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Supreme Court won't hear rabbi's appeal of $21.7M sex abuse verdict

HARTFORD (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a Connecticut rabbi's appeal of a $21.7 million jury verdict in a lawsuit that accused him of sexually abusing a teenage boy.

The court provided no comments in its decision to let stand a federal appeals court ruling last year that upheld the verdict against Rabbi Daniel Greer, 80, and the Yeshiva of New Haven school he founded.

Greer was sentenced to 12 years in prison in December 2019 on state criminal charges related to the abuse. Messages seeking comment were left Monday for his lawyer.

The 2017 verdict came in a federal court lawsuit filed by a New Jersey man, Eliyahu Mirlis, now 33, who said Greer repeatedly sexually abused him in 2002 and 2003 when he was a teenager attending the school. Greer denies he abused Mirlis and is appealing his criminal convictions.

Greer argued in his appeal of the verdict that the trial judge made mistakes in instructing the jury about how to consider, during deliberations, Greer’s invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when declining to answer questions during the trial.

The federal jury awarded Mirlis $15 million in compensatory damages and a judge tacked on another $5 million in punitive damages plus $1.7 million in interest.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they’ve been sexually assaulted, but Mirlis wanted to come forward, his lawyer said.

Mirlis said Greer sexually assaulted him on school property, in the bedroom of Greer’s New Haven home and at motels in Branford and in Philadelphia and Paoli, Pa., among other places.

 

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