Chabad of Colonie - Colonie, NY
Weiss confessed to that he got naked with two 13-year-old boys and had "inappropriate physical contact", yet was still able to work out a plea agreement that he would not be placed on the New York State sex-offender registry. Which would allow him to resume his career of working with children.
Rabbi Yaakov Weiss is the son-in-law of Sholom M. Rubashkin. Weiss moved from Postville, IA to the Albany, NY area in 2004.
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Table of Contents:
- Rabbi hopes to spark religion (12/12/2004)
- Rabbi Yaakov Weiss Leads Prayer at NY State Assembly (05/07/2007)
- Rabbi expects menorah's return to Colonie Center (11/25/2007)
- Loudonville rabbi accused of sex abuse (09/30/2008)
- Rabbi accused of abusing boy (09/30/2008)
- Loudonville rabbi arrested for sexually abusing a child (09/30/2008)
- Rabbi Accused of Molesting Teen (09/30/2008)
- Albany Rabbi Accused Of Sexually Abusing Teen (09/30/2008)
- Albany-area rabbi faces sex abuse charges (09/30/2008)
- Rabbi's court date set (10/01/2008)
- Rabbi charged with sex abuse (10/01/2008)
- Albany, NY - Former Teacher Addresses Abuse Accusations Leveled Against Him (10/07/2008)
- We Stand Behind Rabbi Weiss - Fundraising Web Page (10/11/2008)
- Indictment: Rabbi told boy 'just say nothing happened' (08/25/2009)
- Rabbi allegedly told boy to lie (08/26/2009)
- Rabbi Arraigned for Allegedly Molesting Boys (08/31/2009)
- Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, Rabbi Sholom M. Rubashkin's son-in-law, continues to function as a Chabad representative despite ban from Chabad leadership (09/22/2009)
- Ultra-Orthodox Jews No Longer Ignoring Child Sex Abuse (10/14/2009)
- Rabbi admits ‘inappropriate physical contact’ with boys, telling one to lie to mother and police (01/11/2010)
- Rabbi admits molesting 2 teenage boys (01/11/2010)
- Rabbi takes plea deal (01/12/2010)
- Roza Weiss: Rubashkin Daugher, Wife of Accused Molester (01/13/2010)
- In Sex Case, Rubashkin Relative Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment (01/13/2010)
- Rubashkin Son-In-Law Yaakov Weiss Pleads Guilty in Boy-Molest Case, But Avoids Sex-Offender Registry (01/15/2010)
- How does rabbi skip registry (01/15/2010)
- Group says rabbi no longer leader (01/19/2010)
- Rubashkin Kin Guilty in Sex Case (01/22/2010)
- Probation Conditions: Weiss under Sex Offender Restrictions for 3 Years (03/10/2010)
- Proposed bill would place more offenders on sex crime registry (02/01/2010)
- Rabbi gets jail time over pool incident (03/09/2010)
- Funds to combat Orthodox community sex abuse (03/10/2010)
- Rabbi jailed for sexual contact with boys is back home (04/14/2010)
- Parents want rabbi on sex offender registry (12/26/2012)
- Rabbi will pay boy's family $6,000 to settle sex assault lawsuit (01/23/2013)
- What rabbi admitted to in civil suit deposition (02/13/2013)
By Anne Miller
Times Union - December 12, 2004
COLONIE, NY -- In a forgotten storefront behind Santa at Latham Circle Mall, a bearded rabbi and his young bride hung banners and arranged boxes of educational toys. With little assistance, they readied the vacant space for a Hanukkah celebration today that will mark their introduction to Capital Region suburbia.
Rabbi Yaakov Weiss and his wife, (Name Removed), see God's calling, their future and the future of Colonie Jewry at the mall. The Weisses adhere to a missionary branch of Judaism known as Chabad-Lubavitch, whose outreach practices mirror evangelical Christianity in many ways.
They are Hasidic, a type of traditional, fundamentalist orthodoxy, and follow teachings begun by a rabbi from the former Russian hamlet of Lubavitch, where this particular Hasidic movement began.
Although they call themselves missionaries, their targets are non-practicing Jews. Seeking converts is anathema to Jewish law.
They favor places where Jews live but synagogues or community centers are scarce. For the past few years in the Capital Region, that has meant the suburbs. The larger municipalities like Albany, Troy and Saratoga Springs have had Chabad houses for years.
The Chabad rabbis do not erect synagogues but offer their homes for prayer, community gatherings and communal meals on holidays and the Sabbath.
In Delmar and Guilderland, Chabad houses offer the towns' only places for rabbis to lead prayer and activities. Colonie has no synagogue. The town's Jewish residents must visit the cities for services.
"There's no education, there's no services, they have to drive 20 minutes to Albany or Troy," said Yaakov Weiss, 24.
Because of Hanukkah's proximity to Christmas on the calendar, Chabad has embraced the holiday for outreach purposes. Most cities' menorah lightings are sponsored by Chabad. "If you light the spark, that spark can glow on its own. That's success," said Rabbi Israel Rubin, a Capital District Chabad leader.
Hanukkah remains a relatively minor holiday in Judaism, originating centuries after the Bible. According to Jewish canon, a small group of Jews called the Maccabees led a rebellion against conquerors, driving the larger army out of ancient Israel. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple after the invaders were forced out and the miracle of the oil, which kept the menorah burning for eight days.
Last week, Yaakov Weiss tugged a ladder into the Latham mall to hang a banner. Strangers, like Raya Ioffe, paused to watch. Ioffe's Jewish family emigrated from Ukraine 16 years ago. Now 28, Ioffe said she plans to return to the mall today with her fiance, a non-Jew who wants to convert, and his 6-year-old daughter.
"There isn't anything here," she said. "It would be nice if it was."
The Weisses are typical of Chabad emissaries. A month ago, the Orthodox couple decided to move from her family's home in Iowa to Colonie, a move they have, in many ways, spent their entire lives preparing for.
"Before me and my wife got married, we decided we were going to dedicate our lives to serving," he said.
They came to Colonie because Loudonville resident Deborah Cohen asked, after she found herself organizing Jewish celebrations in her own living room for lack of a local community. Cohen moved to the town with her husband four years ago from Brooklyn.
"I come from a Chabad home," she said. "I came up here and there was no synagogue."
At the mall, (Name Removed) Weiss, 21, balanced her 10-week-old (Removed), her first child, on her hip with a practiced hand as she offered her husband a length of blue and silver streamers with the other. The couple wed about a year ago. She said many women comment on how comfortably she handles her daughter, but she has had a lifetime of practice. She is the oldest of 11. Hasidic Jews eschew birth control.
Their beliefs manifest in other physical ways. (Removed) Weiss wears long-sleeved sweaters that cover her elbows and wrists, and skirts that show no ankle. Hasidic women believe only their husbands should see their bodies. Yaakov Weiss covers his head at all times, often with a broad-brimmed black hat. Like other Hasidic men, her husband will not touch a woman other than her, not even to shake hands.
Their beliefs and customs have roots in 18th-century central and eastern Europe where the Hasidic movement began. Different groups under the Hasidic umbrella follow different rabbis, like the Lubavitcher rabbi in Russia. The Lubavitcher's rabbinical leadership passed through sons until the last of them, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, whom his followers call the Rebbe. He encouraged his followers to increase others' joy in Judaism through missionary outposts. He died in 1994 without an heir.
|Rabbi Yaakov Weiss (2007)|
Today, adherents of those other practices tend to live in specific neighborhoods and rarely leave, like Crown Heights, Brooklyn or Mea Shearim, Jerusalem. "If you are a Lubavitcher Hasid, you get to see the world."
Schneerson dispatched Chabad rabbis and their families throughout the world to live for the rest of their lives, turning their homes into local Jewish centers.
"Chabad is one of the most well-known because they get people to do this cheaply," he said. The couples usually receive a year's salary starting out, he said, and thereafter raise enough funds and support from the community to support themselves.
A Chabad house's success revolves around drawing Jews into a community. "The broader Jewish community makes use of them," Heilman said. "That doesn't mean that the people who make use of those folks will share their point of view."
In fact, Chabad has generated controversy within the larger American Jewish community because of the Hasidic focus on biblical male-female roles. The Chabad-Lubavitch view of the late Rebbe Schneerson, which borders on messianic, also disturbs more mainstream leaders. Many other rabbis, however, will not speak publicly about their concerns, for fear of alienating fellow Jews.
Issues aside, Chabad continues to grow, in large part because of their huge families. If the children want to partake of the family business, the movement must find new places to send them, Heilman said.
Capital Region Chabad is almost a family business for Rubin's family. One of his sons created the University at Albany house. Another runs a Chabad house in Saratoga Springs.
At his home on Albany's South Main Street, bookshelves heavy with Hebrew tomes line the walls. Portraits of Schneerson hang beside the shelves.
Rubin has presided over three decades' worth of Hanukkah celebrations in Albany, and at his dining table he upended a bag full of such paraphernalia, like a matchbook from 1975 and a flier for a 1980s rollerskating party. This year, Chabad sponsored a show at downtown Albany's Savannah's nightclub with a Hasidic reggae musician, Matisyahu, who performs in traditional black garb and a beard.
As Rubin flipped through fliers and pamphlets, strewing them about the tablecloth, he explained why Chabad rabbis dedicate themselves, and their families, to missionary work.
"Judaism needs it because we are a minority, and minorities tend to get lost," Rubin said. "If we were to do nothing, we would cease to exist."
Rabbi Yaakov Weiss Leads Prayer at NY State Assembly
Colonie Rabbi - May 7, 2007
Opening prayer for NYS Assembly. Day after Jewish Holiday of Lag Baomer. A month later in his community's mikvah (ritual bath), he sexually abused a boy.
Rabbi expects menorah's return to Colonie Center
By Marc Parry
Times Union - November 25, 2007
|Rabbi Yaakov Weiss Speaking to the NY State Assembly|
The outcome: A 6-foot menorah was allowed, in addition to the mall's Christmas display, and the mall even agreed to pick up the tab.
Loudonville real estate investor Morris Massry lit the menorah while Jewish music played and children worked on crafts. About 200 people showed up.
And Weiss, who had rallied supporters with an e-mail saying "Jews who shop there should be able to see THEIR holiday displayed," now proclaims himself "very pleased with how they dealt with us."
Weiss contacted the mall's manager a few days ago, asking for the same display as last year. He hadn't heard back by Friday. A Times Union call to the manager was not returned.
Does Weiss expect another lobbying campaign this year?
"I don't think so," the rabbi said. "I think the mall sees the beauty of a menorah lighting, bringing a sense of pride to the children. I think they would want to do it again."
Man charged in alleged incidents involving 13-year-old boy
By BRENDAN LYONS, Senior writer
Albany Union - September 30, 2008
ALBANY — An Albany area rabbi has been arrested on sex abuse charges stemming from alleged incidents involving a 13-year-old boy.
Albany police detectives arrested Yaakov Weiss, 28, of Loudonville Monday and charged him with two counts of third-degree sex abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, all misdemeanors.
Details pertaining to the case were not immediately available, but Albany police spokesman Det. James Miller said the charges have to do with Weiss' alleged involvement with the boy on at least two occasions — one in November 2007 and the other earlier this year.
The arrest was part of an ongoing investigation that's continuing and comes on the first day of the Jewish High Holy Days on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Weiss was arraigned in Albany City Court and released but it was unclear if bail was set.
His attorney Arnold Proskin was not immediately available for comment.
Weiss, who adheres to a missionary branch of Judaism know as Chabad-Lubavitch, moved to Colonie from Iowa in 2004 with his wife (name removed) and an infant (removed). Soon after arriving in the Capital Region, Weiss founded the Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School. He has been outspoken on the issue of public religious expression.
In 2005, he requested a Hanukkah display at Colonie Center Mall but was denied. The mall displayed a 6-foot menorah the following year after Weiss and his supporters lobbied the mall for representation of the Jewish holiday.
Last year, Weiss was part of a movement to have the state Legislature pass a bill mandating a moment of silence each day at school for students to reflect in their own way on the importance of the spiritual in their lives.
Rabbi accused of abusing boy
By Chris Rooney
NBC News (WNYT) - September 30, 2008
ALBANY - An Albany area rabbi is accused of sexually abusing a boy he worked with as a religious educator.
Yaakov Weiss of Loudonville was arrested Thursday afternoon.
Albany police say the 28-year-old rabbi had sexual contact with a 13-year-old boy multiple times between November 2007 and April 2008. They say the abuse happened at least once at a location on Whitehall Road and at least twice at a location on New Scotland Avenue.
Police were alerted after New York State Child Protection Services received an anonymous tip about Weiss. After conducting interviews over the summer, police finally determined they have enough evidence to arrest him.
Weiss is charged with one count of second-degree sex abuse, two counts of third-degree sex abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Police say their investigation remains open as they try to determine if there are any other victims.
Loudonville rabbi arrested for sexually abusing a childCBS News - September 30, 2008
A local rabbi is facing several charges after being arrested for having inappropriate sexual contact with a 13 year-old boy.
Yaakov Weiss, 28, of Loudonville was arrested Monday after detectives revealed he sexually abused the teen from November of 2007 to April of 2008. Weiss is alleged to have had sexual contact with the victim at a location on Whitehall Road at least once and on New Scotland Avenue on at least two occasions.
Albany Public Safety spokesman Det. James Miller says their investigation began after Child Protective Services had received an anonymous tip about the abuse.
Weiss was charged with one count of sexual abuse in the 2nd degree, two counts of sexual abuse in third and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned Monday in Albany City Court.
Detectives are continuing to investigate to determine if there are any other victims.
Rabbi Accused of Molesting Teen
By Paul Merrill
Fox News - September 30, 2008
Albany Police are accusing a local rabbi of sexually abusing one of his teenage students.
On Monday, investigators arrested 28-year-old Yaakov Weiss and charged him with three counts of sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Weiss's status in the community make the charges even more surprising.
"From what we gathered, the defendant's a rabbi...also a teacher at a Hebrew academy," says Detective James Miller, spokesman for Albany's Department of Public Safety. "One victim was his student."
Police say that victim is a 13-year-old boy.
The investigation began when someone left an anonymous tip with Child Protective Services in late June.
A source tells FOX23 News that one incident happened at the Jewish Community Center on Whitehall Road and two other incidents happened at a school on the 400 block of New Scotland Avenue.
