By Hella Winston (The Jewish Week)
July 9, 2014
Baruch Lebovits was led out of Brooklyn Supreme Court in handcuffs Wednesday morning after being sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to felony sex offenses with a minor. With time served and time off for good behavior, Lebovits is expected to serve only a few months in jail.
A lawyer for Sam Kellner had tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Judge Mark Dwyer to reconsider the sentence in light of other alleged sex offenses for which Lebovits has not been convicted.
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.”
Upon his release from prison, Lebovits will be registered as a Level 2 sex offender.