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Charged Rabbi Faces New Accusations

Allegedly directed boys into a mikvah

Marc Tracy
July 21, 2010
Boston Globe
Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt.Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt.Boston Globe

Three men had accused Orthodox Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt of molesting them in the 1970 at the Boston-area Maimonides School, where he taught sixth grade, and he now faces indecent sexual assault and battery charges (to which he has pleaded not guilty); he had been similarly accused (and pleaded no contest to charges) by students whom he taught in the Philadelphia area. In a new twist, though, court records show (via Heeb) that on another occasion, in the course of a field trip to Montreal, Levitt allegedly directed students to enter a mikvah, naked.

In light of the Lieb Tropper scandal, which involved the alleged trading of sexual favors for conversion, the mikvah angle is viscerally troubling.

Roadblocks to reporting cases of rabbinical sexual abuse, the article reports,

include traditional Jewish rules, adhered to in some pockets of the Orthodox world, such as a prohibition against “chillul Hashem,’’ bringing shame on God’s name, and against “mesirah,’’ informing on fellow believers to secular authorities. …

the use of chillul Hashem and mesirah as reasons to avoid reporting sexual abuse by rabbis “is a misapplication of those laws’’ [said Rabbi Yosef Blau of Yeshiva University], an opinion underscored by the Rabbinical Council of America in a resolution approved at its convention earlier this year.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.