Police aren't elaborating on what exactly allegedly happened.
"They're misdemeanor charges," says Detective Miller. "Inappropriate sexual contact is what occurred."
No one answered the door at Weiss's Loudonville home on Tuesday afternoon.
A neighbor tells us that Weiss has a wife and several young children.
Police say the alleged incidents underscore the importance of parents knowing who is teaching or caring for their children.
The news broke on the same week as Rosh Hashana - a high holiday in the Jewish faith.
No one at the Jewish Community Center would talk about the allegations.
Weiss's attorney, Arnold Proskin, did not return calls seeking comment.
Several years ago, Weiss made headlines as the rabbi who lobbied for Colonie Center to include a menorah in its holiday display.
Weiss is free on his own recognizance.
Detective Miller says he will likely appear in court at the end of the week.
Albany Rabbi Accused Of Sexually Abusing Teen
North Country Gazette - September 30, 2008
ALBANY—An Albany rabbi is under arrest for allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with a 13-year-old boy.
Yaakov Weiss, 28, of Loudonville has been charged with one count of second degree sexual abuse, two counts of third degree sex abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Police say that Weiss sexually abused the teen from November 2007 until April. It is alleged he had sexual contact with the teen at least once at a location on Whitehall Road and twice at a New Scotland Ave. location.
Police said they opened an investigation after Child Protective Services receiving an anonymous tip. The investigation is still open as police try to determine if there are additional victims.
Albany-area rabbi faces sex abuse charges
Newsday - September 30, 2008
ALBANY - An Albany-area rabbi is facing charges he sexually abused a 13-year-old boy.
Yaakov Weiss of Loudonville was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of third-degree sex abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Weiss was the boy's teacher at the Hebrew Academy of Albany.
Police say 28-year-old Weiss had sexual contact with the boy on at least three occasions. Child Protective Services notified Albany police after getting an anonymous call to their abuse hot line.
School officials and Weiss' attorney, Arnold Proskin, could not be reached for comment Tuesday because of the Jewish holiday.
Rabbi's court date set
By David Filkins
Times Union - Wednesday, October 1, 2008
ALBANY — The rabbi accused of having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy has been released on his own recognizance and will appear in court on Oct. 7.
Yaakov Weiss, 28, of Loudonville, who founded the Chabad of Colonie in 2004, allegedly had sexual contact with the victim beginning in December. Police said at least one of the incidents occurred at a Whitehall Road site and at least two others were at a New Scotland Avenue location.
Police said Weiss is charged with two counts of third-degree sex abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned Monday in Albany Criminal Court.
The arrest came on the first day of the Jewish High Holy Days on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Police said Weiss was the alleged victim's teacher.
Rabbi charged with sex abuse
Capitial News 9 - October 1, 2008
By Curtis Schick
ALBANY, N.Y. -- It was at a Hebrew school on New Scotland Avenue and a Community Center off Whitehall Road where Albany police said Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, 28, of Loudonville had sexual contact with a 13-year-old boy.
Albany Public Safety Officer James Miller said, "The victim along with some of the other classmates were talking about what happened. Somebody overheard that, anonymously called into the New York State tipline."
Miller said while Weiss was teaching at the school, at least two incidents took place, with it happening once at the Community Center. Miller said the abuse went on for 6 months starting last November.
"You have a certain expectation that your kids are going to be safe, that the teachers aren't going to act in an inappropriate manner which he allegedly did at this point," said Miller.
Weiss is rabbi of Chabad Colonie and is best known for fighting with Colonie Center over it not having a Menorah.
Weiss runs his organization out of his Longwood Drive home. No one answered the door Tuesday afternoon.
With Rosh Hashana, calls to Weiss' attorney and to the number listed for the school were not immediately returned.
Miller said, "The investigation is still open because many instances like this, there is a potential that there are many other victims out there."
Weiss is charged with one count of second-degree sex abuse, two counts of third-degree sex abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned in Albany City Criminal Court and released. There is no word on when he's due back in court.
Albany, NY - VIN News was contacted by former teacher Rabbi Yaakov Weiss who requested that we disseminate his response to the serious accusations of child abuse leveled against him in the media. It behooves all of us to be mindful that although we are determined to put an end to child abuse, it is also possible for an innocent person's life and reputation to be destroyed by false accusations. VIN News is in no way in any position to make decisions of who is right, or who is wrong, we need to remind our readers that we are merely a news organization providing you with information. In the mean time a web site was set up by supporters of Rabbi Weiss Below is Rabbi Weiss's statement in full.
As we, the Jewish People, approach Yom Kippur, the holiest day on our calendar; the day G-d seals our fate for this coming year, it is my hope and wish that this troubling situation come to a speedy and positive conclusion. Although the media may not like this, may we have a year in which the news will only be able to give GOOD news! Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank so many from our community and from my friends and colleagues from around the world for their confidence and outpouring support. My family will forever be grateful. You have made it clear to us that you are behind us and I assure you we will prove you right. Let me state unequivocally: This accusation is 100% untrue, baseless, and a complete and utter fabrication. This has been generated by an individual who has been antagonistic towards Chabad of Colonie from its inception and continues to be envious of continued success. This is his way of getting rid of us. This individual contacted the authorities three months ago together with a close friend. His new allegations were released today.
Obviously, as of yet I am unable to share more details, but in due time I am confident that these appalling accusations will be proven baseless and the true agenda behind them will be evident. We will take appropriate steps against those who have attempted to malign us and we are confident that we will prove our case and come out with our chin up. May we all have a happy and healthy sweet new year, a year of peace and harmony.
We Stand Behind Rabbi Weiss - Fundraising Web Page
October 11, 2008
By Robert Gavin
Times Union - August 25, 2009
ALBANY -- A Loudonville rabbi was arraigned in Albany County Court today on charges he not only sexually abused two 13-year-old boys in 2007, but repeatedly slapped and kicked one of them.
Rabbi allegedly told boy to lie
By Robert Gavin
Times Union -August 26, 2009
ALBANY — The sexual abuse case against a Loudonville rabbi now includes allegations he repeatedly slapped and kicked one 13-year-old boy and tried to get another child to remain silent.
Yaakov Weiss, 29, founder of the Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School, was initially charged in City Court last fall with sexually abusing the two 13-year-olds in 2007.
He was arraigned Tuesday in Albany County Court on a superseding four-count indictment that includes those charges, as well as allegations he tried to convince one of the two youngsters to lie about the sex abuse to his mother and police.
"Just say nothing happened," Weiss told the child on June 30 on Sycamore Street in Albany, the indictment said.
Weiss, who already faced charges in City Court in connection with the alleged incidents, was indicted Aug. 14. He faces up to one year behind bars on misdemeanor charges that include sexual abuse and child endangerment.
The rabbi pleaded not guilty before Judge Stephen Herrick as his family looked on from the gallery. Freed without bail, Weiss later exited the courthouse, his wife by his side and daughter on his arm.
The indictment contends Weiss took a far more menacing role two years ago.
It alleges that sometime between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2007, Weiss repeatedly struck one 13-year-old on the back on New Scotland Avenue, "knocking him to the ground and then kicked him in the leg."
