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Self-styled rabbi arrested being charged with sexual abuse 23 years ago

A sham rabbi was taken into custody by Israeli police after he was charged with sexual abuse twenty-three years ago in New York.

Abraham Mondrowitz will be remanded on Sunday, said the Justice Ministry spokesman, Moshe Cohen. He could not give further details.

The U.S. Justice Department had two months ago resubmitted a 22-year-old request to Israel to extradite the suspect who may have abused hundreds of children, the Haaretz newspaper reported Friday.

Israel had in 1987 ordered the expulsion of the Israeli-born ultra Orthodox Jewish father of seven who had arrived in Israel from the United States soon after New York police charged him in 1984 with sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy. At the time of the Israeli expulsion order, Mondrowitz's Israeli lawyer, David Ofek, said the molesting charge was an "ugly libel."

Mondrowitz had lived since 1979 in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he had counseled children at an unlicensed clinic in his home. He was raised in Chicago.

In December 1984, New York City police charged that on two occasions in June of that year, Mondrowitz abused a 10-year-old boy at his home which doubled as his office.

U.S. officials had requested Mondrowitz's extradition soon after he arrived in Israel, but the Interior Minister at the time, Yitzhak Peretz of the ultra- Orthodox Shas Party, did not act on the request.

Peretz left office several months later, and his replacement, Ronnie Milo, ordered Mondrowitz expelled.

"This is one of the worst cases I could ever imagine," Milo said on Israel radio in 1987. "After checking the details I decided this man should be sent to the United States and be punished for the terrible things he did to children."

Though Mondrowitz called himself a rabbi, authorities and local officials in the mostly Orthodox section of Borough Park in Brooklyn said they had seen no evidence that he had been ordained.

In the New York warrant, Mondrowitz was charged with two counts of sexual abuse and one count of endangering the welfare of a minor.

In May 1985, the U.S. district attorney's office requested his extradition, but the response was "lukewarm to negative," according to one American official who spoke on condition of anonymity two years after the request.

Peretz told Israeli television he refused to extradite Mondrowitz because he had no conclusive proof that the charges against him were true.

Haaretz said that Mondrowitz was a member of the Gur Hasidic sect and a highly influential figure in the Gur community of Brooklyn in the early 1980s. New York police suspect Mondrowitz sexually abused children brought to him as patients, including with acts of sodomy, Haaretz said.

In many cases, the parents were waiting in the next room for the treatment to end, so they could take the children home, the newspaper reported.

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