TARRYTOWN, N.Y. A rabbi who teaches at Congregation Beth Abraham in Tarrytown has been arrested and accused of sexually abusing two Israeli scholarship students who had stayed in his home in Teaneck, N.J., police said.
Uzi Rivlin, 64, was charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. Authorities say he "engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with two 13-year-old boys from Israel who were staying in Rivlin's home."
The two boys had visited Rivlin's home separately, one in the summer of 2009 and the other in the summer of 2010, police say. They later returned to their home country of Israel, where they separately reported to Israeli police that Rivlin had touched them in a sexual manner.
Israeli police contacted the FBI, who then contacted Teaneck police and the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit. He was arrested Tuesday.
The boys were staying in Rivlin's home as part of a scholarship fund partly sponsored by Rivlin. The Scholarship Fund for the Advancement of Children in Israel brings Israeli children to the U.S. to stay with host families and attend camp. Rivlin was a summer host for the program, according to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli's office. Rivlin was a host in the program.
A woman who answered the phone at Temple Beth Abraham Wednesday declined to give her name but read the following statement: "We believe in the U.S. justice system and that someone is innocent until proven guilty. We need to let the process run its course."
Rivlin is charged with two counts of third degree aggravated criminal sexual contact and two counts of second degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Rivlin's bail was set at $175,000 at his arraignment in the Central Municipal Court in Hackensack, N.J. Rivlin has also been instructed to stay away from the victims and children under 18. He has been told to surrender his U.S. And Israeli passports.
Rivlin remains in Bergen County Jail.
An investigation is continuing to determine if any other children who had visited the United States from Israel and stayed with Rivlin may have been a victim of sexual abuse, Molinelli said in press release.
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