The court papers say Weiss sexually abused one of the boys in June 2007 and the other between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 of that year. The incidents allegedly took place in a facility at 340 Whitehall Road in Albany.
In both cases, the indictment alleged that Weiss had sexual contact "consisting of placing his penis in contact with said child's buttocks." The incidents allegedly took place inside a pool, called a mikveh, used by some Jews for ritual purification, according to his attorney.
The indictment said one of the boys sought advice from Weiss, his teacher and spiritual leader, on Sycamore Street on June 30 that year.
Weiss allegedly "instructed the child to be untruthful" and to "not tell his mother or the police about an incident where the defendant subjected the victim to sexual contact."
Arnold Proskin, the lawyer for the rabbi, told reporters the allegations are baseless. He said one of the alleged victims is related to another rabbi with a possible ax to grind against his client.
Asked why the case went from City Court to Albany County Court, Proskin said, "Press coverage," adding, ''I'm being serious. There's no advantage (to it)."
Weiss sent an e-mail to the Times Union last October, after being charged, calling the charges "100 percent untrue."
"This has been generated by an individual who has been antagonistic toward Chabad of Colonie from its inception and continues to be envious of continued success," Weiss wrote at the time. "This is his way of getting rid of us."
Weiss moved to the Capital Region from Iowa in 2004. He adheres to a branch of Judaism known as Chabad-Lubavitch, which is known for its work to get Jews more involved in their religion.
In October, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Brooklyn-based worldwide Lubavitch group, told, the Times Union the rabbi was suspended. He added it was in "no way whatsoever implicating him or an admission or a decision of guilt."
Rabbi Arraigned for Allegedly Molesting Boys
by Kilian Melloy
Edge (Boston) - August 31, 2009
An Upstate New York rabbi is accused of molesting two boys.
The rabbi, Yaakov Weiss, who teaches in Albany, appeared in court to answer to charges that he had inappropriate sexual contact with two of his male students, both 13 years old, according to an Aug. 26 article posted at Fox23News.com.
Weiss, 29, was accompanied by his wife. One of the couples’ three children also accompanied Weiss to court, the article said.
Another Aug. 26 article on the case was published at Albany newspaper the Times-Union, and said that the rabbi allegedly struck and kicked one of the boys, and urged the other to deny that anything untoward had taken place.
"Just say nothing happened," both articles reported the rabbi allegedly told one 13-year-old.
The Times-Union article said that Weiss was accused of having improper sexual contact with the boys in a ritual bathing pool called a mikveh. One boy was allegedly assaulted in June of 2007, and the other later that same year.
Weiss, who opened the Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School, defended himself in an email sent to the Time-Union in 2008 by claiming that the charges were baseless and the story of the sexual molestation a fabrication "generated by an individual who has been antagonistic toward Chabad of Colonie from its inception and continues to be envious of continued success."
Weiss, the article said, wrote that the accusations were "his way of getting rid of us."
The Fox News article quoted Weiss’ lawyer, Arnold Proskin, who said that Weiss had hundreds of supporters.
"Public support is absolutely outstanding," claimed Proskin.
Added the attorney, "This is just something that makes the hair on the back of your neck tingle and I’m not saying it as a joke.
"It just bothers me greatly," Proskin went on. "It bothers a lot of people and we’re defending this matter."
Proskin also suggested that the case going before the Albany County grand jury was a matter of publicity on the part of the prosecution.
"There’s no advantage," Proskin said.
But the District Attorney for Albany County, David Soares, was cited in the Fox News article as explaining that the grand jury was presented with the case as a result of the special victims unit’s involvement.
Said Soares, "We prefer to try our cases in a court of law and not in the media."
Exposemolesters, a Web site dedicated to tracking media reports of alleged child molesters, covered the story, along with allegations that a Brooklyn rabbi had molested three young victims over the course of several decades.
Rabbi Yehuda Kolko was accused of assaulting a boy--now a man in his 30s--as well as two young boys more recently. His lawyer, Jeffrey Schwartz, was quoted as saying, "In 21 years of trying criminal cases, both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I have never seen a case so weak."
Schwartz pointed out that the rabbi had passed to lie detector tests in which he claimed innocence.
The site also posted text about Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, another rabbi accused of child molestation, who fled Brooklyn for Israel more than 20 years ago when he was first accused.
Those cases were also referenced in an Oct. 2, 2008 Jewish Daily Forward article about alleged sexual abuse of children in the Jewish religious community.
That article said that Jewish leaders had begun taking a closer look at alleged instances of child abuse at the hands of Jewish clerics.
The article noted that New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn had claimed that child molestation was occurring in the ultra-Orthodox community, an extremely anti-gay faction of Judaism.
Hikind said that that he had heard "an avalanche" of stories about child molestation over the course of only a couple of months, leading him to determine that he should create a list of alleged molesters that he would make generally accessible.
Hikind also said that the ultra-Orthodox community was liable to end up unwittingly harboring child molesters out of a wish to pursue religious, rather than secular, means of obtaining justice.
The article quoted Hikind as saying, "If you’re a child molester, the best community to come to is [a community with many ultra-Orthodox such as] Borough Park, Flatbush, Lakewood or Monroe.
"Your chances of being arrested are much smaller because people don’t press charges."
Agudath Israel of America’s director of government affairs, David Zwiebel, was also cited in the article; said Zwiebel,
"Until not terribly long ago, the issue [of child molestation by Jewish rabbis] was very much in the shadows."
Added Zwiebel, "Sometimes they were dealt with correctly and sometimes incorrectly, but the severity of the problem and the possible magnitude were really things that most people, including myself, just didn’t understand."
Zwiebel opined that the Jewish community had finally begun to address the problem in the wake of the global pedophile priest scandal that sent shock waves through the Catholic Church.
More recently, the New York Post reported on April 2 that Charles Hynes, the DA for Brooklyn, had unveiled a new push to investigate and prosecute cases of sexual assault among Orthodox Jews.
"Sexual abuse is not only a horrific nightmare for the victims, but an agonizing experience for their parents," the article quoted Hynes as saying.
The DA cited an increased flow of sexual-abuse cases out of the Orthodox community in recent years. The office currently has 19 pending cases.
Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, Rabbi Sholom M. Rubashkin's son-in-law, continues to function as a Chabad representative despite ban from Chabad leadership
By Shmarya Rosenberg
Failed Messiah Blog - September 22, 2009
Just before Rosh Hashana I spoke with a Chabad rabbi closely linked to the movement's leadership. He mentioned without prompting on my part that Weiss had been suspended and noted that Chabad has a "zero tolerance" policy regarding child sexual abuse.
Weiss also sits on Chabad's Sholom M. Rubashkin Defense Fund steering committee and has served as the Rubashkin family's point man on the issue.
By Killian Melloy
Edge (Boston) - October 14, 2009
New York’s Ultra-Orthodox Jewish population is beginning to see the limits of traditional proscriptions on talking to authorities outside the faith about certain matters, such as crimes against members of the community itself.
Case in point: child sexual molestation, a crime that for years, an Oct. 13 New York Times article said, saw a number of arrests made annually in every demographic in New York except for the Ultra-Orthodax.
But recent headlines and efforts by DA Charles J. Hynes have helped convince the Ultra-Orthodox of something they simply did not used to believe: that there could be child molesters in their midst.
The culture’s strict disapproval of involving outside authority in matters concerning family and business had long kept child molestation cases involving the community, who call themselves the haredi, from the criminal justice system.
However, the rabbinical courts that are meant to address such issues are now being seen as inadequate to handle cases of child sexual abuse.
The New York Times article quoted one father who said, "I’m not one who believes rabbis are capable to handle this." The man’s son, 10, informed him last year of abuse allegedly perpetrated on him by a neighbor. Rather than leave it to the rabbinical court, the father went to the civil authorities.
"What we have witnessed in the past year is completely unprecedented," the artricel quoted the chief of the Brooklyn DA’s sex crimes bureau, Rhonnie Jaus.
"This would be inconceivable just a few years ago."
But in that time, the media have played a role in educating the haredi as to the nature and extent of the problem, which is believed to be as prevalent in the Ultra-Orthodox community as in any other demographic.
Newspapers and other media have taken note of such crimes within the haredi culture recently, leading to headlines in cases such as that of Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, founder of an upstate New York Hebrew school who is accused of improper contact with two male students in a ritual bath.
The case of Brooklyn Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, accused of abusing at least three victims over the course of decades, was also profiled in the media, including online at a Web site called Exposemolesters.
Survivors for Justice founder Ben Hirsch called Jewish online publications and groups like his own "a major catalyst" in convincing haredi victims and parents to go outside of rabbinical authority in such cases, despite traditional proscriptions, the Times article reported.
Ancient religious proscriptions among the haredi may be giving way to more contemporary understanding in other ways, as well. Though some haredi do not even admit that gay exist--at least, not among their community--otehrs have begun to address the issue openly, such as Rabbi Menachem Burstein, an Ultra-Orthodox who has a comparatively compassionate view on gays.
Burstein does not endorse GLTB visibility--"I say to them, remain in the closet and I will make every effort to build as large and respectable a closet as possible for you," he was quoted in the media as saying--but he did offer the opinion that a small fraction of gays were not simply acting out in perverse defiance, but were inherently attracted to others of the same gender.
Burstein reckoned that those souls also deserved pastoral care: "I believe these are a small number, but we should not forsake them."
Burstein approached the issue from the perspective of being in charge of a fertility group, the Puah Institute; it was from the point of view of trying to help gay observant Jews become family men that Burstein offered his thoughts, and suggested that perhaps two men could be in a relationship and not break religious law--as long as they remained celibate.
Meantime, Burstein suggested, one or both men could marry, with the aim of procreation.
Part of the arrangement, however, would entail therapy from a group dedicated to "helping" religious gays.
Burstein explained that his fertility group is "committed to finding a solution for every part of society."
Moreover, Burstein supposed that although "a rabbi cannot change the prohibition of [sexual intimacy between men]," he could work around that proscription creatively and constructively.
Gay sex, the Rabbi noted, is forbidden as a matter of Scripture, saying, "it is from the Torah."
However, "Once that is accepted, then we can look for a solution within those parameters."
Rabbi admits ‘inappropriate physical contact’ with boys, telling one to lie to mother and police
By Robert Gavin
Times Union - January 11, 2010
A Loudonville rabbi admitted Monday he had “inappropriate physical contact” with two naked boys — and that he told one of them to lie about it to police and his mother.
Yaakov Weiss, 29, founder of the Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School, pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment for telling a 14-year-old boy on June 30, 2008 to “just say nothing happened” about an incident in 2007.
He faces up to 60 days in the Albany County jail and three years probation in a plea deal. It was reached just as his trial was set to begin in Albany County Court.
He faced up to 2 years in prison on a four-count indictment that accused him of child endangerment and sexual abuse. The deal also spares Weiss from having to register as a sex offender.
Weiss specifically pleaded guilty to telling one of the boys to lie to his mother and police about a June 2007 incident that took place inside a small pool, known as a mikveh, used for ritual purification. In June 2008, the child asked Weiss for advice about the incident during a phone call — with Albany police listening — when he told the boy to be untruthful.
The rabbi, who was indicted last year, admitted Monday his behavior went beyond telling the child to lie.
Under questioning by Judge Stephen Herrick, Weiss said he and the boys had been naked in the mikveh, which by itself is not considered atypical.
But Weiss confessed he “knowingly” had inappropriate physical contact with one child, then 13, in June 2007, and the other boy, then 13 as well, between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2007,
“That is an accurate statement?” Herrick asked at one point.
“Yes,” the rabbi replied.
Weiss, who moved to the Capital Region from Iowa in 2004, adheres to a type of Judaism known as Chabad-Lubavitch, known for its work to get Jewish people more involved in their religion.
He sent an e-mail to the Times Union in October 2008, after being charged, describing the charges as “100 percent untrue.”
“This has been generated by an individual who has been antagonistic toward Chabad of Colonie from its inception and continues to be envious of continued success,” Weiss wrote at the time. “This is his way of getting rid of us.”
On Monday, the rabbi declined to comment as he exited the courtroom but issued a statement through his attorney, Arnold Proskin, that the plea deal was a “more peaceful way of resolving this than going to trial.”
Proskin later relayed a statement saying Weiss has support from the Chabad community.
His sentencing is scheduled for March 1.
“I’m pleased that the case was resolved in this manner, requiring the defendant to publicly admit to the conduct he subjected those two boys to, while also sparing them the difficulty of testifying to the events publicly,” said Assistant District Attorney Shannon Sarfoh, who prosecuted the case.
Weiss was initially charged in City Court with sexually abusing the two boys in 2007.
The indictment also alleged that between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2007, Weiss repeatedly struck one of the boys on the back on New Scotland Avenue, “knocking him to the ground and then kicked him in the leg.” Court papers alleged Weiss sexually abused one boy in June 2007 and the other between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 that year.
The incidents took place in a facility on Whitehall Road in Albany not to be confused with the Albany Jewish Community Center,.
In both cases, the indictment had alleged Weiss had sexual contact “consisting of placing his penis in contact with said child’s buttocks.”
Rabbi admits molesting 2 teenage boys
Associated Press - January 11, 2010
Rabbi takes plea deal
He admits having inappropriate physical contact with 2 boys
By Robert Gavin
Times Union - January 12, 2010
Roza Weiss: Rubashkin Daugher, Wife of Accused Molester
By Debra Nussbaum Cohen
Forward - January 13, 2010
It was hard not to feel sympathy for Roza Hinda Weiss as she stood before some 700 Lubavitch women last Sunday night and asked them for money.
At an “Emergency Rally for Pidyon Shvuyim,” or Redeeming a Captive, she was trying to raise $1.5 million for her father’s legal appeal. In November her father, Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, was convicted on 86 counts of financial fraud relating to Agriprocessors, the country’s biggest kosher meat processing plant, which he ran and was owned by his family.
Weiss, a tiny young woman in her 20s wearing glasses, a simple sweater and skirt and a dark sheitel, seemed fragile, as she stood on stage in the Crown Heights girls’ school. Her voice broke slightly as she related the trials of going door to door in Monsey, N.Y., after her father’s arrest in October 2008, asking Hasidic Jews there for money on cold fall nights as her husband and three very young daughters waited in the car.
Little did most at the rally know that the very next morning Roza would be by her husband’s side in an Albany courthouse as Rabbi Yaakov Weiss pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in a plea bargain relating to charges rooted in his sexual molestation of two 13-year-old boys in 2007.
