By Yerachmiel Lopin (Frum Follies blog)
November 15, 2013
The community has risen up to block a sweetheart plea deal which will keep Baruch (Mordechai) Lebovits out of jail in spite of 10 E Felony charges of child sexual abuse. He was convicted on these charges in 2010 and sentenced to 10-32 years but in 2011 his conviction was overturned (but not his indictment). Since then, the Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles (Joe) Hynes has delayed the trial and undermined its own prosecution. They were set to enter a plea bargain which would not send him back to jail during his next scheduled court appearance on Tuesday, November 11, at 9:30 a. m. in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
However, a concerned group of activists organized a letter to the presiding judge, the Honorable Mark Dwyer, addressing the community’s concerns about abuse and specifically about the notoriety of Lebovits as a child molester. The letter details irregularities in the case including “missing” incriminating evidence and the failure of the DA to investigate witness intimidation and bribery.
The letter asks the judge to refuse to accept a plea bargain until these issues are addressed. In all likelihood, the judge will accept this request which will probably push off disposition of the case until DA-elect Kenneth Thompson assumes office on January 1, 2014.
Rabbi Baruch Lebovits being mesader kedushin in FloridaI was personally deeply involved in the drafting of the letter and the solicitation of the signatures. I want to express my gratitude to the survivors, friends and relatives of survivors, clergy, activists, attorneys, and concerned citizens who made it possible for us to have this letter signed by close to a hundred people. I do not want to single out any one signer for special credit. However there are a group of individuals who have agreed to publicly identify themselves as survivors of sexual abuse or friends/family of sexual abuse. We owe all of them our gratitude for stepping to the plate and putting out this information for the world to see. We are moving forward in breaking the taboo and the attempts to shame victims. Now at last we have the perpetrators more shamed than the victims. Whatever the outcome of this effort we are moving forward in the war against child sexual abuse.
Below is the text of the letter and the full list of signers.