Defense begins in Rockland rabbi's sex abuse trial

Hudson Valley News 12
July 20, 2015

NEW CITY - The defense began their case Monday in the high-profile sexual abuse trial of Rockland Rabbi Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld.

As News 12 has reported, Laiby Stern told the judge that Taubenfeld sexually molested him when he went for counseling after the Sept. 11. attacks. Stern, now 22, claims the abuse carried on for five years.

Defense attorney Gerard Damiani began Monday's proceedings with a request to have the case tossed, claiming the victim lied about the timeline of reported abuse. The judge refused, much to the relief of child advocates who packed the courthouse.

As the court broke for lunch, other supporters of the alleged victim claimed they were harassed by religious men close to the rabbi.

Damiani told News 12 that he plans to call at least six more witnesses to the stand before he rests his case. It is not clear if Taubenfeld will take the stand.

If convicted, the rabbi could get up to a seven-year prison sentence.