May 22, 2012
A Brooklyn man was sentenced to 20 years to life for sexually abusing children in his Orthodox Jewish community.
Michael Sabo, a 38-year-old father of four, confessed to sexually abusing two children. He was sentenced Monday after agreeing to a plea bargain.
The district attorney's office said it had evidence of seven additional victims.
The case has been cited as an example of the difficulties prosecutors face in convincing abuse victims from the close-knit haredi Orthodox Jewish community to come forward.
Many families refused to come forward because of the "intimidation they thought they would endure as part of the Orthodox Jewish community," prosecutor Kevin O'Donnell told the New York Daily News.
Before the trial was set to begin, the father of one of Sabo's victims was confronted at his synagogue and warned not to take the stand, according to reports.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has refused to release the names of accused molesters from Brooklyn's haredi community. He has been criticized for trying to curry favor with that constituency, which has supported him in past elections.
Hynes has defended his actions by citing the insularity of that community and the need to protect sex-abuse victims from intimidation.