By Kibret Markos (NorthJersey.com)
February 9, 2012
A 64-year-old Teaneck rabbi was indicted on Wednesday on charges that he molested two 13-year-old boys at his home.
The indictment charges that Rabbi Uzi Rivlin made sexual contact with the two boys on several occasions in 2009 and 2010.
Authorities have said the boys were visiting from Israel and stayed at the rabbi's home during two summers as part of a scholarship program Rivlin had helped set up. Rivlin also was a teacher at the Temple Beth Abraham in Tarrytown, N.Y., they said.
Bergen County prosecutors said that after the boys returned to Israel, they complained separately to Israeli authorities that Rivlin had molested them.
Israeli authorities took statements from the boys and notified the FBI, which notified Teaneck police and the county Prosecutor's Office, authorities said. Rivlin was arrested at his home last August.
Rivlin's lawyer, Howard Simmons, did not return two phone calls Wednesday. Simmons said at the time of Rivlin's arrest that his client was perplexed by the allegations, and that prosecutors would need to fly the alleged victims to Bergen County for testimony before a grand jury.
But Ken Ralph, an assistant Bergen County prosecutor, said Wednesday that state law does not require their testimony before a grand jury.
If the case goes to trial, however, "there is an expectation that the victims will testify," Ralph said.
The 13-count indictment returned Wednesday by a grand jury charges Rivlin with child endangerment by sexual conduct, aggravated criminal sexual contact and criminal sexual contact.
If convicted, Rivlin faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the child endangerment charges. He remains free on $175,000 bail.
Rivlin wrote in the temple's bulletin in 2008 that he had 35 years of experience as a Jewish educator. His wife, Jenny, wrote in the same bulletin that the couple had been married for 36 years and had raised six children.
She also wrote that the Rivlins' scholarship fund was set up about 12 years ago to help orphaned and disadvantaged children in Israel. The program has brought more than a dozen Israeli children to the United States, she said.