Ex-yeshiva teacher faces sex assault charges in NJ - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Ex-yeshiva teacher faces sex assault charges in NJ

Posted: Updated:

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) -- The 12-year-old boy and his rabbi father were driving from the boy's therapist appointment to their Lakewood, N.J., home when the child decided to confide in his father.

The boy said he was sexually abused by his former camp counselor, a man he told people was his best friend, the father said.

"He said that his counselor, Yosef Kolko, sexually abused him," the father testified Thursday.

Kolko, a former yeshiva teacher, is on trial on charges that he sexually abused the socially awkward boy whose family members, prosecutors say, were ostracized by their Orthodox Jewish community for taking the allegations to civil authorities.

Kolko, 39, met the boy in 2007 at religious school-run summer camp in Lakewood where he was a counselor. The boy was 11 at the time, and authorities say the abuse continued until early 2009.

Kolko has denied the charges, which include sexual assault and child endangerment.

The morning after the boy said he was abused in February 2009, the father said he called Kolko. The two met and the father told Kolko he needed to attend therapy and stop working with children. The father wanted to bring the matter to a group of rabbis who had "experience dealing with these issues," he said, and did not intend to make the allegations public. The father recorded the conversation at his wife's urging.

Kolko did not dispute the allegations, the father said. At one point, Kolko told the father he had nothing to say to him, which the father took as an admission as guilt, something Kolko's lawyer disputed.

Later, the father and Kolko went to the home of a prominent Lakewood rabbi, where the father said Kolko was contrite and looked "close to tears." The father said the rabbi took the allegations seriously.

The Associated Press generally does not identify accusers in sex-crime cases and is not naming the father to protect the son's identity.

The boy's father wanted a rabbinical court to deal with the matter. After a few months, he was unhappy with how the case was being handled and that Kolko was not following his recommendations and was still teaching. After hearing Kolko was planning to return to the summer camp, the father called the head of the camp and Kolko, who told him to talk to a Brooklyn rabbi.

"I was more concerned that he was still at his jobs," the father said. "And I felt that children are being endangered."

In July 2009, the father decided to bring the case to Ocean County prosecutors. He said that if the allegations had been dealt with appropriately through rabbinical channels, he probably would not have gone to the police.

"Going to law enforcement is not, at this time, common within the Orthodox Jewish community. Even when it's necessary it's considered unusual," the father testified. "Particularly with some people who might believe that the alleged molester is innocent would give the person going to law enforcement a very hard time."

Prosecutors said the family was ostracized by the Orthodox Jewish community.

A flier was circulated in Lakewood, a community with a large Orthodox Jewish community, saying the boy's father had made a mockery of the Torah and committed a "terrible deed" by taking the case to state prosecutors, the Asbury Park Press reported.

The family has since moved to Michigan.

The boy's former therapist also testified Thursday, saying the boy told her in late 2008 he no longer needed help with his social skills because he had made a new friend, Rabbi Kolko.

"He's my best friend. He's the only one who understands me," Dr. Tsipora Koslowitz recounted the boy telling her.

The boy took the witness stand Wednesday on the first day of the trial, testifying how he wanted to remain close to Kolko, even though his actions made him uncomfortable, because Kolko was his friend and he had no friends in school or camp.

The boy described a series of encounters with the rabbi, who would pick him up in his car, including molestation and oral sex and occurring in such locations as an empty classroom, a storage room, Kolko's car and the basement of a synagogue, the newspaper reported.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said he commends the boy and his family for coming forward.

"It is my hope that through this case, Ocean County's Jewish community will find comfort in seeking our help and confidence in the justice system now and into the future," he said.

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Basil farm ready to switch to marijuana

    Basil farm ready to switch to marijuana

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:11:50 GMT
    Basil plants grow on a New Jersey farm, but the facility could be turned into a five-acre medical marijuana greenhouse with only 48 hours' notice. The hoses from the state-of-the-art Dutch hydroponic system are watering flowers now, but with a few minor adjustments could just as easily grow marijuana plants for medicinal cannabis. The only reason it's not happening now is because the company is publicly traded and subject to federal law.
    Basil plants grow on a New Jersey farm, but the facility could be turned into a five-acre medical marijuana greenhouse with only 48 hours' notice. The hoses from the state-of-the-art Dutch hydroponic system are watering flowers now, but with a few minor adjustments could just as easily grow marijuana plants for medicinal cannabis. The only reason it's not happening now is because the company is publicly traded and subject to federal law.
  • NJ woman sues over "8theist" plate

    NJ woman sues over "8theist" plate

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 16:08:10 GMT
    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the state's Motor Vehicle Commission, claiming the agency rejected her application for a license plate proclaiming she's an Atheist. Shannon Morgan filed the suit in federal court, saying the rejection of a plate reading "8THEIST" is a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Maurice River Township woman claims plates reading "BAPTIST" have been approved.
    A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the state's Motor Vehicle Commission, claiming the agency rejected her application for a license plate proclaiming she's an Atheist. Shannon Morgan filed the suit in federal court, saying the rejection of a plate reading "8THEIST" is a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Maurice River Township woman claims plates reading "BAPTIST" have been approved.

  • 8 mumps cases at NJ college

    8 mumps cases at NJ college

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:40 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:40:12 GMT
    Officials are investigating eight confirmed cases of mumps found in students at New Jersey's Stevens Institute of Technology.The college in Hoboken says the students range in age from 18 to 21. All were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of mumps-containing vaccine.
    The New Jersey Department of Health is investigating eight confirmed cases of mumps found in students at Stevens Institute of Technology.  The college in Hoboken says the students range in age from 18 to 21. All were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of mumps-containing vaccine. Symptoms include swollen salivary glands, fever, headache, tiredness and loss of appetite.



Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices