Monday, April 12, 2010

Sentencing of Rabbi Baruch Lebovits on charges of child molestation

Statement from The Awareness Center, Inc.
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter - April 12, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010 -- Today's sentencing of rabbi Baruch Lebovits sends a loud and clear message to all sex offenders living within ultra-orthodox Jewish communities around the globe.  This landmark case proves that the wall of silence is crumbling down.  
Today, the survivors of rabbi Baruch Lebovits voices were heard and know that justice has prevailed.  
We all must be aware that survivors of other sexual predators are watching closely and are learning that they too can and will be believed if they come forward and work with law enforcement officials; by doing so they too can help to get other child molesters off the streets -- no matter what role the offender plays in their community.
The Awareness Center is committed to offering hope and healing, which in many cases involves helping those who have been abused seek justice via our legal system.  
Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC
Founder and CEO
Israel Appel
New York State Chapter Director


Rabbi Baruch Lebovits, the wealthy owner of a travel agency in Borough Park Sentenced to 32 years for Abusing 16-year-old teenager

BOROUGH PARK, N.Y. (WPIX) - Rabbi Baruch Lebovits, 59, the wealthy owner of a travel agency in Borough Park, Brooklyn, was hit Monday with a lengthy prison term for sexually abusing a then-16 year old teenager from his neighborhood.

Lebovits, a father of seven children and grandfather to twenty four, had long been the subject of talk in his community, but no action was ever taken against him, until three alleged victims came forward a couple of years ago.

Judge Patricia DiMango, of Brooklyn Supreme Court, sentenced Lebovits to a maximum term of 10 2/3 to 32 years. The victim in this first case told the jury that Lebovits performed oral sex on him in the rabbi's silver Toyota, between May 2004 and February 2005. The victim, now 22, testified he turned to drugs and alcohol after the abuse. The defense attorney, Arthur Aidala, argued the allegations were made up, as part of an extortion attempt, because Lebovits' son is a multi-millionaire.

In a surprise courtroom revelation, the judge read portions of Lebovits' probation report, where the rabbi confided to authorities that he himself was a victim of sexual abuse, when he was a boy. Lebovits said he was victimized the first time by an uncle in London, when he was just 11-years-old. He said a teenager abused him again, a year later, when he was 12.

Lebovits' victim, who admitted he stole money from poor boxes in the synagogue to feed his drug habit, read a statement to the judge before sentencing.

"Some people are telling me I'll regret going to the police. I feel every day Baruch Lebovits is in jail is a day kids in our community are safe," he said.

The victim's father then read his own statement to Judge DiMango, swaying back and forth at the table like he was saying daily prayers in his Orthodox Jewish faith:

"I ask you Mordechai Lebovits--where is your soul? You destroyed these children," said the victim's father,

Later, outside of court, the man revealed to PIX 11 News how community members from the synagogue lashed out against the family after they went public with the abuse complaints.

"Somebody almost kicked me .. they threw me out of the synagogue," he said.

Defense attorney, Arthur Aidala, took note that Lebovits worked for many years as a kindergarten teacher and there was never one word of complaint from parents. He pointed to more than 100 letters of support for the rabbi, written by his family and other community members.

"In my religion, you would call the life Baruch Lebovits lived a saint --this is a non-violent crime. Keep in mind, this is his first contact with the system," said Aidala.

But Judge DiMango was not swayed, although she noted, "Sex abuse often leads to sex abuse." Before imposing the maximum sentence, she said, "Abusing and harming children will not be tolerated."

A group of young men who say they're survivors of sexual abuse by teachers and counselors turned up in court to support the victim.

The defense plans to appeal the harsh sentence, claiming Lebovits is being punished, because he turned down a "plea bargain" offer before trial that would have carried a 1 1/3 to 4 year maximum penalty. Now the rabbi is looking at 32 years.

There's some new research that indicates that the majority of sex offenders were physically abused as children and NOT sexually abused. I'm guessing the judge and the journalist in this story were not aware of the newest findings.

It's important to note that the majority of people who were sexually and or physically abused do not ever molest others. It's only an extremely small percentage that repeat what occurred to them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kew Gardens said...

Allegations of Bryks committing crimes in Queens are coming to light for the first time.

At Rabbi Nisanov's Yeshiva Berachel David in KGH where Bryks was a rebbe until being forced out by the RCA, he is said to have played "games" with young boys that are eerily similar to Lanner's escapades at NCSY. This includes kneeing boys in the groin and some kind of odd "game" centering around imitation milk moustaches and simulated kissing.

Whenever Rabbi Nisanov is approached about Bryks he brushes off anything he hears, that Bryks is a "tzadik". Nisanov is a former Queens Vaad President.

Current Queens Vaad President Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is said to voice his distaste for Bryks while making clear that he is not interested in doing anything about him, despite that Bryks has two positions with the Vaad.

A mother of a former student at Berachel David had no idea Bryks was a molester at all, let alone of her own son. She spoke to Bryks about her son's strange behavior and lack of interest in shidduchim. Bryks immediately demanded to speak to the boy in private and locked the door for 45 minutes. The mother says that Bryks later advised her to send the boy to hang out with gay men in Miami as it would be therapeutic for his particular situation. The mother was shocked & started asking around which is when she learned of Bryks's sordid history.

Bryks has just built a mansion across the street from his original home on 116th St. He has made a fortune off being a mortgage broker to the local frum community and from his businesses on the side with Rabbi Belsky and Queens Vaad Av beis din Rabbi Peretz Steinberg in which they act as guns for hire to the highest bidder in nasty divorce cases.

Bryks was earlier "teaching Torah" on a KGH based website but after this was exposed by UOJ & Jewish Survivors blog a few years ago, some rabbis asked the administrator to block Bryks from participating there. Bryks has since started his own website

There is someone who has Bryks on tape in what may be incriminating evidence. We will be emailing UOJ to get this tape into his hands and hopefully posted here for the world to listen to.