsuccessful.
A member of his family who did not want to be identified noted that Friedman himself is a victim of child sexual abuse.