D.C. has settled its lawsuit against Washington Hebrew Congregation.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine on Wednesday announced the $950,000 settlement of the suit, which he brought in 2020, claiming the WHC’s preschool violated child care regulations and consumer protection laws.
“Instead of protecting children in their care, Washington Hebrew put them at risk and ignored the law — every parent’s nightmare,” Racine said on Twitter.
According to the settlement, WHC is to pay a total of $950,000, comprising $300,000 payments to certain consumers, $100,000 to a mutually acceptable District charity, $400,000 to the District in civil penalties, and $150,000 in costs and expenses.
The consumer costs include restitution on a pro rata basis to families who paid tuition for Camp Keetov for the summers of 2016, 2017 and 2018, according to the settlement.
WHC denies the District’s allegations and claims, according to the settlement.
“It is important to note that, occurring nearly four and a half years ago, the violations were administrative in nature. Not one was related to the supervision or alleged abuse of children,” the WHC said in a statement to WTOP. “In an earlier ruling on the OAG’s claims, the Court specifically found that WHC had already remedied the alleged administrative violations.”
The settlement says in relation to the administration claims that the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) issued a license in May 2019 for WHC to operate a year-round facility, OSSE inspection reports in 2020 and 2021 indicate that WHC has complied with OSSE regulations.
“We are pleased that Washington Hebrew Congregation and the D.C. Attorney General have reached an agreement and that a significant portion of the settlement funds will go to a D.C. charity and families whose children attended Camp Keetov in 2016, 2017, and 2018,” WHC President Lewis Wiener said in the statement. “We’re proud of our Edlavitch-Tyser Early Childhood Center and its educators, who provide a warm, engaging environment where children can feel safe as they discover the world around them.”
A group of parents brought a separate lawsuit in 2019, claiming WHC’s Edlavitch-Tyser Early Childhood Center didn’t properly report that a teacher had sexually abused toddlers. According to court documents, 14 children were allegedly abused.