Feature image via Andrew Langdal via The Jerusalem Post; USY members celebrating at USoCJ 2015 convention.
According to lawsuits filed by four John Does, the former divisional director of Nassau County’s (New York) United Synagogue Youth, Ed Ward, sexually abused teens in his care for years. Eight other victims have made similar allegations against Ward. The USY is alleged to have allowed Ward to continue working with youth even after it became aware of the allegations in 2017. One of the suits claims Ward sexually abused the plaintiff repeatedly from 1999 to 2004 in the plaintiff’s home, Ward’s home, summer camps, classes, meetings, religious spaces, offices, and elsewhere.
- Youth were drawn to Ward in classes, camps, and activities because he made Judaism seem “cool”.
- Ward allegedly spoke in detail with youth about masturbation, porn, and sex.
- Stories circulated of Ward masturbating with some of the children he oversaw.
- Ward allegedly “groomed” his victims, slowly increasing his sexual improprieties so as to normalize them.
- Only later did the children realize what Ward was doing was wrong.
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