By Sharon Otterman (New York Times)
December 3, 2012
The former principal of a private school in Brooklyn was found guilty in State Supreme Court on Monday of sexually abusing three boys over the course of a decade, including one boy who was 7 years old when the abuse started.
After three days of deliberation, a jury in Brooklyn found the man, Emanuel Yegutkin, 33, guilty of 75 counts of sexual abuse, including the top charge, sexual conduct against a child in the first degree, which carries a maximum 25-year prison sentence. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Mr. Yegutkin’s lawyer, Jeffrey Schwartz, could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
The case is among a wave of sexual abuse cases involving Orthodox Jews that the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, is prosecuting after decades in which such prosecutions were rare. Another trial, involving Nechemya Weberman, an unlicensed religious counselor accused of molesting a girl he was treating, continues Tuesday in the same courthouse with testimony from the girl’s mother.
Mr. Yegutkin’s case “should serve as a clear message that those who would sexually abuse children in this county will be punished severely,” Mr. Hynes said in a statement Monday. “This violent sexual predator faces the remainder of his life behind bars.”
Before his arrest in 2009, Mr. Yegutkin was the principal of Elite High School, a private Jewish school for Russian-Americans in Bensonhurst. He had volunteered for two summers at an Orthodox Jewish camp in the Catskill Mountains called Oorah’s Boy Zone, and was a volunteer for Hatzolah of Flatbush, the private Jewish ambulance service, those organizations said.
In 1996, Mr. Yegutkin began to fondle and engage in oral sex with the 7-year-old son of a family friend, prosecutors said. He also sexually abused the boy’s older brother, and molested them for years, in their home and elsewhere, officials said. In 2008 he showed pornography to a third boy, the jury found. All three victims testified in the trial.
The victims did not attend either the camp or the school, prosecutors said, and both organizations have said they had no reports of improper behavior. But immediately following his arrest nearly four years ago, Mr. Yegutkin appeared to confess to the crimes.
According to court papers, Detective Steve Litwin of the police sex crimes unit in Brooklyn told Mr. Yegutkin in January 2009 that one boy said he was abused for the first time at age 7 in the basement guest room of his house. “Is he lying?” Mr. Litwin asked him.
“No,” Mr. Yegutkin had replied. “The details may not be exact, but he’s not lying.”