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Australia Manny Waks reaches confidential agreement over sexual abuse

15:52  14 september  2018
15:52  14 september  2018 Source:   theage.com.au

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Manny Waks.© Penny Stephens Manny Waks.

Prominent sexual abuse survivor and advocate Manny Waks says he has reached a confidential agreement in his six-year civil case against Melbourne's Yeshivah Centre.

Mr Waks was sexually abused by a security guard at the centre during the 1980s and 1990s and has spent years pursuing the centre for justice.

He said on Friday he would now be able to provide for his family and continue his advocacy for abuse victims with the compensation paid to him by the Orthodox Jewish organisation that operated Yeshivah College in St Kilda East, where he was sexually abused as a boy.

"Nothing will make up for what I and so many others endured," Mr Waks said in a statement.

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"Nothing will completely take away the pain and suffering. But sometimes justice feels sweet. And today, I feel a sense of justice and vindication."

Mr Waks rose to national prominence after he broke the silence about sexual abuse within Melbourne's ultra-Orthodox community, specifically at the St Kilda East Yeshiva College.

He said on Friday the "ongoing sexual abuse that happened under their watch" was "followed by cover-ups and victim intimidation".

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Mr Waks, who is now chief executive of global victim advocacy group Kol v'Oz in Israel, said the drawn-out litigation process had taken its toll on him and his family.

He has previously revealed that he was shunned and ostracised for speaking out about his abuse.

When his father stood up for him, his family was also cast out of the only world they had ever known.

"This has been a prolonged and gruelling process for me and my family," he said. "I'm greatly relieved this matter has finally been resolved."

"I'm hoping that today's personal milestone will assist me in moving forward — in all aspects of my life, but especially in my healing process.

"I feel that to get as close as I can to achieving personal closure, my perpetrators and their enablers need to be held to account."

Mr Waks said he was now focused on extraditing another of his alleged abusers from the US to face trial in Australia.

"Victoria Police have recently confirmed that the matter is progressing," he said.

He vowed to continue to advocate for other survivors of sexual abuse.

"I intend to continue to do what I can to ensure justice for past victims, and to ensure the safety of our children today," he said.

"This will mean continuing this difficult journey, especially holding powerful individuals and institutions to account. This includes Yeshivah."

The Age was unable to contact a representative of the Yeshivah Centre on Friday evening.

- With AAP

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