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August 14, 2013 1:50 pm

Non-Jewish Australian Maccabi Coach Convicted of Sex Abuse

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Opening night of the 19th Maccabiah Games on Thursday, July 18. Photo: Arsen Ostrovsky / Tazpit News Agency. An Australian Maccabi coach of a basketball team was convicted and incarcerated Wednesday for sexually abusing four girls more than 10 years ago. The Australian Maccabi is a 9,000-member Jewish organization in Australia with 50 sports clubs.

Shannon Francis, who is not Jewish, was sentenced to eight years in prison and a minimum non-parole period of five-and-a-half years. He had pleaded guilty earlier this year on the four charges, including one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16.

“Maccabi and its member clubs have never and will never condone or seek to protect their own interests in any case of suspected criminality, especially one involving harm to children,” Maccabi Australia President Lisa Borowick said in a statement, according to Haaretz.

The case of Francis “highlights the fact that the scourge of child sexual abuse is not confined to one specific segment of the Jewish community,” said Manny Waks, the founder of Tzedek, an organization for victims and survivors of Jewish child sex abuse in Australia.

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