A Chicago rabbi was found guilty on Monday of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2006.
- Rabbi who runs Orthodox seminaries in Israel sued for sexual assault
- Amid accusations of sex assault and fraud, Jerusalem seminaries refund tuition
- Whatsapp counseling now available for victims of sexual assault in Israel
Rabbi Aryeh “Larry” Dudovitz assaulted the boy when he was supposed to be counseling the teenager for questioning his Orthodox Jewish faith, Cook County Judge Evelyn Clay ruled Monday in the bench trial, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Judge Clay found Dudovitz guilty "after roughly two hours of testimony," DNAinfo reported, and "ordered electronic monitoring for Dudovitz pending sentencing." She also said Dudovitz is required to surrender his passport. Post-trial motions, which could include sentencing, are slated for mid-December.
The boy, now 22, had seen Dudovitz as a father figure, he said in 2013. He was initially reluctant to come forward due to, he says, his Orthodox community.
He told that court "I grew up with no sexual education at all — none whatsoever," he testified of his insular Orthodox community, which did not urge him to come forward with allegations of abuse. "... It wasn't spoken of and, unfortunately, it still isn't," the Chicago Tribune reported.
Dudovitz, 48, the married father of nine, had rejected a plea deal that called for five years in prison, and now faces up to 15 years in prison, according to the newspaper. He was ordered taken into custody until he turned over his passport, after which he would be released to electronic monitoring until sentencing.
The assault occurred at the victim’s home in Chicago’s West Rogers Park in 2006. Criminal charges were brought against Dudovitz in 2013 after the teen sought counseling in the wake of the incident.
DNAinfo, a local news source, reported the story:
"In October 2006, Dudovitz went home with the boy and his family after celebrating the Jewish holiday Sukkot.
Dudovitz and the victim drank alcohol, prosecutors alleged, and the 15-year-old boy fell asleep. He was awakened by Dudovitz, who gave "the victim oral copulation while the victim was sleeping," court records show.
After the attack, Dudovitz admitted to several people — including rabbis and a mental-health counselor — that he sexually assaulted the boy while the victim slept, according to court testimony.
Dudovitz 'absolutely held a position of trust and authority,' Assistant State's Attorney Tracy Senica said during Dudovitz's bench trial Monday. 'He took advantage of the entire family.'"
At a hearing organized by the Chicago Rabbinical Council, rabbis Zev Cohen and Shmuel Fuerst, who sit on the only permanent Bet Din, jewish rabbinical court, for sexual assault, testified that Dudovitz admitted performing the sex act on the teen, the Tribune wrote.
After he confesses, the rabbis established guidelines for Dudovitz to follow, much like in the recent case with Elimelech Meisels, an Israeli seminary rabbi who sexually assaulted his Jewish students, including a ban on being around minors.
But prosecutors and one witness said that Dudovitz didn’t keep to the guidelines, as was reported in the Tribune.