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Orthodox Child Sex Abuse Details Revealed: Report

Brooklyn prosecutors say authorities have arrested 85 people in the Orthodox Jewish community on child sex abuse charges in the past three years, the New York Post reported Sunday, confirming earlier reports in the Forward.

Prosecutors in the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes told the Post that 38 of the sex cases had been closed so far, with 14 convictions. The suspects got jail time ranging from a month to up to 20 years for crimes that included sex abuse, attempted kidnapping, and sodomy, the paper said.

Twenty-four suspects were freed after the cases against them fell apart, the report said.

The rest of the cases are still pending under a controversial program called Kol Tzedek, or Voice of Justice, which aims to coax victims in the insular community to come forward about abuse.

The paper cited Assistant D.A. Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the sex crimes bureau. The Forward requested an interview with Jaus several weeks ago. That request was declined.

Hynes’s office did not immediately respond for a request for comment Sunday.

Among those accused is Andrew Goodman, 27, who worked for Ohel and other Jewish social-service agencies. The Post says he is charged with sexually abusing two Orthodox boys for years in Flatbush, and filming sex acts dating back to 2006, according to the 144-count indictment, which alleges numerous violations since 2006.

Goodman has pleaded not guilty.

The Forward first broke the news weeks ago that nearly 90 Orthodox men had been arrested on child abuse charges. At that time, prosecutors refused to furnish any additional information about the cases, but suggested they would do so by the end of November.

Among the cases reported by the Forward was that of Boro Park Rabbi Baruch Lebovits, who was sentenced last year to up to 32 years in prison after being convicted of sex abuse.

Victims’ rights advocates hailed it as a turning point in the battle against sexual abuse in the insular Orthodox community. But Lebovits is now free on bail and his conviction is now unraveling amid allegations of perjury, conspiracy and extortion.

Just last week, Hynes’ spokesman Jerry Schmetterer refused to return calls from the Forward asking for more information about the cases.

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