By Robert Gavin (Times Union)
January 23, 2013
A Loudonville rabbi who admitted he intentionally had inappropriate physical contact with two boys in 2007 agreed to pay $6,000 to the family of one of his victims to settle a sex assault lawsuit.
Yaakov Weiss, 32, and the victim's family agreed to the terms as the civil case was set to go to trial before state Supreme Court Justice Eugene "Gus" Devine.
"He got a very good deal — just as he got in the criminal court," the father of the victim, who said he reluctantly agreed to the deal, told the Times Union late Tuesday.
Weiss, a suspended rabbi and the former director of Chabad of Colonie who is a married father of four young girls, pleaded guilty in 2010 to misdemeanor child endangerment charges. He admitted the contact with the boys when they were both 13 — and that he told one of the boys to "just say nothing happened" to his mother and police.
Weiss was sentenced to 60 days in jail.
The families of the victims sued Weiss, alleging sexual assault as well as defamation because Weiss had claimed the allegations against him were "100 percent untrue" and the result of a religious turf war. Weiss complained about the civil lawsuit to a rabbinical tribunal in Rockland County, which threatened to excommunicate the parents of the victims for taking the matter outside a religious setting.
One family dropped its suit against Weiss. The settlement keeps the other family from being excommunicated, according to people with knowledge of the case.
Had the civil case proceeded to trial, jurors would have heard details from Weiss' sworn deposition by the family's attorney in 2012. A copy of the deposition obtained by the Times Union last year showed Weiss admitted he became sexually aroused at different times with both boys in a mikvah, a small pool used for spiritual purification.
Court papers show the victim's attorney, Richard Ancowitz, asked Weiss if the physical contact between him and the boys was intentional or a result of carelessness.
"Um, that was intended," Weiss replied.
The deposition shows Weiss admitted he was lying when he said the allegations against him were untrue.
Weiss also said he was "very hopeful" the case would be settled outside of a court without going to trial and that he was "very surprised" the families of his victims did not want to settle it outside of a legal setting.
Ancowitz declined to comment. Weiss' attorney, John Pennock, could not be reached.