UPDATE: The charges against Phillip Kravetsky have been withdrawn. Read The CJN’s full story.
Phillip Kravetsky – who’s well known in Toronto’s Jewish community as a family law mediator, psychotherapist, teacher, family man and DJ – is being investigated by the Toronto Police Service on a child sexual assault complaint.
The 51-year-old Torontonian was arrested on March 13, after police were called in to investigate a claim that a child was assaulted in the Lawrence Avenue and Bathurst Street area of the city.
Kravetsky is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference and is scheduled to appear in court on April 27.
Although police released Kravetsky’s photo and a request for information from anyone who might have any details related to the case, Toronto Police Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said that, “In order to protect the identity of the victim, we cannot provide any further details.”
According to a police press release, Kravetsky was arrested by members of the Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, a group that partners child abuse investigators from the Toronto Police Service with community and government agencies, including the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Jewish Family & Child.
The age and sex of the victim, as well as when the assault allegedly took place, remains unreported.
According to the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) – a government body that, among other objectives, holds members accountable for their conduct by investigating complaints made against them – Kravetsky was cautioned by the College two weeks before charges were laid.
On Feb. 26, a CRPO committee met with Kravetsky and required him to complete a course in ethics and boundaries, because of a complaint with respect to his work as a parenting co-ordinator.
“The College’s investigation raised concerns about the member’s billing practices and professional communications,” a statement put out by the CRPO said.
According to the website for Kravetsky’s company, PCK Psychotherapy and Mediation, he works with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General’s Mandatory Mediation Program, the Ontario Community Care Access Centres and other organizations.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Kravetsky is an instructor at Durham College in Oshawa, Ont., and previously worked at Yeshivas Binyan Hatorah High School in Toronto as a counsellor, and at Yeshiva Gedolah Zichron Shmayahu as a teacher. On Facebook, Kravetsky promoted his services as a Jewish music DJ for bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and other simchot.
Guila Benchimol, a PhD candidate in sociological criminology at the University of Guelph and a security consultant for a number of Jewish organizations, said she has received a number of calls from concerned members of the community who were looking for details relating to the case.
“Phil Kravetsky is a well-known community figure in Toronto. I had never heard that it was an open secret that people knew about this, or that there was any weirdness around him. He has DJed at community events. People haven’t said, ‘Oh yeah, watch out for that person,’ which does often happen when it comes to these issues,’” Benchimol said.
It seems like the community doesn’t wake up to this until one of their own is arrested.
– Guila Benchimol
She said it’s important for people to understand that although she has never heard any rumours about Kravetsky and she is unfamiliar with this particular case, “There is a process the police follow in terms of an investigation before making an arrest, so if they are making an arrest, there is a reason they needed to do so. Many times, these cases are not isolated. There is usually a pattern or a number of victims, which is why they make it public.”
Benchimol addressed the fact that many people often don’t believe the allegations at first.
“False reports do a lot of damage … but the false report rate is two to eight per cent, and when it’s children, it’s four to six per cent. Why do we rush to assume it’s a false report? For some reason, we forget about the victimized party,” she said, adding that her experience is that the general consensus is that sexual abuse doesn’t affect the Orthodox community.
“It seems like the community doesn’t wake up to this until one of their own is arrested,” she said. “If we want to become responsible about this, we have to start noticing, not just when someone we know is arrested – that is not the way to have empathy for those who are most affected by these issues.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-2922, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or 222tips.com.