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Saturday, 17 November 2007

Ex-Brooklyn rabbi likely to be dragged back to Brooklyn to face kid-sex charges

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, November 17th 2007

BY MATTHEW KALMAN in Jerusalem, JOE GOULD and DAVE GOLDINER in New York
DAILY NEWS WRITERS

An Ex-Brooklyn rabbi accused of raping several boys more than 20 years
ago has been arrested in Israel and could finally face justice.

Avrohom Mondrowitz, 60, a married father of seven, could be headed
back to Brooklyn because a new agreement with the U.S. allows
extradition for the sodomy and sex abuse counts he faces from a 1985
indictment.

"I don't see it as a moment for celebration," said Michael Lesher, who
represents six adult men who claim to have been abused by Mondrowitz.

"This is a moment of gratitude to victims who came forward, who were
willing to expose their pain."

Mondrowitz has a hearing in an Israeli court Sunday that could clear
the way for him to be returned to Brooklyn for trial.

The case was jump-started a few weeks ago after the U.S. and Israel
agreed to extradite suspects who face at least a year in prison.

Mondrowitz was once a popular child psychologist and youth counselor
in Borough Park, where he was especially well-known among
ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews.

He fled to Israel after several boys filed horrific complaints
claiming he sodomized them after befriending them or taking them to
amusement parks and movies.

Sometimes, he would rape them in his counseling office even as their
parents waited outside, the boys claimed.

"Finally, justice will prevail," said Rabbi Mark Dratch of J-SAFE, a
child-abuse prevention group.

Mondrowitz's wife insisted he would fight extradition.

"He's absolutely innocent," she said at their Jerusalem apartment.

Mondrowitz's case attracted controversy because critics claimed
District Attorney Joe Hynes put the explosive case on the back burner
under pressure from Hasidic community leaders. His office has
emphatically denied that charge and insisted it was pushing for a
legal way to try Mondrowitz.

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