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Bronx Rabbi Case Prompts Prosecutors to Ask People to Come Forward

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In Religion Posted

Prosecutors in the Bronx are asking people to come forward in the case of a prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi who took boys as young as 12 into the sauna naked.

“If something happened within the statute of limitations, we will investigate,” Terry Raskyn, a spokeswoman for the Bronx district attorney’s office, said on Wednesday.

An article in The New York Times on Sunday described how in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the rabbi, Jonathan Rosenblatt of the Riverdale Jewish Center, would play squash or racquetball with young congregants, then take them to shower and, often naked, to the sauna or hot tub. He would have long talks with them in the sauna that he said were part of his mentoring process.

Some of the boys, who are now grown, said that Rabbi Rosenblatt had gawked at their naked bodies, or rested a hand on a clothed leg during one-on-one nighttime chats at his house.

No one has accused Rabbi Rosenblatt of sexual touching.

For all but the most serious crimes, the statute of limitations in New York State is generally, at most, six years.

Even if an offense occurred outside the statute of limitations, Ms. Raskyn said, the district attorney’s office provides counseling and other services. “We will help anyone who is a victim of a crime in the Bronx,” she said.

Synagogue leaders, after meeting on Monday night, told members in an email on Tuesday that they were “gathering more information and giving careful consideration to our options in the best interest of the community.”

Rabbi Jonathan RosenblattCreditDavid Goldman for The New York Times

The email added, “Years ago, when R.J.C. leadership heard rumors about the Rabbi’s alleged interactions surrounding athletic activities, the details were assessed and no evidence of misconduct was found.”

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