Ex-rabbi admits role in embezzling scheme

Boston Globe

By John R. Ellement GLOBE STAFF AUGUST 30, 2016

A former Sharon rabbi who tapped into temple funds to pay off a blackmailer has admitted to financial wrongdoing in Norfolk Superior Court, but he could see all the charges against him dismissed if he is not charged with any crimes during the next 12 months.

Barry Starr, who was the rabbi at Temple Israel for 28 years, used the temple’s discretionary charitable fund to pay $458,300 to blackmailer Nicholas Zemeitus between 2012 and 2014, according to the Norfolk district attorney’s office and court records.

Appearing before Superior Court Judge Robert Cosgrove on Friday, prosecutors asked that Starr be found guilty of embezzlement by fiduciary and sentenced to two years probation. But Cosgrove adopted the defense’s suggestion that Starr admit there were enough facts to convict him and continue the case without a finding for a year, which could lead to the charges being dismissed.

While married and the leader of the Conservative temple, Starr was secretly dating men when Zemeitus falsely told Starr one of the people he had been intimate with was his 16-year-old brother and threatened to reveal his actions, prosecutors said.

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