WASHINGTON - Police say they are investigating sex abuse allegations at a Jewish preschool in Northwest.
Washington Hebrew Congregation sent a letter home earlier this month revealing that a staff member at their Early Childhood Center is accused of inappropriate conduct with one or more children.
They say the employee has since been placed on administrative leave. According to a DC police report, the alleged abuse happened between September 2017 and this month.
The letter states that temple leaders are conducting an internal review and are offering counseling services for families.
The following was the letter sent to parents on August 19 from Senior Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, congregation president Nell Shapiro, and Early Childhood Center Head of Schools DJ Jensen.
On August 15, we became aware of allegations that an employee at the Edlavitch-Tyser Early Childhood Center may have engaged in inappropriate conduct involving one or more children. We immediately placed the employee on administrative leave and contacted child protective services and law enforcement. We are cooperating fully with their efforts, which include not releasing the suspect’s name at this time, and have launched our own independent investigation.
"We are deeply troubled by the allegations and are addressing them utilizing internal and external resources. Likewise, we are working closely with the affected families to provide information, counseling, and support. We are also committed to ensuring that students returning to the ECC in the fall and their families know they are returning to a safe and secure environment.
"We want to respect the privacy of all involved and treat this matter with discretion. Please know that the information we can share at this time is limited, and we appreciate that can be challenging. However, it is important to remember that any rumors or speculation could diminish the ability to investigate this matter and protect our community.
"These allegations and the necessary investigations are painful for everyone, but as a sacred community and congregation, we seek to provide support to all as we face these challenges. We seek both justice and compassion as our tradition demands.
"We know you may have questions about how to speak with your own children and family about this issue. We will contact you shortly with more information about programs and specialists beyond our own professional staff who can provide counseling and other advice to our families.
"We will continue to update you and the rest of the community as appropriate, but undoubtedly, you have immediate questions and concerns. If you feel that you have information that should be known by law enforcement, please contact Sarah Buc, the detective leading the investigation into this matter at email@example.com. You may also contact the Temple’s General Counsel Lewis Wiener at (202) 299-7992 or firstname.lastname@example.org."
"Thank you for your support as we work together as a community through this difficult situation."