Rabbi Baruch Lebovits was sentenced this morning to to two years for felony child sex abuse in a sweetheart plea deal. Because Leibovits already served time in prison for this and other counts but was freed after an error by the prosecution came to light, Leibovits could walk free in a matter of weeks when time served is counted.
Above: Rabbi Baruch Lebovits
It's another travesty of justice in Brooklyn.
Rabbi Baruch Lebovits was sentenced this morning to to two years for felony child sex abuse in a sweetheart plea deal. Because Leibovits already served time in prison for this and other counts but was freed and slated for retrial after an error by the prosecution (which actually favored Leibovits) came to light, Leibovits could walk free in a matter of weeks when time served is counted.
His original sentence could have seen him serve more than 30 years in prison.
But witnesses were clearly tampered with and bribed, and two DAs did nothing about it – even after the newest DA, Ken Thompson, admitted to the court that it happened. And now another haredi child sex abuser will walk.
Bizzarely, one of Lebovits' haredi victims – who was allegedly paid off by Leibovits' family, a fact the DA knows – spoke today in court in support of the sweetheart plea deal as did this victim's father, who used the opportunity to publicly thank the attorney who arranged that payoff from Lebovits' family to his family.
In terms of child sex abuse, in the US the most dangerous place for a child to be is arguably inside a haredi community in Brooklyn or Rockland County, New York.
Update 2:18 pm CDT – Hella Winston who was in the courtroom reports in the Jewish Week:
…Before Lebovits was taken to prison, his victim, YR — accompanied by a therapy dog — stood up to address the court.
He began by lashing out at anti-abuse activist Nuchem Rosenberg, claiming that he “is bullying me on the hotline,” a reference to comments made on a call-in line by Rosenberg about YR’s physical appearance. Rosenberg has also speculated on his hotline that YR was paid off in exchange for a promise not to testify against Lebovits at trial.
The Brooklyn district attorney has confirmed that YR did enter into a financial settlement with regard to his abuse by Lebovits and also that YR had expressed an unwillingness to take the stand were the case to go to trial.
In his comments, YR also noted the pain that Lebovits “caused my family,” and that Lebovits “would never apologize publicly to me.”
YR’s father also made a statement in which he said, “This is not a victory for [YR] but a celebration for truth.” Turning to Lebovits, he asked him to “reflect on how you destroyed an innocent life.” The father also thanked God, the district attorney [Kenneth Thompson] and Michael Ross, the attorney who brokered his son’s financial settlement (the father noted that Ross “worked pro bono”).
These statements differ markedly from those made by YR’s father when Lebovits was sentenced to 10 2/3-32 years for the same crimes against YR in 2010 (that conviction was reversed on appeal because of a DA error.) At the time, the father excoriated Lebovits for ruining “so many innocent lives just to serve his own selfish sick pleasures” and accused him of wishing “to see [his victims] completely destroyed so they would not be able to testify against you.”…