Rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld, a member of the chasidic community in New Square, N.Y., who was charged with sexually molesting a boy over a five-year period, was found not guilty on Thursday.
Laiby Stern, who is now 22, said that Taubenfeld abused him from the time he was 8 until he was 13. The abuse began in 2001, when Laiby went to Stern for emotional support after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Taubenfeld, who was highly respected in the community, was Laiby’s neighbor. The abuse continued until Laiby moved out of the neighborhood. Laiby Stern and his family reported the abuse to the New Square religious community six years ago, but they were persuaded not to bring charges again Taubenfield.
Abraham Walzer, an advocate for child abuse in the New Square community, told News 12 that the verdict could have disastrous consequences. Molesters will feel free to continue committing crimes; victims will be even more unlikely to come forward now that they have seen that they are unlikely to prevail in court, he said.
Taubenfeld’s lawyer,vGerard Damiani, told News 12 that “Stern’s statements were inconsistent.” Justice has been served, he said.
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