Brooklyn sex text rabbi caught out in police sting

By Anna Sheinman and Dan Goldberg, February 21, 2013
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A 59-year-old Brooklyn rabbi has been arrested in a police sting operation in which he allegedly attempted to meet a 14-year-old girl with whom he had been exchanging sexually explicit messages.

Rabbi Nathan David Rabinowich had in fact been sending messages to an undercover policeman, and he has now been charged with crimes including attempted rape, the New York Daily News reported.

The rabbi, who is a Jewish heritage tour guide, faces a possible four-year sentence. The charges come less than a month after Chasidic Brooklyn Rabbi Nechemya Weberman was given 103 years for 59 counts of sexual abuse.

Mr Rabinowich described himself as “the Mara d’Asra [halachic authority] of Beis Medrash Ahavas Torah, a prolific author, and teacher” in a self-penned article titled “Are We Teaching Chumash Correctly to our Children?”

Meanwhile, Australian police are investigating two alleged cases of child sex abuse in Sydney, one of which is believed to involve a former employee of a religious institution associated with Chabad-Lubavitch.

Neither of the men has been publicly named by the New South Wales police, who said the allegations date back to the late 1970s or 1980s.

Rabbi Eli Feldman, a spokesperson for the Yeshiva Centre, the headquarters of Chabad in NSW, said in a statement that police had not contacted them, adding: “Yeshiva unequivocally condemns any form of abuse, including child sexual abuse. We welcome any police investigation.”

Child abuse victim Manny Waks, a spokesman for Jewish victims, welcomed the news. “The Sydney Yeshiva Centre has made its position crystal clear: that it does not tolerate any forms of abuse, it encourages victims to go to the police, it commits to fully co-operating with the police… and, importantly, it offers victims and survivors support and assistance in a practical and sensitive manner.”

Last updated: 11:45pm, February 21 2013