Lawyers for Rabbi Baruch Lanner have given official notice they intend to appeal his conviction for sexually abusing two teenage girls while he was their principal at a New Jersey yeshiva.
The notice of appeal, filed by New York defense attorney Nathan Dershowitz, comes on the heels of Rabbi Lanner being freed on bail last Friday by a two-judge New Jersey appeals court panel.
The rabbi had spent four days in jail to begin serving a seven-year sentence.
A New Jersey appellate court Thursday granted Rabbi Baruch Lanner’s emergency request to be free on bail pending the appeal of his conviction of sexually abusing two teenaged girls while he was their principal in a New Jersey yeshiva high school.
Declaring that he is “not a monster” and acknowledging errors in judgment — but stopping short of apologizing to the girls he sexually abused — Rabbi Baruch Lanner was sentenced last week to seven years in a New Jersey state prison.
Rabbi Lanner, 52, once one of America’s most prominent Modern Orthodox youth leaders, was taken away in handcuffs Friday from the Monmouth County courtroom in Freehold, N.J., after delivering an emotional plea for mercy that invoked the Holocaust, God and his grandchild.
Baruch Lanner, a former yeshiva high school principal and religious youth group counselor who was convicted in 2002 in New Jersey of sexually abusing two teenage girls, appears no longer to be on the New Jersey, Florida or national sex offender registries.
Lanner, 59, an ordained Orthodox rabbi, was sentenced to seven years in prison, but did not begin serving his sentence until 2005, after his conviction was upheld on appeal. He was released on parole in January of 2008. According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Lanner’s parole ends next month.
Orthodox rabbis are pledging to take action in confronting the reality of sexual abuse in their midst.
The nation's main association of centrist Orthodox clergy, the 1,200-member Rabbinical Council of America, has passed a strongly worded resolution committing the organization and its members to report acts or suspicions of child abuse to the police: a watershed break with longstanding practice in the Torah-observant community of protecting errant rabbis rather than reporting them to civil authorities.
In a Trenton, N.J., courtroom last week, Rabbi Juda Mintz, a charismatic Orthodox champion of Jewish pluralism, stood before a federal judge, his fate in the balance. He faced Federal District Court Judge Mary Cooper, charged with downloading child pornography onto his synagogue computer. The rabbi and his followers hoped the judge would allow him to serve his time at the Los Angeles residential Jewish addiction center he moved to a year ago.
The unsettling reports of rabbis committing crimes against both secular and Jewish law, and against common-sense morality, seem these days to come unrelentingly.
Reform Rabbi Fred Neulander from Cherry Hill, N.J., sits in prison awaiting trial for arranging his wife's murder, which happened at the same time he was having an affair.
Orthodox Rabbi Baruch Lanner was accused recently in these pages of physically and sexually abusing the young people in his charge in his nearly three decades with the Orthodox Union's National Conference of Synagogue Youth.
Richard Joel was unequivocal: one strike and you should be out.
The head of the Jewish campus organization Hillel, and chairman of the commission convened to look into the Orthodox Union’s mishandling of the misdeeds of former youth leader Rabbi Baruch Lanner, said any religious leader behaving in a sexually or physically abusive manner should be kicked out of whatever position he inhabits.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Joel. “Leadership is a right, not a privilege.”