By Steve Leiberman (The Journal News)
September 4, 2014
The lawyer for a Monsey rabbi accused of sexually abusing a 7-year-old boy says two police-controlled telephone calls involving the child will help prove the school administrator never touched the child.
Rabbi Gavriel Bodenheimer, 71, principal of Yeshiva Bais Mikroh, has rejected a plea agreement with state prison time and will fight the sexual abuse charges at trial, his attorney, Kenneth Gribetz, said.
In some sexual abuse investigations, the police have their victim call the abuser to get statements of guilt or attrition that can be used in the prosecution.
In two recorded conversations concerning sexual acts, Bodenheimer told the boy that he didn't know what the boy was talking about "and he should go to the police if he has concerns," Gribetz said.
"We will be using the recordings at trial," Gribetz said. "There will be no plea to any charges."
Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe declined comment.
The rabbi was charged in an grand jury indictment on Aug. 8 with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and one count of first-degree sex abuse. The charges cover oral and anal sex with a child and carry a maximum of 25 years in prison.
The boy, now, 12, was 7 years old when Bodenheimer allegedly abused him at his school office between August 2009 and July 2010, Zugibe said.
Bodenheimer, who has 14 children and 100 grandchildren, has led the Bais Mikroh on Viola Road for decades, educating thousands of Orthodox Jewish boys.
Gribetz said the rabbi has never been accused of sexual abuse before. He said the defense strategy with co-counsel Deborah Wolikow-Loewenberg will include asking the judge to allow the jurors to visit the school. He said the offices are open and the spaces inside are visible through windows.
Bodenheimer of 3 Dunhill Lane, Monsey, is free on $25,000 bail. His next scheduled appearance before County Court Judge William Nelson is Oct. 27.