May 2007

Synagogue bans convicted paedophile

A CONVICTED paedophile has been banned indefinitely from returning to a Stanmore synagogue and the synagogue plans to exclude all such offenders in future.

Andrew Josephs, 29, of Parklands Court, Edgware Way, Edgware, was found guilty at Wood Green Crown Court on February 27, 2006, of four charges of indecent assault and two counts of sexual activity with boys.

He was jailed for two years for four indecent assaults on one boy, and a further nine months for two incidents of sexual activity on a second child.

The conviction followed a detailed investigation by Barnet police’s child abuse investigation team but Josephs is due for release in July.

Since he was put behind bars Josephs, a former primary school teacher at Michael Sobell Sinai School, Kenton has requested to return to the Stanmore synagogue’s congregation But he has been told he will not be permitted to pray at the Stanmore and Canon’s Park Synagogue, London Road where he is a member, because of parental fears about child safety.

A special committee appointed to decide his case recommended last week that Josephs should be banned along with all those “charged or convicted of similar offences”.

Shimon Cohen, a spokesman for United Synagogue, explained that the board of management at the synagogue had taken advice from Harrow Council, police, child protection agencies and had consulted widely with the community at the synagogue.

He said: “As a result of this process the synagogue took notice of this and decided to ban Mr Josephs from the synagogue.

“There are plenty of places where he can go and pray, just not in our synagogue.”

Mr Cohen added that the synagogue was a community and that it was a “common sense decision” to put the welfare of the children at the synagogue first.

He said:”The bigger question for us is the preservation of community life and our children.

“We have a code of forgiveness in Judaism but it is up to the victims to forgive this person.”

March 2006

Teacher jailed for abusing 12-year-old boys

A teacher who sexually abused two boys during private lessons at his home was jailed today.

Andrew Josephs, 28, was jailed for two years and nine months at London’s Wood Green crown court on four counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual activity with boys.

His victims were both 12-years-old when he attacked them at his home in Edgware, west London, two years ago.

His conviction is “a testament to the courage of the boys involved,” Detective Sergeant Diane Lesley said after sentencing.

Police launched an investigation in August 2004 after a parent complained that Josephs had inappropriately touched her son during a tutoring session.

Other boys later came forward to police with complaints.

Ms Lesley said: “Andrew Josephs was a respected member of the community entrusted with the care of children. These offences were a grave abuse of that position of trust.

“Other victims of child abuse should be encouraged not to suffer in silence, but to speak out and help us put a stop to this.”

Josephs, who privately tutored 12 and 13-year-old boys at his home, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for four counts of indecent assault on boy A, and nine months for two counts of sexual activity on boy B.

He has been banned from working with children. A further sex offences prevention order was made to stop him from having unsupervised contact with children under 16 and using the internet to access pornography.

Josephs was charged with four counts of indecent assault on boys, four counts of sexual activity with boys, five counts of possession of indecent photographs of children and three counts of abuse of a position of trust in March last year.

The Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the possession of indecent child photographs charges before the trial.

The judge directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts on abuse of the position of trust charges.