By Daryl Khan (NY Times)
December 9, 2006
A rabbi charged with sexual abuse of a minor at a school in Brooklyn walked out of criminal court yesterday after posting $5,000 bail.
Rabbi Joel Kolko, 60, a former teacher and assistant principal at Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Temimah, an all-boys private school on 555 Ocean Parkway in Midwood, was arraigned on two counts of sexual abuse in the first and second degree and one count of endangering the welfare of a child in two separate episodes — one with a boy who was 6 at the time, the other with a man, 31.
During the arraignment, an assistant district attorney, Marc Fliedner, said Rabbi Kolko placed his hand on a 6-year-old student's penis during school hours in October 2003. In January 2005, Mr. Fliedner said, Rabbi Kolko forced an adult to place his hand on the rabbi's penis, also inside the school. Neither of the complainants was named in court papers because of the nature of the allegations.
Civil lawsuits filed by the adult in the case, along with three other adult victims, alleges a pattern of sexual abuse for decades and an effort to cover it up. Jeffrey Herman, a Miami-based lawyer who filed the lawsuits, said yesterday was a difficult for the plaintiffs.
"They've been living with this their entire adult lives," Mr. Herman said. "They came forward to make sure he wouldn't do this to anyone else, and for them to see another child has been abused is devastating for them."
In a radio interview yesterday on WINS-AM 1010, Yaakov Applegrad, executive director of the school, said, "If something did indeed happen, we sympathize with the child and are confident that the judicial system will handle it appropriately."
The rabbi's lawyer, Scott Tulman, declined to comment on the charges after the hearing, but said, "My client will be fine when he's able to celebrate Shabbat with his family." Judge Richard N. Allman ordered Rabbi Kolko to surrender his passport and to post $5,000 bail. As he left court surrounded by his lawyers and court officers, he did not respond to a flurry of questions from reporters.