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Santa Monica Police Arrest Rabbi on Felony Child Sexual Abuse Charges

Oct 7, 2015

Santa Monica, California police arrested Rabbi Sholom Doyber Levitansky last week on multiple felony charges of sexual abuse of a child.

The Santa Monica Daily Press (SMDP) reports that police are seeking further information and are attempting to locate any additional abuse victims.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has charged Levitansky, who resides in Sherman Oaks, with five counts of oral copulation of a person under 18 years of age, five counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, and one count of lewd act upon a child.

Levitansky is reported to have met his victims at Chabad’s Living Torah Center in Santa Monica, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue and education facility on Wilshire Boulevard near 12th Street. The abuse allegedly occurred from 1998 to 2002. Levitansky’s victims were 15 and 16 years old and he was in his mid-20s, according to police, SMDP reports.

The Santa Monica Police Department asks any victims or anyone with additional information about abuse incidents to contact Detective Roy Brown at 310-458-8960, Sgt. William Heric at 310-458-8453 or the Watch Commander at 310-458-8427.

Suspected child sexual abuse in an Orthodox Jewish community has been a challenge for police and courts. Orthodox Jewish communities hold themselves apart from the influences of the wider community and culture and are suspicious of outside authorities. Community members are encouraged to keep any type of abuse allegation within the community to avoid the “shame” of public exposure. Such matters are supposed to be dealt with by rabbinical courts, but these courts often do not punish perpetrators and they obstruct efforts to bring suspected abuse to the attention of secular law enforcement. Victims are pressured not to report abuse to police and those who have come forward have faced ostracism and retaliation within the community.

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