After a thorough investigation, JCW has determined that there are credible allegations of sexually abusive behavior committed by Rabbi Ephraim Bryks against male and female children and young women.
Allegations of sexual abuse by Bryks first began to surface in the 1980’s; subsequently, Bryks was accused and the allegations exposed via multiple outlets, including a documentary, news sources and various blogs. Despite widespread credible, allegations of abuse, various community leaders and organizations turned a blind eye, with some shaming the victims and accusing them of lying.
Unfortunately, despite the history of exposure, there were, and are, many who believe the allegations false, or, being unaware of the scope of the abuse, consider him to have done sufficient teshuva. Consequently, there are various rabbis who refer people to Rabbi Bryks for counseling and other services. Although various organizations and boards have quietly distanced themselves, they have not provided any healing or resolution of this matter.
Accordingly, JCW conducted a thorough background investigation and uncovered substantial evidence supporting the allegations.
JCW is, and always will be, a voice for those who do not have one. All of the allegations against Bryks are disturbing and deeply troubling; here we will focus on one aspect of this tragic story that we believe must be told.
In 1993, a young man named Daniel Leven made a report to the Canadian police regarding the sexual abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of Rabbi Bryks when he was 8 years old and Bryks was his school principal. After making his report, Daniel was notified that the police video camera had malfunctioned during his interview. As a result, the police needed Daniel to come in and give the entire report all over again. This conversation took place on Erev Yom Kippur and unfortunately, it was too much to handle. The following afternoon, as his community was standing in shul davening Neilah, Daniel took his own life. His was the story of a young man who was abused by a powerful figure in a community that treasured his assailant more than him.
Typically, child molestation is a crime that leaves no witnesses. Often, the young victims are too innocent to even realize the extent of what they have been subjected to until years later. Child molesters count on this, and on the shame that victims will experience as they begin to understand what happened to them.
However, there was at least one witness to Daniel’s abuse. One small child watched on one occasion as Daniel was sexually assaulted by Bryks. One small child experienced the horror of watching another small child being forced to perform oral sex on an adult, an authority figure central to both of their lives.
The confusion, pain, and shame of evil acts, and of holding these secrets, cannot be adequately conveyed here.
We welcome the forwarding of this post to any rabbinical/ institutional boards that deny or ignore the allegations. We are calling on every organization and community leader who had and has knowledge of these horrific reports to speak out. Moreover, we are demanding from these same individuals and organization an unequivocal apology to the victims whose testimonies they previously discounted, ridiculed, or ignored.
We are so grateful to the brave victims who shared their stories with us, and to those who supported them.
If you, or someone you know, was hurt by this man, please contact your local authorities and JCW at 888-JCW-4852 or firstname.lastname@example.org