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Monday, 18. December 2017


Weiss Expelled by Chabad

Chabad director says group suspended Yaakov Weiss over allegations

ALBANY (originally printed in the Albany Times Union 1/19/2010)-- A Loudonville rabbi who admitted having "inappropriate physical contact" with two 13-year-old boys -- and telling one to lie to police and his mother about it -- remains under suspension, his organization said Monday.

 

Yaakov Weiss, 29, founder of Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School, pleaded guilty Jan. 11 to misdemeanor child endangerment before Judge Stephen Herrick in Albany County Court.

 

Following the guilty plea, which carries up to 60 days in the county jail, Weiss' attorney relayed a statement that his client had the support of Chabad of Colonie.

 

But Monday, the local leader of the branch of Judaism known as Chabad-Lubavitch, said Weiss is no longer leading the Colonie group,

 

"We strongly object to all media references, or personal insinuations, that he represents 'Chabad of Colonie,' " said a statement issued Monday by Rabbi Israel Rubin, Chabad director for  the Capital Region.

 

The statement said when the allegations against Weiss surfaced in June 2008, he was "immediately suspended, revoking his right and privilege to represent Chabad-Lubavitch in any capacity."

 

The statement noted Weiss' status is now "further confirmed by recent court action."

 

Weiss' attorney, Arnold Proskin, could not be reached for comment Monday.

 

Weiss, a married father, moved to Colonie from Iowa in 2004. He faced a four-count indictment that included two counts of sexual abuse and two counts of child endangerment, both misdemeanors. If convicted, he faced a maximum of two years in jail.

 

Weiss sent an e-mail to the Times Union in October 2008, after being charged, calling the charges "100 percent untrue."

 

But last week, Weiss agreed to the plea deal, which does not require him to register as a sex offender.

 

Assistant District Attorney Shannon Sarfoh said last week the plea agreement made Weiss publicly admit his conduct and spared the children from testifying.

 

"Are you pleading guilty, sir, because you are, in fact, guilty of endangering the welfare of a child as stated in the fourth count of the indictment?" Herrick asked Weiss.

 

"Yes," the rabbi answered.

 

He also admitted having inappropriate contact with the children inside a ''mikveh,'' a small pool used for ritual purification.

 

Herrick first asked Weiss if he "knowingly" had contact with one of the boys while he and the child were naked in the mikveh in June 2007 and if he knew that contact was likely to be injurious to the child.

 

"Yes," Weiss replied.

 

Herrick then asked Weiss about inappropriate physical contact with the second 13-year-old boy between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 in 2007.

 

The judge then asked if the statement was accurate.

 

"Yes, it is," Weiss responded.

 

The judge, in turn, asked Weiss about his words to one of the boys on June 30, 2008, when the child had asked for advice from Weiss -- described by the judge as his "rabbi, teacher and spiritual adviser." Herrick asked Weiss if he instructed the boy to lie about the June 2007 incident to his mother or police, telling him "just say nothing happened."

 

He also asked Weiss if he told the boy to lie "knowing that this advice was likely injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of that child?"

 

"Yes," Weiss responded.

 

Asked how he pleaded to endangering the welfare of a child, Weiss said "guilty."

 

Under the plea deal, Weiss waived his right to appeal. Orders of protection bar him from having any contact with the children in the case.

 

Robert Gavin can be reached at 434-2403 or rgavin@timesunion.com

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