WASHINGTON – Rabbi Uzi Rivlin, from Teaneck, New Jersey, was arrested this week on suspicion of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old boys visiting from Israel.
An indictment against Rivlin was filed Wednesday with the New Jersey High Court. He pleaded not guilty.
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Rivlin, 63, hosted the two boys on separate occasions in 2009 and 2010 in his house while they were visiting the United States as part of a scholarship program for low-income Israeli families, founded by the rabbi.
Upon their return to Israel the two teens filed a police complaint, claiming that Rivlin sexually abused them during their stay at his house. The Israel Police transferred the details of the complaint to US police authorities, which launched an investigation in cooperation with the FBI and the Bergen County prosecution.
According to Jewish Telegraphic Agency JTA, the Rabbi is held in custody and was unable to post the $175,000 bail set by the court. Rivlin was also asked to hand in his Israeli passport to the court.
Attorney Howard Simmons, representing Rivlin, said to a local newspaper that the rabbi is confused and disappointed by the charges, adding that he does not understand why the boys made such accusations against him.
Rabbi Rivlin is the founder of Scholarship Fund for the Advancement of Children in Israel, in which children from low income families exchange letters with American children from Rivlin's the religious school classes at the Temple B'nai Abraham in Tarrytown, N.Y., some 25 miles north of Manhattan.
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