Residents react to verdict in rabbi sex abuse case

Residents in Hudson Valley are voicing their opinions on the not guilty verdict in the sexual abuse trial of Rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld.



Rockland County Court Judge Rolff Thorsen announced the verdict Thursday after a non-jury trial. When making the verdict, Thorsen explained that he had to follow the letter of the law, not base his decision on public opinion.



Taubenfeld, 55, had been accused of molesting a young boy who needed counseling after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Taubenfeld's accuser, Laiby Stern, said he was abused from ages 8 through 13.



As the rabbi left the courthouse, he and his supporters were joyful, celebrating his acquittal.



Abraham Walzer, a victim's advocate and supporter of Stern, says the verdict increases the danger to children. He says the verdict sends "a message that you can molest children and get away with it."



Taubenfeld's attorney, Gerard Damiani, told News 12 that Stern's testimony was not credible and filled with inconsistencies.



There is no word on whether Stern will file a civil lawsuit to pursue his claims.


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