Thursday, August 12, 2010
Rabbi gets jail time over pool incident
A Loudonville rabbi was sentenced Monday to 60 days in the Albany County jail for endangering the welfare of a child.
Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, 30, founder of the Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School, was handcuffed and led out by sheriff’s deputies to start his sentence.
“You have utterly failed to accept responsibility for your actions,” County Judge Stephen Herrick told Weiss, whose family and supporters sat in the courtroom. “You are not the victim here. The boys were the victims.”
In pleading guilty to the misdemeanor in January, Weiss admitted he had “inappropriate physical contact” with two naked 13-year-old boys in 2007 inside a small pool known as a mikveh on Whitehall Road in Albany. Weiss, a married father of three, also admitted to telling one boy not to tell the police about what happened.
“I want to apologize to everyone that’s been hurt,” Weiss said.
Herrick noted that Weiss was charged with four misdemeanor counts and pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child.
In addition to the 60 days in jail, Herrick sentenced Weiss to three years’ probation, issued two orders of protection to keep him away from the boys and ordered him to undergo sex offender counseling even though he is not classified as a sex offender.
Assistant District Attorney Shannon Sarfoh read a victim-impact statement from the mother of one boy in which she urged the judge to sentence Weiss to the maximum of 60 days in jail.
“I toss and turn all night. I have a nagging pain in my head constantly,” the mother said. “Sixty days in the scheme of things is not very long. But the 60 days might just let me have a full night’s sleep and relax my jaw.”
Sarfoh said the guilty plea was accepted so the victim would not have to testify