By Steve Lieberman (The Journal News)
January 7, 2014
A judge on Tuesday sentenced a Monsey man convicted of molesting a teenage boy to 90 days in the county jail for violating portions of his 10-year probation.
State Supreme Court Justice William Kelly said Moishe Turner deserved incarceration but also must remain under the control of probation officers to ensure he doesn’t endanger children.
“I don’t want to see a situation where he’s off probation,” Kelly said.
Turner can be released from jail within 60 days for good behavior. His lawyer said there would be no appeal.
Prosecutor Jennifer Parietti recommended a state prison term for Turner and a continuation of his 10-year probation. Parietti said Turner proved he will not abide by the court’s sentence and he will do what he wants.
She noted the judge found Turner violated his probation by attending a wedding at the Viznitz Girls School building where children and his 14-year-old male victim were and not reporting a specific car he was driving to his probation officer.
Defense attorney Kenneth Gribetz called the probation violations “technicalities,” countering the school building was being used during the summer as a catering hall — a common practice in the Hasidic Jewish community. Gribetz also noted Turner never came into contact with his victim, who called the police to report Turner.
The victim didn’t testify against Turner at the probation violation hearing after refusing to testify publicly, leading prosecutors to offer Turner probation rather than go to trial. Kelly noted that prosecutors claimed religious community leaders pressured the boy’s family against him testifying.
“I would plead with the court to allow him to remain on probation,” Gribetz said. “He does express his regrets and remorse. He won’t do it again.”
Turner, classified as a level 2 sex offender, was sentenced in March on his Jan. 18, 2013, guilty plea to second-degree criminal sex act, which could have brought him seven years in prison.
He admitted having sex with the 14-year-old boy seven times in July 2011, though he tried to hedge during his sentencing on what he did, drawing the ire of the judge and his defense lawyer. Kelly said at the time that Turner characterized the victim as sexually aggressive, a wild child.
Kelly and Parietti noted they received dozens of letters and emails urging prison time for Turner. Kelly said the letters also accused Turner of being a serial rapist of children, accusations the judge said is not evidence and would not be part of his decision to jail Turner.
“Anybody can say so and so did this and that,” Kelly said. “I can’t give consideration to unsubstantiated allegations.”
Several religious community residents attended the sentencing.
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, a Brooklyn advocate for children, called the likely 60-day sentence “a sad day for everybody” after the community wide campaign to have Turner sent to state prison for a longer term rather than the county jail.
“This is one reason why people don’t come forward,” he said of the non-prison sentence.