New Square Rabbi Acquitted of Molesting Neighbor for Years


Frimet GoldbergerJuly 30, 2015

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld, a prominent figure in the upstate New York Hasidic community of New Square, was acquitted by a judge of molesting a boy for several years.

Taubenfeld, 55, was accused of abusing Laiby Stern, a neighbor, who claimed the older man began an abusive reign of terror when he went to him for solace after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.

Rockland County Court Judge Rolff Thorsen announced the verdict, which he conceded might be greeted with dismay by the public, to a packed, pin-drop silent courtroom.

“I must not and will not be swayed by public opinion,” he declared.

Hasidic men from New Square who came to support Taubenfeld outnumbered the media and supporters of Laiby Stern. Shortly after the verdict, they erupted in spontaneous celebratory songs outside the courtroom, and said they plan to continue the celebrations in New Sqaure.

“Mazel tov, mazel tov,” one of the men greeted defense attorney Gerard Damiani, handing him the phone to speak with a prominent supporter.

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