Judge Furious When Rabbi Backs Away From Planned Guilty Plea

WCVB Boston
December 14, 2011

BOSTON -- A rabbi who taught at a prestigious Jewish day school planned to plead guilty Wednesday to molesting three students while he was teaching at the school in the 1970s, but he backed away from the plea.

Judge Carol Ball said Rabbi Stanley Levitt, 65, "should have had the courtesy" to handle his decision differently and "added insult to injury" when he changed his mind at the last minute and decided not to plead guilty to four counts of indecent assault and battery.

"He's not guilty of this. He's decided what they said is not truthful and he wants to go to a jury," defense attorney Scott Curtis said.

The judge's anger was fueled by the fact that the three victims had traveled significant distances to be at the rabbi's sentencing to give victim impact statements.

"As I said until now, I had compassion for this man, and my compassion has turned to anger," alleged victim Michael Brecher said.

Instead, the rabbi will go to trial on May 14.

The victims were all students at the Maimonides School in Brookline.

One of the victims said he was very disappointed but that he will come back to testify at the trial and tell the truth. His attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, said his client was revictimized by the rabbi's last-minute change of mind.

"My client is not backing down. He wants to go to trial. He will testify. He's a brave man," Garabedian said.

The prosecution had agreed to a sentence of probation, but sources said that was now off the table. If Levitt is convicted by a jury at trial, the government will recommend he be sent to prison.