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New Haven Rabbi Found Guilty In Abuse Case

Christopher Peak
New Haven Independent
Rabbi Daniel Greer (right) confers with his lawyer William Dow outside court earlier in the week.

Prominent New Haven Rabbi Daniel Greer was found guilty Wednesday in the criminal trial that had centered around sexual abuse of a former student.

After a week of testimony the jury found 79-year-old Daniel Greer guilty on four counts of risk of injury to a minor. 

The rabbi turned and glanced at his wife, seated in the front row of the courtroom, as the verdict was being read. Greer appeared stoic as he was placed in handcuffs in front and led out of the courtroom by marshals.

The complainant in the trial, Eliyahu Mirlis, claims that Greer repeatedly raped and molested him when he was a student at the rabbi’s Yeshiva of New Haven from 2002 to 2005.

Greer originally faced eight felony charges, but after a surprising move by his defense attorney, William Dow earlier this week, Judge Jon Alander threw out all four sexual assault charges.

The state’s case was focused on a time when the accuser was under the age of 16. But prosecutors mistakenly chose a time-barred definition of second-degree sexual assault and the statute of limitations had run out.

According to prosecutors, Greer could potentially now face a maximum sentence of 80 years.  He will be sentenced November 20th.

After the verdict was read, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Maxine Wilensky asked for an increase in bond. Judge Alander, noting that the situation was now dramatically different, increased bond from $100,00 to $750,000.

Dow told reporters outside the courtroom they were disappointed in the verdict. 

"We wish the jury had seen things our way," he said. "We felt we put on a compelling case. The credibility of the complainant, we felt, was extremely questionable and a shaky foundation upon which to return a guilty verdict."

Dow said they'll review the trial notes and file an appeal.  

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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