Lawsuit Alleges “Systemic” Abuse at D.C. Synagogue

For immediate release: April 16, 2019

To ignore warnings and expressions of concern about a child care worker brought forward by one person is bad enough, but for an educator to disregard repeated reports by both parents and teachers is unconscionable. 

We have no first hand knowledge about the allegations of “systemic” child sexual abuse at the Edlavitch Tyser Early Childhood Center. However, we know that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare, so our hearts ache for the children and their families who have filed police reports and are suing the Center. We hope that the boys and girls involved are getting the therapy and support they need.

This case may well be another example of how institutions cannot be trusted to police themselves. If the head of schools at Edlavitch,  Deborah Schneider Jensen, did not act on repeated warnings about the behavior of one of her assistant teachers, she would have endangered even more children under her care. By failing to follow best practices in child sexual abuse prevention, the school may have allowed child care worker Jordan Silverman to damage many lives. We hope that if this proves to be the case, that those responsible are jailed for their crimes.

Policies and procedures that are designed to keep children safe and communities informed are only as good as the people enforcing them. In this case, leaders at the school appear to have been were derelict in their duty to protect children by willfully ignoring the best practices that they had been trained to follow. 

We hope that this situation will remind people across the country that when they have suspicions of child sex crimes, they should first make a report to law enforcement officials. We also hope that other parents will be on the lookout for warning signs of abuse in order to protect their children when our institutions cannot.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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