Rabbi Steve Karro denied some of the allegations, but reportedly told police he touched the girl’s buttocks for "cleansing [purposes,] as she was exhibiting negative energy."
Above: Rabbi Steve Karro
Rabbi Busted For Molestation Says He Fondled 11-Year-Old’s Buttocks For “Cleansing” Purposes
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A substitute rabbi at Shaare Ezra, a Sefardic Orthodox synagogue in Miami Beach, was arrested today for alleged child molestation, local News 10 reported.
55-year-old Rabbi Steve Karro allegedly molested an 11-year-old girl last month and is charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child and lewd and lascivious conduct on a child.
On April 16, Karro allegedly fondled the girl’s buttocks and kissed the girl's neck after placing her on his lap. The incident took place at the at the Karro Art Gallery, which specializes in Judaic fine art.
Police reportedly said Karro and victim have known one other for five years.
Karro denied some of the allegations, but reportedly told police he touched the girl’s buttocks for "cleansing [purposes,] as she was exhibiting negative energy."
Parents who believe their children might have been molested by by Karro or children who believe they were molested by him have been asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
Update 11:23 pm CDT – The Miami Herald adds:
…Police said Karro gave [the girl] a bag of candy and asked her not to tell her parents about what had happened as she left the studio, 738 Arthur Godfrey Rd., on April 16. Police said the child and Karro knew each other for five years, but officers couldn’t explain why she was at the studio alone. …
Karro’s only previous brush with the law, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, was for beating up his wife in 1999. His wife was also arrested during that encounter, in what was described then as a “knock-down, drag-out fight.”
Miami Beach police on Thursday couldn’t explain the nature of the relationship between Karro and the 11-year-old girl, and said the child’s parents were informed of the allegations after she returned home the day she was alleged to have been fondled.
Karro, who was born in Russia and raised in Jerusalem, opened KARRO International Fine Art gallery three years ago. Its website says the gallery specializes in Judaic art paintings and that Karro studied art at the Betzalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. His biography says he graduated from Yeshiva College as a rabbi and a scribe in 1979.