Prison for rabbi who sexually assaulted youths

By Gal Cohen (Jerusalem Online)
July 22, 2015

Rabbi Yaakov Deutsch, who was convicted of sexually assaulting young boys and girls, was sent to prison for nine years.  Judge Teofik Katili from the Nazareth District Court also sentenced Deutsch to three years probation.  Deutsch, who served as a congregational rabbi in Afula and was charged three years ago for serious offenses, will also be required to compensate the victims.

In 2012, an indictment was filed against Deutsch for sexual offenses against boys and girls aged 13-15.  Although Deutsch pleaded not guilty, the Nazareth District Court convicted him last year and said that he took advantage of his religious status.

Among other things, the indictment detailed a case in which he ordered a 15 year old girl to touch him, claiming that in this way “energy would be transferred from his body to hers”, which he claimed would heal an illness that she was dealing with.  After she recovered, the two resumed their relationship and had sex.  According to the indictment, one of their meetings was held in the synagogue.

In another case, Deutsch took advantage of his authority as a rabbi and forced a minor to expose his genitals to him.  When the defendant tried to touch him, he distanced himself and did not allow him to carry out his scheme.  Another incident described in the indictment occurred when Deutsch was requested to bless a young boy to find a new framework of study.  He asked to stay in the family’s home over Sukkot and one of the nights, he sexually assaulted the boy.

The parents of one of the youths who fell victim to Deutsch expressed their shock at his behavior:  “These are very difficult things for children, members of communities in Afula and around the country.  I support the ruling and it turns out that he sexually abused children and committed misdeeds.”

“We are shocked that a person like this is responsible for offenses against the holy Torah.  He destroyed families and accused us all of being mentally ill,” added the parents.  “Anyone who has been hurt, especially in the ultra-orthodox and religious community, should not be ashamed, but instead should stand up and complain.”