By Frank Donnelly (Staten Island Advance)
October 6, 2012
A 64-year-old Willowbrook man turned a haven into a horror, molesting an 8-year-old boy 10 times over 20 months inside a Jewish center in Meiers Corners, prosecutors allege.
Claude Neufeld, a French native, abused the boy between Jan. 14, 2011, and Sept. 21 of this year inside the Chabad Lubavitch of Staten Island center, according to court papers.
Those documents said Neufeld touched the victim's genitals over his clothes on 10 occasions.
A law enforcement source said the incidents occurred in an upstairs room in the two-story building at 289 Harold St.
Neufeld is an occasional congregant at the center, where congregants come to pray, reflect and learn, said the source.
The source said the boy recently informed his parents of the incidents. They told a rabbi at the center who advised them to contact police, said the source.
When cops went to arrest Neufeld at his home on the 800 block of Willowbrook Road on Wednesday, they found a loaded .22 caliber revolver in the bedroom, said court papers. Neufeld told officers he also had two rifles in the closet.
Cops seized two .22 caliber long gun rifles for which Neufeld could not provide a registration certificate, said court documents.
"I don't have a license for them," court records quote him as saying.
Neufeld was expected to be arraigned Friday in Stapleton Criminal Court on a felony count of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, said a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel Donovan. He's also accused of misdemeanor counts of endangering a child's welfare and criminal weapon possession.
A woman who answered the door at Neufeld's home Friday afternoon declined comment on the allegations.
A man who answered the door at Chabad Lubavitch said no one was there who had authority to speak on the case.
A message left at the center was not immediately answered.