Rabbi Baruch Lebovits indicted for sexually assaulting Brooklyn teenager five years ago. Complainant says reason for his delay in reporting abuse due to closed-off nature of community
The Jewish community in Brooklyn is ablaze following an indictment filed against a rabbi charged with sexually assaulting teenagers. A 22-year-old man testified in court for the first time Wednesday and said that the rabbi lured him into his car where he sexually assaulted him when he was a teenager, the New York Daily News has reported.
Rabbi Baruch Lebovits, 59, has been charged with sexual assault following a line of incidents which allegedly occurred in 2004 and 2005. The prosecution claims that Lebovits assaulted the man on several occasions.
Asked whether the rabbi said anything during the attack the young man, who appeared distressed, replied "He said something but I don't remember." Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Patricia DiMango repeatedly asked him to speak up. Asked how he was feeling the young man replied, "Very uncomfortable and confused."
The man said that the rabbi's abuse had ruined his life describing the development of his drug addiction from which he eventually recovered.
"It's a shame to talk about it and I have low self-esteem," he said when asked why it took him six years to file a complaint. He noted that such things were not talked of in his community.
The rabbi's attorney, Arthur Aidala, described the complainant as a "con man" with a history of drug offences.
"There's no video, there's no eyewitness, no DNA, there's no fingerprints... That evidence doesn't exist because all these acts didn't happen," he said.
The defendant who owns a travel agency in Brooklyn is slated to be indicted for sexually abusing two other teens. If convicted, the maximum sentence he could face is seven years in prison.