Former rabbi accused of stealing from congregation to pay blackmailer

By Jordan Lebeau
May 13, 2015

Sharon Rabbi Barry Starr resigned last year after admitting to marital infidelity among other things.
Photo by John Tlumacki

A former Sharon rabbi is accused of siphoning temple money and requesting loans from congregates in order to pay off an extortionist, according to a Boston Globe report.

Rabbi Barry Starr, formerly of Temple Israel, was recently indicted on charges of embezzlement by a fiduciary and larceny over $250, according to the report. Authorities said Starr, who left the temple last year and now lives out of state, paid 30-year-old Nicholas Zemeitus $480,000 since 2011 in exchange for his silence on the subject of the rabbi’s alleged relationship with a younger male. No evidence of any such relationship has been uncovered, the Globe reports.

“This has been a beloved and respected rabbi for 28 years and to learn of this news, it’s heartbreaking,” Arnie Freedman, Temple Israel’s president, told the newspaper Tuesday.

Zemeitus, of Quincy, has been charged with seven counts of larceny over $250, two counts of receiving stolen property over $250, one count of larceny under $250, and one count of extortion, according to the report. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday and was held without bail pending a Thursday hearing.

Starr has not yet been arraigned.



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