Friday, December 08, 2006

Kolko arrested

Hot off the Associated Press:

Brooklyn School Rabbi Accused of Molesting Boy


NEW YORK (AP) -- A rabbi at an Orthodox school was arrested Thursday on charges he sexually abused a little boy, police said.

Joel Kolko, 60, taught at the private school for boys, Yeshiva-Mesivta Torah Temimah, and was arrested on four counts of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor, police said. The 9-year-old boy reported he was abused during 2002 and 2003, police said.

A lawsuit was filed Wednesday against the school, claiming it protected the rabbi, also known as Yehuda Kolko, and accusing it of "failing to protect'' the boy "from sexual assault and lewd and lascivious acts'' despite knowing Kolko's "dangerous propensities,'' the Daily News reported on its Web Site. The suit was seeking $10 million in damages.

Another lawsuit, filed in federal court in May by two of Kolko's former students, claims the rabbi molested them nearly 20 years ago, according to published reports. The suit, which is seeking $20 million in damages, alleges Kolko victimized nearly 15 children.

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

On Thursday night, Kolko, who was handcuffed, bowed his head and didn't speak when he was led from a Brooklyn police station to a waiting car before his arraignment.

There was no answer at a telephone number for Kolko listed at the home address provided by police, and an after-hours message left at the school was not immediately returned.

Kolko was defended by one of his former students at the school, where about 1,000 boys are enrolled.

"As a person, he doesn't fit the criteria,'' Abraham Birnbaum told WNBC-TV. "I have known him for 10 years. My brother was his student, and he never had that view of him.''

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