Rabbi Lesches: ‘Abuse Victim Was Prone To Bend The Truth’

RABBI Baruch Lesches has told the Royal Commission that when a 12-year-old girl complained to him about being sexually abused he had his doubts about her story because “she was prone to bend the truth to get out of trouble”.

“One morning, the girl came to speak to me about an incident involving Daniel Hayman. She said that Daniel Hayman had come to her bed but did not go into any more detail,” Rabbi Lesches, who was the head of Yeshiva Gedola in Sydney in the late 1980s, stated.

“Given my knowledge of the girl and the nature of her complaint I had my doubts and I asked her if perhaps it was imagined or a dream.”

In a document tendered at the Royal Commission, the girl’s parents told police that when their daughter woke up, Hayman was stroking his hand up and down her leg and that Rabbi Lesches told them that he “thinks she made it all up or dreamt it”.

Hayman has since been convicted in relations to another child sexual abuse matter in Sydney in the late 1980s.

Rabbi Lesches, who did not contact police at the time, conceded “having now read the girl’s statement to police it has become clear to me that Daniel Hayman’s actions went much further than I had understood at the time”.

The Royal Commission previously heard that prior to this incident a group of boys had complained to Rabbi Lesches that Hayman had abused them. In his statement, Rabbi Lesches said he had no recollection of such a conversation.

Rabbi Lesches, who lives in the US, was asked to appear via video link at the Royal Commission but refused.

Instead he gave a written witness statement on February 11, several days after the Royal Commission stopped hearing testimony regarding cases of child sexual abuse in Sydney.

In Melbourne a Yeshivah Centre spokesperson said that, following Rabbi Avrohom Glick’s decision to stand down, changes are afoot.

“We will have an announcement about substantive initiatives in the coming days,” the spokesperson said.

1 reply
  1. Chaim
    Chaim says:

    When I was in “yeshiva” in Monsey, we had discovered cameras in the mikva. The cameras were put there by a “Rebbe” we were renting the space from, but when we did anything about it (i.e. put tissues in the holes) our “Rosh Yeshiva” threatened to kick us out. As to when I thought it would be proper to go to the Rav, which was Rav Lesches at the time. I told him what was going on and how the hanhala was dealing with it, and the response he gave me was; me as a bochur, I have no right to question hanhalas choices, and if I did have any issue of any sort, I should go to the shluchim (which were about 18 yrs of age at the time) in the yeshiva, which ended up in them ripping the cameras out. If it was something small like bad food, or poor dorms, or even a teacher you didn’t get along with, I can understand how the shluchim would be the right mediator, but something serious as CAMERAS IN THE MIKVA, it should’ve been taken much more seriously than just passing the buck to guys who at the time were barely 18….

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