Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, former executive director of Chabad of East Brunswick, admitted in U.S. District Court in Trenton that he paid to have sex with a 17-year-old girl; she was a victim of sex trafficking.
Goodman, 35, a registered sex offender from a 2013 crime, is under house arrest until his sentencing although he is permitted to travel to pre-approved locations during the week of Passover, according to records from the April 12 hearing. Calls made to his attorney, Eric Kanefsky, to find out the names of the specific locations were not returned.
Chabad of East Brunswick was affiliated with Chabad of Central NJ until 2013.
Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, administrator at Rutgers University Chabad House, which is affiliated with Chabad of Central NJ, told NJJN that Goodman was not on campus for Passover; his parents, Rabbi Baruch and Sarah Goodman, are Chabad’s campus activities directors. “Absolutely not,” he said. “[Goodman] has not been in the building for several years since this began.”
The 2018 complaint filed against Goodman alleged he responded to a website’s solicitation for sex with a 17-year-old and arranged to meet the teen from Lancaster, Pa., in an East Brunswick hotel on Feb. 1 where he had sex with her and offered to pay for an additional 30 minutes.
(Gabriella Colon and Richard Ortiz of the Bronx are accused of helping arrange the meeting and are charged with sex trafficking and other related crimes.)
According to court documents, when law enforcement officials approached Goodman and asked to speak with him about the teen, he “spontaneously uttered: ‘I only went there for a massage, I did nothing wrong, she looked young and I hope she is ok!’”
The case, which was originally scheduled to be heard in April of last year in Middlesex County Superior Court, was transferred on the day of the court hearing to the federal level. NJJN was told by federal authorities it does not comment on why such transfers are made.
Goodman previously served time in Pennsylvania for a sex offense with a minor.
In January 2013, Goodman was extradited to Pennsylvania, where he pled guilty to two counts of indecent assault of a person under 13 years of age and completed a sex offender counseling course.
Those offenses involved complaints from a 12-year-old boy who accused Goodman of the acts during the summer of 2001 while the rabbi was a counselor at Camp Menachem, a Chabad facility in Lackawaxen
In 2006 Goodman and his wife Ora Malka launched Chabad of East Brunswick, which included the Chai Early Childhood Center and the Chai Central Hebrew School for children ages 6-14.
The Hebrew school, previously run by Goodman, remains open under the sole direction of Ora Malka Goodman, who also continues to run the early childhood center and women’s group that have always been under her auspices. They operate under East Brunswick Chai and have no affiliation with Chabad of Central NJ nor the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.
A sentencing date has not been announced for the recent case. Goodman is expected to be sentenced to 18 months in prison and a year of supervised release. The charge carries up to a 10-year prison sentence.