Sex Abuse Claims Against Me Are ‘Pure Fiction’, Says Rabbi Todros Grynhaus

A Jewish teacher accused of molesting two teenage girls described one alleged victim’s tearful courtroom description of an attack in a Jacuzzi as “pure fiction”.

Todros Grynhaus, 50, denied that he touched the girls inappropriately when they were between the ages of 14 and 15, describing the claims against him as “horrific” and part of a “revenge plot”.

The father-of-10 is on trial at Manchester Crown Court charged with five counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault.

He denies the allegations.

Giving evidence on Thursday, he said: “I went into the Jacuzzi as it was my first experience. I had never been in one before and I can’t swim. I called her over. She hadn’t seen one before so it was an experience for her.

“She sat on one side and I sat on the other. The rest of what she is telling us is pure fiction.”

Asked by his barrister Jonathan Goldberg whether he had ever molested her, he said: “No. These are horrific claims.”

Mr Grynhaus, a well-known figure in the Salford Charedi community, described his relationship with his wife of 27 years, Leah, as “fantastic”, adding: “Sex is the grease of marriage to keep things going.”

The court was told that he abided by strict Jewish laws and that televisions and newspapers were not allowed in his home and the only secular literature in the house was Enid Blyton novels.

Use of the internet was also frowned upon because “all the world’s filth is available at the touch of a button”, he said.

The jury heard that Mr Grynhaus, the son of influential London rabbi and Beth Din judge Dayan Dovid Grynhaus, had an illustrious 20 year teaching career before setting a direct debit management business in 2008. The success of the business had allowed him to buy a BMW, and a Mercedes for his wife.

But allegations of historical sexual abuse began to surface in around 2009 and in November 2012 he was charged by police.

Mr Grynhaus fled to Israel after he was charged, using a false passport. He was held in custody there before being deported back to Britain where he had faced an original trial in which the jury were discharged.

Earlier Rabbi Gershon Miller, of the Gateshead Orthodox community, told the court that Mr Grynhaus had admitted the alleged offences and that he had said there had been “demons running through him”.

Mr Grynhaus suggested that Rabbi Miller, who is his cousin, had made his statement because of “unprecedented” pressures in the community.

He said that Rabbi Miller had urged him to follow the advice of Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman, an influential leader of the strictly Orthodox community in Gateshead.

Mr Grynhaus said: “One of the things he was demanding was an admission. He wanted it in writing.

“I was absolutely not willing to give it. My understanding was an admission would go a long way to calm the woman down.

“He said I could clear the whole thing up if I made an admission and went for therapy. He said it would go away.

“I was assured until this point that the reason we didn’t see Rabbi Miller in the previous trial was that he was

of no use to the prosecution. When a statement appeared from him I can’t begin to imagine the pressures outside.

“The community has been split. The pressures are unprecedented. There are definitely those who support me and are against me on both sides – important rabbinical figures.

Our community is led by rabbis. Rabbi Zimmerman is the boss in Gateshead and if he tells you to do something you have to listen.”

Asked if he had ever kissed a teenage girl while sexually aroused, he said: “No, absolutely not.”

The trial continues.

THE JEWISH CHRONICLE

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