The Associated Press
November 17, 2007
JERUSALEM: Israel has requested clarifications of a U.S. request for extradition of an Israeli man wanted in New York for allegedly sodomizing and sexually abusing several boys ages 9 to 15 more than 20 years ago, a spokesman said Saturday.
Israeli police arrested Abraham Mondrowitz, 60, before dawn Friday at his home in the ultra Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood of Nahlaot.
The suspect's detention came two months after the United States had resubmitted an extradition request first made in 1985, months after Mondrowitz fled his Brooklyn, N.Y. home for Israel in light of police charges against him, Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen said.
The new U.S. request came after Israel and the United States amended their extradition treaty to encompass all crimes whose punishment is more than one year imprisonment, according to the Israeli state prosecutor's office. Prior to the change that took effect in January of this year, the treaty did not cover crimes relating to sodomy.
Israel has requested a few corrections in the U.S. extradition request, the state prosecutor's office said in a request to be submitted Sunday for an extension of Mondrowitz's arrest by 12 days.
Police in Brooklyn first charged Mondrowitz with sexual abuse 23 years ago. Mondrowitz worked under the guise of a rabbi and psychologist out of a clinic in his home, Haaretz newspaper reported. He became highly revered among the Gur Hasidic community — and his Italian-American neighbors — for his expertise with minors, Haaretz said.
Mondrowitz would often take children he was treating to amusement parks or buy them gifts to win their trust, Haaretz said.
Mondrowitz was born in Israel and grew up in Tel Aviv, Haaretz said. His family moved to Chicago in the 1950s, the daily said. In 1979 he moved to Brooklyn, Haaretz reported.
Under New York law, those convicted with first degree sodomy can receive 25 years in jail, according to Israel's state prosecutor's office. Punishment for first degree sexual abuse brings a seven-year punishment, the office said.