Prominent Connecticut rabbi found guilty of sexually assaulting former student

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A prominent Connecticut rabbi was found guilty of sexual assault of a minor.

A jury on Wednesday found Rabbi Daniel Greer, 79, the founding rabbi of the Yeshiva of New Haven, guilty of four counts of risk of injury to a minor after a week-long criminal trial in Connecticut Superior Court, the New Haven Register reported.

Four second-degree sexual assault charges were dropped since the statute of limitations on the accusations had expired.

Eliyahu Mirlis, 31, of New Jersey, accused the rabbi of raping and sexually molesting him hundreds of times from 2001 to 2005 when he was a minor and a student at the religious boarding school founded and headed by the rabbi.

Anat Cohen at The Sheldon

Sentencing was scheduled for November 20. Risk of injury to a minor, a felony, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years on each count, the newspaper reported.

Greer will appeal the verdict, his attorney said.

Superior Court Judge Jon Alander raised Greer’s bond to $750,000 following the verdict. Greer was released on Wednesday to home confinement after posting bail, and agreeing to wear an ankle monitor and to surrender his passport. The judge said Greer could leave home only to visit his lawyers’ offices, a doctor’s office, or a verified synagogue.

In May 2017, a federal jury in a civil lawsuit ordered Greer and the Yeshiva of New Haven to pay Mirlis $15 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

Greer, who was an activist on behalf of Soviet refuseniks, has served on the New Haven police commissioners’ board and as a chairman of the city’s Redevelopment Agency.

Greer’s daughter, Batsheva, was one of five Orthodox students who sued Yale in the late 1990s claiming the Ivy League university violated their constitutional rights by requiring they live in coed dorms.