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Thursday, February 13, 2014

NY Rabbi To Plead Guilty in Police impersonation Cases

WHITE PLAINS. N.Y. — A series of guilty pleas are expected to begin Thursday in the case of a rabbi accused of impersonating police officers at least four times after disputes with drivers throughout Westchester County, N.Y., last year.

Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski is expected to enter the pleas to a series of violations over the next several days in local courts in White Plains, Yonkers, Greenburgh and Mamaroneck, where he is scheduled to appear Thursday morning. Borodowski is not expected to have to serve any jail time but will be required to pay fines and continue psychiatric counseling.
Borodowski also will be ordered to stay away from his victims, who he told to pull over after flashing a fake badge and, in at least one case, allegedly threatened with arrest.

But prosecutors said that Borodowski, 49, a rabbi of Congregation Sulam Yaakov in Larchmont, N.Y., was not a law enforcement officer of any sort.

He and his lawyer did not return messages left for him Wednesday, but in the past they have blamed bipolar disorder for Borodowski's actions. He was in intensive treatment for weeks immediately after his initial arrest in June. The first reported incident was in May.

In remarks to police, Borodowski initially denied claiming he was a cop.

"No, I did not say I was a police officer," Borodowski told Mamaroneck police after an incident there. "What happened was that girl was driving too slow, and I hate when people do this and this causes traffic. 

She must have been going 10 or 15 miles per hour. So I told her, 'Police! I am calling the police!' while holding this up and showing her" a fake badge.

Lawyers for some of the victims said Wednesday that Borodowski's expected plea was a satisfactory conclusion to the case.

"It's a fair and appropriate disposition," said Richard Clifford, the lawyer for one victim, who has asked to remain anonymous.

For victims, the incidents were bizarre and, in some cases, terrifying. One 26-year-old man said Borodowski chased him for swerving in front of his vehicle; a 24-year-old woman said that he yelled at her for driving slowly in a school zone; another, Peter Moses of White Plains, said Borodowski tailgated his car and waved a tiny badge before forcing him to the side of the road, apparently for driving slowly.

A fourth person, Lisa Cristino, 30, said that Borodowski chased her car for 3 miles on the Sprain Brook Parkway before banging on her window at a traffic light.

"He pulled out a badge and told me that he's going to have me arrested," Cristino said after the incident. "First he said it was for slow driving. Then he said, 'No, I'm going to lock you up for erratic driving.' When the light turned green, he jumped back in his car and peeled off."

Moses said earlier this week that he was satisfied with the expected resolution of this case.

"From the beginning," Moses said, "all I wanted was for him to admit what he did and receive help."

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