One of his victims is the son of another Chabad family that lives in a nearby town.
Weiss was found guilty of one count of child endangerment, but admitted his guilt under oath, acknowledging that he “touched his penis to the buttocks” of two different boys in the Albany community mikvah, and on the phone urged one of his victims to lie to his mother and police about it.
At the time this molestation took place, the Weisses had two very young daughters and Roza was pregnant with their third. Her husband was teaching children in the Hebrew school he established in Colonie, along with doing other outreach work for which emissaries of the Chabad movement are known. The Chabad organization in charge of emissaries suspended him when he was indicted last August.
Because Weiss accepted the plea bargain that was offered by the DA in order to “spare the children the rigors of a trial,” the prosecutor told me, his maximum sentence will be 60 days in jail. He will be on probation for three years but is not required to register as a sex offender.
I wonder, what must it be like to be Roza Hinda Weiss, nee Rubashkin?
She grew up in a family of great means that was known, according to its many Lubavitch supporters, for its great charity. To be a Rubashkin in the world of Lubavitch was close to being royalty.
Before its downfall, Rubashkin Industries had annual income of $84.9 million, according to a widely-cited Dunn & Bradstreet report.
What happened to all that money?
His supporters needed to raise money to fund Rubashkin’s initial defense, and have already spent $2 million. Support is being solicited by committees like that at the Lubavitch, Crown Heights-based National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education formed to free this “captive.”
Though his supporters and advisors urged Rubashkin to accept a plea bargain offered by prosecutors before trial began, he proclaimed his innocence and, often carrying a picture of the late Lubavitcher rebbe as he went in and out of court, decided to go through with the trial.
And what is it like to be the mother of three very young children and married to a man who has pled guilty to sexually molesting 13-year-old boys in a mikvah?
Like most Lubavitch girls, Roza married early and she and her new husband began having children right away.
Will she continue to stand by her man now that he is a convicted child sexual molester?
Even if she wants a divorce, he holds the power because he must grant her a Jewish divorce, or “get,” which according to Orthodox Jewish law only husbands can grant wives.
If her husband’s downfall had happened before her father’s, she would have had access to the tools – i.e. money and influence – used by some Orthodox fathers in the cases when their estranged sons-in-law are refusing to give their daughters a get.
But now Roza Weiss no longer has access to that money and influence, or even to her imprisoned father. Instead of people coming to her to ask for help, she is asking them.
It is hard to know whether to pity her as a victim of the wrongdoings of the men closest to her, or view her with a different kind of pity, as someone who has totally bought (at least publicly) into the view that her father is a victim and bears no responsibility for defrauding banks and vendors of tens of millions of dollars. We also ought not forget the hundreds of South American workers, many illegal aliens, who were exploited by Agriprocessors’ management by being underpaid, undertrained and forced to live in Rubashkin-owned housing. While related federal charges against Sholom Rubashkin have been dropped, state labor department charges have not.
What she thinks of her husband is hard to say, but it is also hard to imagine living with a man under these circumstances, which she will do at least until his sentencing, slated for March 1st.
One thing was made clear in her speech to the Jewish women of Crown Heights, many of whom were moved by the young woman’s plight to write checks for her father’s legal defense fund: beneath Roza Weiss’ fragile exterior lies a woman whose determination is forged of steel.
In Sex Case, Rubashkin Relative Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment
“He got a slap on the hand. Across the country people are copping pleas so they don’t end up on sex offender registries,” said Vicki Polin, founder and chief executive officer of The Awareness Center, which advocates on behalf of victims of rabbinic sexual abuse.
Rubashkin Son-In-Law Yaakov Weiss Pleads Guilty in Boy-Molest Case, But Avoids Sex-Offender Registry
By Ward Harkavy
Village Voice - Friday January 15, 2010
Yaakov Weiss, a son-in-law of crooked Kosher-meat-mogul Sholom Rubashkin, has pleaded guilty to child endangerment in a boy-sex case in Albany. Weiss admitted that he got naked with a 13-year-old boy and had "inappropriate physical contact" with the child.
But the goniff worked out a plea deal and miraculously won't wind up on the sex-offender registry. Which means he can resume his career of working with children.
This despite the fact that he was indicted for full-on molestation: trying to hide his salami in (or at least rub it on) the butts of two boys while they were all taking a mikveh a ritual bath that's supposed to purify one's soul but clearly didn't have the desired effect.
And Weiss skated despite the fact that he admitted telling one of the two boys he was charged with molesting to lie to his mother and to police.
Weiss, 29, is married to the eldest daughter of Rubashkin, and they had moved from the powerful family's Brooklyn stronghold to the Albany suburb Colonie to run a Hebrew academy. His father-in-law, meanwhile, sits in an Iowa prison awaiting sentencing after being convicted in November of financial fraud.
These crimes are not the reasons these Orthodox Jewish guys in this case, powerful Chabadniks wear black hats. But black hats these two schnooks do wear. Meanwhile, Weiss's wife helped lead a Chabad rally Sunday in Crown Heights in support of her convicted dad. The women-and-girls-only rally drew more than 1,000.
Letter to the Editor
How does rabbi skip registry
By Susan Brown
Times Union - January 15, 2010
Group says rabbi no longer leader:
By Robert Gavin
Times Union - January 19, 2010
ALBANY -- A Loudonville rabbi who admitted having "inappropriate physical contact" with two 13-year-old boys -- and telling one to lie to police and his mother about it -- remains under suspension, his organization said Monday.
Rubashkin Kin Guilty in Sex Case
By Debra Nussbaum Cohen
|Rabbi Yaakov Weiss - Convicted Sex Offender|
Probation Conditions: Weiss under Sex Offender Restrictions for 3 Years
Albany County Probation Department - March 8, 2010
Albany County Probation Department
ORDER AND CONDITIONS OF ADULT PROBATION
Part II Albany
Ind/Docket No.: 31-2649
Defendant Yaakov Weiss having been convicted of:
PL 260.10 01 AM 0 ACT IN MANNER INJURE CHILD USSS THAN 17
is this day ORDERED sentenced to probation for a period of 3 years to expire on '3/7/13 unless terminated by the Court prior to the aforementioned date.
While on probation, said defendant is ORDERED to comply with the following conditions and any others Which the Court may impose at a later date and to follow the instructions of the probation officer as to the way in which these conditions are to be carried out:
1. Answer truthfully all reasonable inquiries by the Probation Officer and to notify the Probation Officer prior to any change in address or employment.
2. Remain within the jurisdiction of the Court unless granted permission to leave by Court or the Probation Officer. (The jurisdiction of the court is Albany County - Webmaster)SPECIAL CONDITIONS:
3. Report to a Probation Officer as directed by the Court or the Probation Officer and permit the Probation Officer to visit him at his place of abode or elsewhere.
4. Maintain a residence as approved by the Probation Department.
5. Refrain from committing any additional crime, offense, violation or other illegal actiVity.
6. Advise the supervising Probation Officer of any re-arrest wIthin 24 hours.
7. Allow the Probation Department to exchange information with agencies who conduct criminal investigations.
8. Provide a sample for DNA testing as mandated by executive Law 995-c for Designated offenders, or pursuant to the SUbject Index as authorized by Executive Law Article 49B - excluding Youthful Offender.
