Yeshiva University has a new faculty member, newly hired this year to teach its students – including high school students – a convicted child molester whose father allegedly previously sexually harassed at least one male student at a Conservative rabbinical school.
Yeshiva University has a new faculty member, newly hired this year to teach its students – a convicted child molester. The Forward reports:
Update 11:50 am CDT – I don't have this confirmed yet, but it appears from what I've been told that Akiva Roth is the son of Rabbi Joel Roth, who is the Louis Finkelstein Professor of Talmud and Jewish Law at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and the Rosh Yeshiva of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. The elder Roth was forced to resign from JTS in two decades ago after allgedly sexually harassing a male student at its West Coast affiliate.
Yeshiva University, still reeling from allegations that for decades its leaders dealt improperly with the specter of sexual abuse, has hired a new faculty member convicted of inappropriate sexual behavior with boys, the Forward has learned.
Akiva Roth, who started this new school year as a Hebrew teacher at Yeshiva College, pleaded guilty in 1997 to four counts of lewdness against several boys in his work as a private bar mitzvah tutor.
Roth, 42, has not been accused of misconduct at Y.U. But his employment by Yeshiva College calls into question Y.U.’s hiring practices at a time when the university is battling to repair its public image over the sex abuse allegations.
A spokesman for Y.U. issued the following statement: “Yeshiva University has policies and procedures in place that require background checks for new hires. We are currently in the process of thoroughly exploring the matter you brought to our attention.”…
Roth was arrested in September 1996 on suspicion of abusing several boys ages 11 and 12. During private bar mitzvah classes, Roth exposed and touched himself and encouraged the boys to do the same, according to court records.
Roth was charged with sexual contact and with endangering the welfare of a child. At the time, he was a teacher at the [Conservative Movement's] Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union, now known as the Golda Och Academy, in West Orange, N.J.
In 1997, at the age of 26, Roth pleaded guilty to four counts of lewdness. Barnett E. Hoffman, a superior court judge in New Jersey, sentenced Roth to 10 years of probation.
In imposing the sentence, Hoffman noted that a sex offender therapist determined that Roth was “in the lowest category for risk of re-offense.” But Hoffman added, Roth showed a “lack of appreciation for the wrongfulness of his conduct.”
“Defendant is very arrogant and continues to blame the victims for the trouble he is in,” Hoffman wrote in a statement outlining his sentencing decision. “Furthermore, he does not even see his conduct as sexual in nature, which it clearly is.”
After noting that Roth blamed the boys for “enticing him into this behavior,” Hoffman said that Roth “has very little empathy for his victims and an unawareness of the harm done to them by his actions.”
“In short,” Hoffman concluded, “at this time, ‘he doesn’t get it.’”
In August 1999, Roth was hired by Drew University as a lecturer in modern and biblical Hebrew. According to his LinkedIn page, he was also a chaplain at Drew and a director of Hillel.
He left Drew partway through the academic year, in December 2006.
After leaving Drew, Roth worked at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as its northeast region synagogue initiative director, and for the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York as an Israel engagement coordinator.
Roth’s job at Yeshiva College is his first foray into education in eight years.…
Pictures – Joel Roth, right; Akiva Roth, left:
The following peoplesmart search appears to prove the relationship between the two. Joel Roth's wife's name is Barbara and a Barbara is shown as a relative of both Akiva and Joel below. Please click to enlarge:
Update 12:41 pm CDT – I've just been told that Yeshiva University high school students are allowed to take classes at YU proper, meaning some of them may be taking classes taught by Akiva Roth.
Another source has just told me with absolute certainty that Akiva Roth is Joel Roth's son, and a third source has indicated that what Joel Roth did was really much worse than JTS admitted at the time.