At Last Minute, Haredi Rabbi Accused Of Molesting Boys Walks Away From His Agreed On Plea Deal
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Boston Channel is reporting that Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt refused to enter a prearranged guilty plea in court today in Massachusetts.
Levitt is accused of sexually abusing three boys at the Maimonides School in Brookline in the 1970s.
Judge Carol Ball said Levitt, who is now 65 years old, "should have had the courtesy" to handle his decision to back away from his agreed on plea bargain differently. She said Levitt "added insult to injury" when at last minute he decided to back away from the plea bargain and go to trial without notifying the court so it could contact the three alleged victims before they travelled significant distances to be in court today.
When asked outside the courtroom if he had been rude to the three alleged victims, Levitt responded, “I am the only victim here.”
Levitt would have pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault and battery. Prosecutors had agreed to ask Judge Ball to impose a sentence of probation without prison.
Because the case will now go to trial, if Levitt is found guilty prosecutors will ask Judge Ball to impose a prison sentence.
"As I said until now, I had compassion for this man, and [now] my compassion has turned to anger," alleged victim Michael Brecher told the Boston Channel.
Levitt’s attorney told reporters that Levitt maintains his innocence and wants to fight the charges against him.
In 2004, Levitt pleaded no contest to indecent assault and corrupting a minor in Pennsylvania. He was sentenced to five years probation.
Another case there against Levitt was dropped, but a third went to trial. In that case, Levitt was found not guilty.
Many of the incidents the three cases were based on took place inside Congregation Lubavitch in North East Philidelphia.
Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, who is the head of Chabad in the region and also serves as the number 2 rabbi in Chabad international structure, was the rabbi in charge of Congregation Lubavitch when the incidents took place.
Shemtov told the Philidelphia Jewish Exponent two years ago that there was "lots of rumor that flew back and forth" about Levitt over the years. By his own admission, Shemtov did not get involved in the cases and eventually the rumors stopped. "No one came to me either seeking a solution or asking for help," Shemtov. said. With these kind of rumors, "unless you can be of help or assistance, you don't get involved."
Shemtove did not report the rumors to police.
Levitt's Massachusetts trial is scheduled to begin on May 14, 2012.