1. Serve 60 days in the Albany County Penitentiary to commence on 3/8/2010 (Weiss was released early for "good behavior" - Webmaster)
2. Maintain verifiable full-time employment, and, or attend school on a regular basis. Should it be deemed appropriate, the defendant shall attend the Albany County Probation Department Offender Workforce Development Program and or Probation/Trinity Institute Development Program, until successful completion of said programs.
3. No hunting license or pistol permit.
4. Sign appropriate HIPAA/Mental Hygiene compliant authorization form when requested by Probation Department.
5. Submit to a search of his person, premises, residence, vehicle and area under his immediate control without prior notification as deemed appropriate by the Probation Department.
6. As recommended, Probationer shall attend, fully cooperate with, and participate in, and successfully complete sex offender treatment at an ATSA (Assooiation for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers) participating provider. Probationer will be fully responsible to bear the financial responsibility for treatment. Successful completion will be determined by the treatment provider and/or the Probation Department; both subject to Court review. Probationer will sign a HIPAA/Mental Health compliant authorization release allowing the Probation Department and the Court access to treatment records.
7. Submit and cooperate with polygraph examinations as determIned neoessary by the Probation Department and/or treatment prOVider. Polygraph examinations wlll be conducted by a provider deemed appropriate by the Probation Department and/or ATSA certified sex offender treatment provider. Client will be fully responsible to bear financial responsibility for polygraph examinations.
8. Have no contact with your victims until approved by the Court, your therapist, Probation Officer, victim's therapist, victim's guardian (if the victim is a child) and Child Protective Services caseworker.
9. Not to have children's toys or children's books in your possession unless approved by the Probation Department, except those of his own children.
10. Inform all persons with whom you have a significant relationship with,·whom you have a close affiliation, or with whom you reside, of your offending history. Your therapist and/or Probation Officer will determine Who shall be informed.
11. Not to use/possess/view pornography, erotica, or any other sexually stimulating material or items and not to enter adult book stores, sex shops, topless and/or nude bars, massage parlors, or any other establishment that your Probation Officer deems inappropriate.
12. Probationer will notify Probation Officer or Designee of any/all oomputers being used/accessed, including ownership and location. Probation will determine the number of computers the client is allowed and/or access to within the household.
Furthermore, abide by the following special conditions: (These are the sex offender conditions - webmaster)
13. Submit to a mental health evaluation as deemed appropriate by the Probation Department, and, if recommendedl participate in treatment until successful completion of such program. The defendant will sign a HIPAA/Mental Hygiene compliant authorization allowing the Probation Department and the Court access to treatment records. The defendant shall be responsible to bear the cost of such treatment as required by the treatment agency.
14. Probationer will provide all personal/business phone and internet service provider records to the supervising Probation Officer upon request.
15. Probationer must obtain prior approval from the supervising Probation officer to use the internet to access social networking websites, billing/transaction records will be submitted to the Probation officer upon request.
16. Probationer is prohibited from using any form of encryptIon, cryptography, stenography, compression and/or other method that might limit access/delete/rewrite, or change the appearance of data and/or images.
17. Probationer agrees to unannounced examination by the supervislng Probation Officer or designees of any and all computer(s) and/or other electronic device(s) to which he/she has access. This includes acess to all data and/or images stored on hard disk drives, floppy diskettes, CD ROMs, optical discs, magnetic tapes and/or any other storage media whether installed within a device or removable. The examination may take place where the computer is located or it may be removed and done in a timely manner by the Probation Department. In the event illegal or prohibited material is located, the Probationer further agrees to a forensic examination.
18. Probationer agrees to remove any hardware device including modem, network card, and/or other device that may be used to provide access to another computer or computers, furthermore agrees to supply any user names; passwords to allow access to computer hardware, software and internet connections.
19. Consult with your Probation Officer and your therapist about your daily schedule and any additional activities. You will follow directions of your Probation Officer and your therapist to avoid those activities which your Probation Officer and therapist have determined might trigger your impulse to commit an additional offense.
20. Not to drive alone with any passenger unless the person's name, address and phone number Is reported to the Probation Officer, and the ProbatIon Officer approves.
21. Not to initiate, establish or maintain contact with any minor child under the age of 17, other than immediate family members, without a parent of legal guardian of such Child actually present throughout such contact. Prior to such contact, the parent or legal guardian of such child must be made aware of the Probationer's offense history. Probationer may not be in a Mikvah pool or changing area at any time when a minor child is present.
22. Not to enter places where children other than immediate family congregate, including but not limited to parks, playgrounds, schools, etc. without Probation or Court approval.
23. Your employment must be approved by your therapist and/or Probation Officer. If so instructed by the supervising Probation Officer, employer must be told of nature of offense and probation status, and must sign a Release of Information for employer. Not to secure employment where persons under 17 are employed and present without permission of your Probation Officer or the Court.
24. Not to own, have In possession, residence or motor vehicle any weapon as defined in Section 265.00 of the Penal Law, Further, shall not possess or own any Instrument construed to be a weapon by the supervising Probation Officer, or a means of restraint or harm.
25. Other than at current residence, Probationer must have prior permission of the Probation Officer to reside in an apartment complex, apartment building ormobile home park, and must inform the landlord/management of your offending history as deemed appropriate by your Probation Officer.
26. Not to be away from approved residence overnight Without the prior permission of the Probation Department.
27. A copy of the Pre-Sentence Report prepared for this term of Probation may be released to any treatment agency to which you are referred.
28. Report any changes in vehicle ownership, registration, or accessible vehicles to the Probation Department.
29. Submit to and cooperate with GPS technology and monitoring at any time during the supervision and when it is determined by probation, treatment providers, and the Court that It is necessary for public safety,
30. Refrain from employment which involves contact with minors.
/s/ Judge Stephen W. Herrick
I have read and received a copy of the above Order and Conditions of probation and agree to comply with them, I understand the conditions and that the Court may, at any time prior to the expiration or termination of the period of probation, modIfy or enlarge the conditions or if I violate a condition or commit an additional offense other than a traffic infraction. revoke the sentence
Probationer /s/ Yaakov Weiss
Address: 7 Longmont Dr. Albany NY 12211
Proposed bill would place more offenders on sex crime registry
By Robert Gavin
Times Union - Monday, February 1, 2010
ALBANY -- On May 7, 2007, Rabbi Yaakov Weiss of Chabad of Colonie delivered an invocation about "ethics and morals" to the New York state Assembly.
Rabbi gets jail time over pool incident
Times Union - March 9, 2010
A Loudonville rabbi was sentenced Monday to 60 days in the Albany County jail for endangering the welfare of a child.
Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, 30, founder of the Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School, was handcuffed and led out by sheriff’s deputies to start his sentence.
“You have utterly failed to accept responsibility for your actions,” County Judge Stephen Herrick told Weiss, whose family and supporters sat in the courtroom. “You are not the victim here. The boys were the victims.”
In pleading guilty to the misdemeanor in January, Weiss admitted he had “inappropriate physical contact” with two naked 13-year-old boys in 2007 inside a small pool known as a mikveh on Whitehall Road in Albany. Weiss, a married father of three, also admitted to telling one boy not to tell the police about what happened.
