DC's AG sues Washington Hebrew over day care allegations

DC's Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Washington Hebrew Congregation over alleged violations of law discovered after families made sexual abuse allegations against a one-time employee of the synagogue's day care.

The lawsuit alleges Washington Hebrew Congregation failed to properly report abuse allegations, hired untrained assistant teachers and failed to protect children by not following laws requiring two adults to be with children at all times.

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Families made allegations against the former day care employee in 2018. The attorney general's investigation has since revealed several violations of law on the part of the congregation, the office said.

"In our investigation, we learned that there was a violation of a number of different laws both in terms of the qualification of the teachers at the entity, the fact that these unqualified assistant teachers were then regularly left alone with either single children or small groups of children in direct violation of District law," said Kathleen Konopka, deputy attorney general for the public advocacy division.

"By flouting those laws the entity really created an environment that was ripe for abuse of these children who were age two through five years old," Konopka continued.

The congregation said in a statement to FOX 5 that the allegations are inaccurate. It pointed out that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District never filed criminal charges against the former employee.
Washington Hebrew said in part it "vigorously denies the allegations in the Complaint and will defend against them."

"Our commitment to child safety and compliance with all DC regulations, and our support of all in our community, has been steadfast," the statement reads.

A lawsuit by families alleging abuse remains ongoing according to court records.