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D.C. Synagogue Preschool Probed Over Sex Abuse Claims

(JTA) — Police in Washington, D.C., are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse at a synagogue preschool.

The Washington Hebrew Congregation sent a letter on Aug. 19 informing parents that a staff member had been placed on administrative leave over allegations that the employee at the Edlavitch-Tyser Early Childhood Center “may have engaged in inappropriate conduct involving one or more children.” The allegations had come to light on Aug. 15, according to the letter.

A D.C. police report said the alleged abuse occurred between last September and this month, the Washington Post reported Monday. The allegations came through a D.C. Child and Family Services Agency hotline.

The suspect’s name has not been released.

Washington Hebrew said in the letter that it has launched its own independent investigation into the allegations.

“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,” the letter said. “We seek both justice and compassion as our tradition demands.”

The synagogue held an informational meeting with families last week to address the investigation and provided parents with counseling resources, according to the Post. During the meeting, the synagogue announced that it had hired more staff to help supervise the students to ensure their safety

Washington Hebrew, which is affiliated with the Reform movement, has about 3,000 member families and is the oldest congregation in the city. The synagogue has deep roots in Washington’s political establishment and counts among its members prominent influencers of both parties.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected]

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