Statement from Mazzeo Lawyers re: Manny Waks

Supreme Court of Victoria

Manny Waks has fought a long and determined battle to expose the people who sexually abused him over a number of years while he was a student at Yeshivah College in Melbourne.

On Monday Manny’s battle ended with a judgement that has awarded him significant compensatory damages against one of his abusers, David Cyprys, who was a caretaker, security guard, karate teacher and locksmith at Yeshivah College over the time that Manny Waks was abused.

Mr Cyprys has already been convicted and sentenced in relation to charges concerning Manny and other students. In 2013, he was convicted for sexually abusing nine boys, including Manny Waks, and was given an eight-year sentence, with a minimum five-and-a-half years.

When he was released on parole in October last year, Mr Cyprys was immediately extradited to NSW to face historical allegations of child sexual abuse. He is currently in prison awaiting trial in relation to those allegations.

The awarding of compensatory damages to Manny Waks yesterday recognises the seriousness of the sexual abuse and it recognises Manny’s courage in exposing the abuse he experienced at Mr Cyprys’s hands on multiple occasions.

That abuse began when Manny was 13-years-old and resulted in psychiatric injury that Manny continues to live with. He himself has openly discussed his struggles as a teenager and young man and the anger and desire to ‘push boundaries’. Manny’s relationships have also been affected by the abuse he experienced during his childhood. The effects of the abuse on Manny’s life have been pervasive, long-lasting and profound.

The damages awarded to Manny in the Supreme Court of Victoria on 17th February will go some way to ensuring that Manny’s health and wellbeing will be cared for in years to come.

Mazzeo Lawyers has advised and supported Manny Waks throughout the lengthy legal proceedings.

This has included supporting Manny’s legal proceedings against Yeshivah College and various individuals associated with the College who, it was alleged,  breached their duty of care – proceedings that have all been successfully and previously settled.

Mazzeo Lawyers continues to support, advise and represent survivors of institutional child abuse.

Currently Mazzeo Lawyers continues to advise Dassi Erlich who was sexually abused by Malka Leifer, former principal at the Adass Israel School. Leifer faces 74 sexual assault charges, including rape, and is currently in Israel where she is fighting extradition to Australia.

The judgement for Manny Waks is a welcome outcome and one that is long overdue for a man who was unafraid to stand up against a close-knit religious community and shine a spotlight on an unacceptable crime.