By Andrew Beam (Times Herald-Record)
November 17, 2015
MONTICELLO - A teen's claim that he was sexually abused by a South Fallsburg rabbinical student is "impossible," the wife of the rabbinical student testified on Tuesday.
The boy - now 15 - said during testimony on Monday that Haim Boukris, 29, picked him up in a "small, four-door car" at the grocery store and then took him to a nearby abandoned bungalow colony to sexually molest him.
But Rebecca Boukris - Haim Boukris' wife - testified before Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda that it couldn't have happened.
A visibly pregnant Boukris told Kenneth Gribetz - Haim Boukris' New City attorney - her husband never did the shopping because he was at work in the Village of Ellenville during the day. She said she did all of the shopping for the household.
Rebecca Boukris also said the car they owned in 2011 was a minivan. She added it didn't make sense to drive to the grocery store because it was within walking distance.
"I would say it's impossible," she said of the boy's accusations against her husband.
Rebecca Boukris also testified about her tumultuous relationship with the teen's father, who was a principal at the school at which she taught.
In one example, she said she tried telling the father some of her students reported they were being physically abused at home. She didn't get the response she expected.
"He told me, 'You're not going to change the world,' " Rebecca Boukris said. "Basically I was shut down. I was very surprised."
Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Eamonn Neary asked during cross examination if she was aware that as a teacher she is legally required to report those incidents to the police.
Boukris said she was unaware because the laws were different in the U.S. than her home country of France, where she was only required to report such incidents to the head of the school.
Neary also asked why Boukris continued to work at the school for a year even though she had a bad relationship with the principal.
"It was very hard for me to leave, but it was so unbearable, " she said. "I thought it was the best thing for me to do at that point."
Haim Boukris is charged with predatory sexual assault against a child and first-degree sexual abuse, both felonies.