Yeshiva Teacher Yosef Kolko on Trial for Sexually Abusing Children

By David Ross (
May 6, 2013

A yeshiva teacher will face a jury trial this week after sexually abusing a child during summer camp, according to court proceedings in New Jersey.

A boy accused the yeshiva teacher and his camp counselor of sexually abuse him, and when a religious council of Orthodox Jews took no action against the man, the boy and his family went to the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor to seek justice.

The boy and his family were ostracized by their community. Some in the community, even embarked on a terror campaign to have the boy and his father drop the charges against the rabbi.

A flyer was distributed in Lakewood, New Jersey saying that the boy's father made a "mockery" of the Torah after committing the "terrible deed" of going to the secular authorities.

Now, six years after the alleged abuse occurred, the man accused of molesting the child, will face a jury trial in a case that is likely to be watched closely by the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood.

Jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of Yosef Kolko, who worked as a camp counselor at Yachad, a summer camp at the Yeshiva Bais Hatorah School on Swarthmore Avenue in Lakewood when he met the victim. Kolko also taught at Orchos Chaim Yeshiva in Lakewood.

Kolko, 39, of Geffen Drive in Lakewood is accused of sexually abusing the boy between September 2007 and February 2009, when the victim was 11 and 12-years-old. Kolko is charged with aggravated sexual assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and neglect.

The trial will be held before State Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson.
Kolko admitted sexually abusing the child to an Orthodox Jewish therapist in Brooklyn, New York. Kolko also began therapy but then suddenly quit the sessions.

“The rabbi betrayed the trust of the children and of the entire Jewish community. He had no business being a rabbi in a classroom or being around small children. He is a sick man and needs to be kept away from children,” Elky Braun, 40, of Lakewood New Jersey told after learning about the charges against rabbi Kolko.

Kolko has been free on bail of $125,000. If convicted, he could face up to 60 years in prison.