Police: Brooklyn Rabbi Charged with Sexual Abuse on Child

December 8, 2006

New York -- A Brooklyn Rabbi has been charged with sex abuse and child endangerment, police said.

Rabbi Joel Kolko, 60, was arrested Wednesday and charged with four counts of sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor, police said.

Police said the alleged victim is a 9-year-old boy who said he was sexually abused during 2002 and 2003.

The arrest comes after a the New York Daily News reported on a $10 million lawsuit that was filed by a child of "early elementary school" age.

Police said they had been investigating Kolko and made the decision to arrest him after the lawsuit was made public.

Kolko is part of Mesivta Torah Temimah on Ocean Parkway, where the lawsuit alleges the abuse took place.

"He's been my principal for years," said one person. "I never knew him like that. He never acted inappropriately."

No one at the school wanted to comment officially, NewsChannel 4 reported, but his former student said he finds the allegations hard to believe.

"As a person, he doesn't fit the criteria," said Abraham Birnbaum. "I've known him for 10 years. My brother was a student, (comma) and he never had that view of him."

Students said Kolko voluntarily left the school a few years ago when the allegations of abuse began to surface.


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