Son of child-abuser rabbi 'victim of £155k extortion'

By Paul Berger, November 11, 2010

A millionaire businessman has been charged with trying to extort $250,000 (£155,000) out of the son of a rabbi convicted of sexual abuse.

Simon Taub allegedly threatened to accuse Meyer Lebovits, 31, of molesting Mr Taub's son unless he paid the money.

Mr Lebovits's father, Rabbi Baruch Lebovits, was convicted earlier this year of abusing a 16-year-old boy. He was sentenced to up to 32 years in prison.

After receiving the first allegedly threatening call from Mr Taub, 61, Mr Lebovits contacted the Brooklyn district attorney's office.

Investigators with the district attorney's office recorded several telephone calls between Mr Taub and Mr Lebovits.

Mr Taub was arrested this summer after he allegedly accepted $75,000 (£45,000) from Mr Lebovits, the first of what he believed would be five payments.

He is expected to appear in court early next year. He faces up to seven years in prison. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Mr Taub is no stranger to controversial - and somewhat bizarre - court cases.

He fought an acrimonious divorce battle with his ex-wife Chana in 2006, over who would keep their three-storey home in the Orthodox neighbourhood of Borough Park.

When the couple failed to reach an agreement, a judge ordered them to erect an internal wall, effectively dividing their home in two.

Since then, they have been to court several times in arguments over household utilities and money.

Mr Lebovits's father, Baruch, is currently in prison.

He had faced the possibility of a further trial after two men came forward alleging they were abused by Baruch.

However, both cases were dropped during the summer.

According to the New York Daily News, the Brooklyn district attorney's office has recordings of one of those men trying to extort money from the Lebovits family by threatening to bring abuse claims.

Earlier this year Baruch Lebovits's attorney, Alan Aidala, described his client as a respected figure in Borough Park.

Last updated: 9:56am, November 12 2010