NYC Rabbi Charged with Sex Abuse of 9-Year-Old Boy

Associated Press, carried in Staten Island Advance
December 8, 2006

New York (AP) — A rabbi at an all-boys Orthodox school was charged Friday with sexually abusing a young student, prosecutors said.

Joel Kolko, 60, was ordered held on $10,000 bond or $5,000 cash bail, a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office said. The charges handed down in Brooklyn criminal court include sexual abuse in the first, second and third degrees as well as endangering the welfare of a child.

Kolko, who was arrested Thursday night, taught at the private school, Yeshiva-Mesivta Torah Temimah, for years. The accuser, now age 9, reported he was abused during 2002 and 2003, police said.

Yaakov Applegrad, executive director of the school, said Kolko was no longer working there.

"If something did indeed happen, we sympathize with the child and are confident that the judicial system will handle it appropriately," he told WINS-AM 1010.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in state Supreme Court on behalf of the accuser claims the school protected the rabbi, also known as Yehuda Kolko, despite knowing he had molested students, said Jeffrey Herman, a lawyer for the child. The suit seeks more than $10 million in damages.

Two of Kolko's former students filed another lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court in May claiming he had molested them nearly 20 years ago. That suit, in which the plaintiffs seek $10 million each, alleges Kolko victimized multiple children.

One of the former students in the May suit detailed the abuse claims in a New York magazine article. The magazine said Kolko had refused to comment.

Messages seeking comment from Kolko and his lawyer were not immediately returned Friday.

About 1,000 boys are enrolled at the school.


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