The director of Chabad of East Brunswick has been released from jail on $35,000 bail following a preliminary arraignment on child molestation charges that allegedly occurred almost 12 years earlier while he was a counselor at a Chabad camp in Pennsylvania.
Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, 30, was arrested on Jan. 7 by officers from the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department and extradited to Pennsylvania, where he was held at the Pike County Correctional Facility.
The alleged offenses against a 12-year-old occurred at Camp Menachem in Lackawaxen Township during the summer of 2001.
The preliminary arraignment was held Jan. 14, but a preliminary hearing in Pike County Magisterial Court, scheduled for Jan. 23, has been postponed until Feb. 20, according to the magistrate’s office.
The criminal complaint, which cited a recently taped telephone conversation between Goodman and his accuser, alleged at least 10 counts of indecent assault on a person younger than 13 years of age.
The acts are first-degree misdemeanors, which under Pennsylvania law could result in a five-year prison sentence on each count. The case is being heard by Judge Deborah Fischer. Goodman is being represented by Michael Weinstein of Milford, Pa.
In a Jan. 28 email addressed to members of his “community,” Goodman wrote that he had hired an “interim rabbi” to take over his rabbinic duties “while I prepare to defend myself in a court of law.” The email, thanking supporters, said the Chabad would “continue our educational programs,” and that “maintaining the safety of all our children is our top priority.”
Goodman and his wife, Ora Malka, took over Chabad of East Brunswick in 2006. It operates the Chai Central Hebrew School for children ages six-14.
Chabad of East Brunswick is affiliated with Chabad House-Lubavitch Inc. at Rutgers University; calls made to Rabbi Yosef Carlebach, executive director of Rutgers Chabad, to discuss the future of the school, were not returned. Chabad of East Brunswick is not affiliated with the Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn or its Morristown-based seminary, the Rabbinical College of America.