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Rabbi accused of sexual offenses in Bergen County

A Bergen County rabbi, who has been married for 36 years and has 35 years of experience as a Jewish educator, has been accused of sexual offenses by two 13-year-old boys.

The boys were in a program funded by a scholarship fund that was set up about 12 years ago by the rabbi. The fund helps orphaned and disadvantaged children from Israel. The program has brought more than 12 children from Israel to the United States.

The indictment states that the rabbi made "sexual contact" with both boys during their stay in the United States in 2009 and 2010. The boys stayed at the rabbi's home during the two summers as part of the rabbi's scholarship program. Prosecutors from Bergen County stated that the boys complained to Israeli authorities on separate occasions. The Israeli authorities contacted the FBI, who then contacted the police and the county prosecutor's office. Police arrested the rabbi at his home in August 2011 (you might recall that we wrote about the allegations at the time).

The rabbi's attorney did not return phone calls to media sources, but at the time of the rabbi's arrest, he had stated that the cleric was confused by the allegations. He said that prosecutors would need to fly the boys to Bergen County so that they could testify before a grand jury.

One of the assistant county prosecutors for the county said state law doesn't require the boys to be present to testify before the grand jury. He did state that if the case goes to trial, the boys are expected to testify.

The rabbi was charged with 13 counts of child endangerment by sexual conduct, criminal sexual contact and aggravated criminal sexual contact. If the rabbi is convicted of the crimes, he could spend up to 10 years in prison for each child endangerment charge. The rabbi is out on $175,000 bond.

Source: "Teaneck rabbi indicted on sex charges," Kibret Markos, Feb. 9, 2012