“I want to apologize to everyone that’s been hurt,” Weiss said.
Herrick noted that Weiss was charged with four misdemeanor counts and pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child.
In addition to the 60 days in jail, Herrick sentenced Weiss to three years’ probation, issued two orders of protection to keep him away from the boys and ordered him to undergo sex offender counseling even though he is not classified as a sex offender.
Assistant District Attorney Shannon Sarfoh read a victim-impact statement from the mother of one boy in which she urged the judge to sentence Weiss to the maximum of 60 days in jail.
“I toss and turn all night. I have a nagging pain in my head constantly,” the mother said. “Sixty days in the scheme of things is not very long. But the 60 days might just let me have a full night’s sleep and relax my jaw.”
Sarfoh said the guilty plea was accepted so the victim would not have to testify.
Funds to combat Orthodox community sex abuse
By Paul Berger
Jewish Chronical - March 18, 2010
A New York state agency is to finance a new $1 million programme to combat sexual abuse in the Orthodox community.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents a Brooklyn district with a large Orthodox community, said the scheme, called Shomrei yeladim ("Protectors of children"), will concentrate on educating children and parents about the dangers of abuse. It will also train professionals to deal with abuse in the Orthodox community.
The programme will be announced in coming weeks and would be financed by New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
However, critics allege that the money has been available since April 2009 and has been left unused while the programme was being worked out.
Until recently, sexual abuse was a taboo subject. Orthodox victims were deterred from calling the authorities. Allegations were met by community leaders with denial and disbelief.
But Mr Hikind said that progress had been made. "It's not the same world today that it was a year-and-a-half ago. This conviction now reiterates that this could be your next door neighbour."
The Brooklyn District Attorney has shown increased interest in sexual abuse in the Orthodox community during the past couple of years. Last year, about 25 men were arrested on related charges.
Two weeks ago, travel agent Baruch Lebovitz, 59, was found guilty of eight counts of abusing a 16-year-old boy and faces up to 32 years in prison.
Last month, a Chabad rabbi was sentenced to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to endangering the welfare of a child. Yaakov Weiss, who founded the Chabad Hebrew School in Colonie, NY, admitted having inappropriate physical contact with two 13-year-old boys in a mikveh.
Rabbi jailed for sexual contact with boys is back home
WTEN NEWS 10 - April 14, 2010
The Albany County District Attorney's office confirms 28-year old Rabbi Yaakov Weiss was released from jail Wednesday. Earlier this year, Weiss pleaded guilty to having contact with boys on multiple occasions.
The DA's office says Weiss was sentenced back on March 8th and should have served two-thirds or 40 days of his sentence, which would be April 17.
It's not clear why he was home early, but neighbors who did not want to be identified "I'm just concerned for my children," one neighbor said. "I don't want them to lose their innocence. They keep asking questions."
As part of his sentence, the rabbi must now serve three years probation, and register as a sex offender.
Parents want rabbi on sex offender registry
Times Union - December 26, 2012
ALBANY — A Loudonville rabbi who admitted having inappropriate physical contact with two 13-year-old boys in 2007 is being sued by their families for alleged sexual assault.
Yaakov Weiss, the founder of Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School, also is being sued for allegedly defaming the youths when he claimed the allegations were "100% untrue" and concocted by a rival, according to court papers reviewed by the Times Union. Weiss has since been suspended and is no longer affiliated with the Colonie Chabad.
The case is set for trial in Jan. 22 before state Supreme Court Justice Eugene "Gus" Devine, though it could be assigned to another judge.
Weiss complained about the civil lawsuit to a rabbinical tribunal in Rockland County, according to people with knowledge of the situation. That body could potentially excommunicate the parents of the victims for taking the matter outside a religious setting.
Weiss, now 32, was convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment in January 2010 when he admitted he knowingly had inappropriate physical contact with the boys separately while naked in a small pool, known as a mikvah, used for ritual purification.
One of the boys was abused in June 2007, the other in November and December that year. The suit said Weiss lured them to a location on Whitehall Road. Weiss had been charged with sexual abuse — the indictment said he placed his penis in contact with the children's buttocks — when he took the plea.
The plea did not require he register as a sex offender, an outcome that upset the parents of one the boys. In an interview with the Times Union, the parents said they trusted Weiss with their boy to the same degree as if their son had been home with them.
"It turned out not to be the case," the father said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "You feel betrayed, you feel disgusted and you feel that you would like everything to be thrown at him within the boundaries of the legal system ... we found out the legal system doesn't always do everything."
They were not pleased with his sentence — 60 days and 3 years' probation — which they called light.
"We wanted him on the registry," said the mother, referring to the New York State Sex Offender Registry.
The boy's mother said they only learned of Weiss' abuse after their son told another youth who, in turn, reported it to an adult.
"The first thing I wanted to do was throw up," she said.
Weiss admitted in his plea that he told one of the boys to lie to police and his mother about the abuse, telling him, "just say nothing happened."
The parents said they hope the civil suit will hold Weiss accountable in a way the criminal justice system did not.
The lawsuit stated that even after Weiss pleaded guilty, he and his attorney, Arnold Proskin, continued to allege that the case was rooted in a "Chabad turf war" between Weiss and another area Chabad emissary and that Weiss "molested nobody."
The suit said the remarks were "false, defamatory, denigrating and slanderous."
Ancowitz, the attorney for the families, declined comment. Weiss' lawyer could not be reached.
Yaakov Weiss, 32, and the victim's family agreed to the terms as the civil case was set to go to trial before state Supreme Court Justice Eugene "Gus" Devine.
"He got a very good deal — just as he got in the criminal court," the father of the victim, who said he reluctantly agreed to the deal, told the Times Union late Tuesday.
Weiss, a suspended rabbi and the former director of Chabad of Colonie who is a married father of four young girls, pleaded guilty in 2010 to misdemeanor child endangerment charges. He admitted the contact with the boys when they were both 13 — and that he told one of the boys to "just say nothing happened" to his mother and police.
Weiss was sentenced to 60 days in jail.
The families of the victims sued Weiss, alleging sexual assault as well as defamation because Weiss had claimed the allegations against him were "100 percent untrue" and the result of a religious turf war. Weiss complained about the civil lawsuit to a rabbinical tribunal in Rockland County, which threatened to excommunicate the parents of the victims for taking the matter outside a religious setting.
One family dropped its suit against Weiss. The settlement keeps the other family from being excommunicated, according to people with knowledge of the case.
Had the civil case proceeded to trial, jurors would have heard details from Weiss' sworn deposition by the family's attorney in 2012. A copy of the deposition obtained by the Times Union last year showed Weiss admitted he became sexually aroused at different times with both boys in a mikvah, a small pool used for spiritual purification.
Court papers show the victim's attorney, Richard Ancowitz, asked Weiss if the physical contact between him and the boys was intentional or a result of carelessness.
"Um, that was intended," Weiss replied.
The deposition shows Weiss admitted he was lying when he said the allegations against him were untrue.
Weiss also said he was "very hopeful" the case would be settled outside of a court without going to trial and that he was "very surprised" the families of his victims did not want to settle it outside of a legal setting.
Ancowitz declined to comment. Weiss' attorney, John Pennock, could not be reached.
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