Teen testifies in sexual assault case involving rabbinical student

By Andrew Beam (Times Herald-Record)
November 16, 2015

MONTICELLO - The 15-year-old boy who accuses a South Fallsburg rabbinical student of sexually assaulting him said he sleeps with a small pocket knife beneath his pillow since the alleged assault occurred.

The teen - who was 11 years old when he said the incident occurred - testified in Sullivan County Court on Monday that he keeps the knife there because he's "paranoid."

Monday was the first day of testimony in the nonjury trial of 29-year-old Haim Boukris. He is charged with predatory sexual assault against a child and first-degree sexual abuse, both felonies.

The teen told Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Eamonn Neary that in 2011, Boukris took him to an empty bungalow colony and forced oral and anal sex on him. He said the alleged assault happened after Boukris offered him a ride home. He said he was "scared and confused" about what was happening to him.

In the days after the alleged assault, the boy said he started having trouble sleeping and that he "had more anger than usual."

Kenneth Gribetz - Boukris' New City attorney - questioned why the boy accepted a ride home from Boukris when he lived within walking distance of the grocery store.

"I was confused, sir," the boy told Gribetz. "I was 11."

The teen's father also testified on Monday. He told Neary he and his wife knew something was wrong with their son before they learned about the alleged incident - two years after his son said it happened. He lost focus in school, became depressed and started wetting the bed, the father said. The Times Herald-Record is not naming the father to protect the identity of the alleged victim.

In 2013, the teen finally told his father what happened, said the father.

"It took some time, but he started crying, shaking and then screaming," the father said.

Gribetz then asked the father why he sought out someone other than the police to first report the alleged abuse of his son. It was not clear who the father first told.

The father said he was fearful of being ostracized from the community if he spoke to the police. He said he knew that if he told a therapist about the alleged incident, the therapist was required to tell the authorities.

"I'm sure you're aware of the pressure in the Jewish community and church when someone opens their mouths to the authorities, and the hell we go through," the father said. "The ramifications in the Jewish community of how you're treated for going to the authorities is sickening."

The trial is being heard by Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda.