Brooklyn cantor who pleaded guilty to molesting boy released from prison after less than three months
By Oren Yaniv (NY Daily News)
September 30, 2014
Less than three months after getting sent to prison, a Brooklyn cantor who pleaded guilty to molesting a boy was sprung Monday night.
The saga surrounding Baruch Lebovits, 62, stretched for six years and became political fodder during the contentious district attorney elections last fall.
His previous conviction — for which he was sentenced to up to 32 years in prison — was overturned on appeal amid charges that another Hasidic Jew, Samuel Kellner, paid off witnesses and before yet another man admitted he tried to extort Lebovits's son.
A judge finally offered him a deal for a two-year sentence — he had already served 13 months before the appeal — which Lebovits started serving July 9.
He was released from Rikers after doing the minimum allowed with credit for good behavior.
Lebovits and his relatives are "extremely relieved that this ordeal is behind them and officially over," said his lawyer Arthur Aidala.
"We thank God," the family said in a statement. "The charges and proceedings in the case were trumped up by individuals for their own monetary gains."
Lebovits, who copped to abuse of one kid in 2004 but has been accused by community activists of victimizing many more, has been designated a level-2 sex offender.
But a lawyer for Kellner said his client believes "it's only a matter of time until he abuses another child."
The lawyer, Niall MacGiollabhui, added that his client is worried about the release of a "serial rapist ... without any supervision."
The release came in the midst of the Jewish high holidays but has been planned well in advance, a source said.
Lebovits will be home in time for Yom Kippur or the Jewish Day of Atonement, when it is customary to repent for one's sin.