Trial to Begin in Teaneck Rabbi Sex Abuse Case
Rabbi faced prior sex abuse allegations, prosecutor says.
Prosecutors plan to fly two Israeli boys to the United States to testify in the trial of a Teaneck rabbi who allegedly molested the teens while they stayed with him during a scholarship program, northjersey.com reported.
The trial of Rabbi Uzi Rivlin, 65, is set for next month in Hackensack. Rivlin was charged in 2011 with sexually abusing the boys in 2009 and 2010.
Prosecutors disclosed Tuesday in a pretrial hearing that Rivlin had been accused of sexual assault, child endangerment and public lewdness in 2000 in New York City, the report said. The rabbi ultimately pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor public lewdness charge.
Details of that case were not immediately available late Tuesday.
Rivlin's defense attorney, Howard Simmons, said in the hearing that one of the alleged victims made false allegations of sex abuse in the past against his own father, the report said.
Simmons also said a teenage girl who stayed with Rivlin told authorities that one of the alleged abuse victims tried to sexually assault her at the rabbi's home, according to the report.
Pretrial hearings would determine how much of those statements make it in as evidence at the trial.
Judge Patrick Roma rejected a request by Simmons to have Rivlin's indictment tossed.
Rivlin met the boys through a program he partly sponsored for disadvantaged Israeli youth, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said after the arrest. He also taught at Congregation Beth Abraham in Tarrytown N.Y., authorities have said.
Both boys made the abuse allegations separately to Israeli authorities, Molinelli said. Israeli police alerted the FBI, who contacted Teaneck and Bergen County investigators.
Rivlin has maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty.
He faces charges of aggravated sexual contact, criminal sexual contact and child endangerment. Bergen County Jail records show the rabbi has been free on bail.