(JTA) — A rabbi in Connecticut was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a former student at his yeshiva.
Rabbi Daniel Greer, 79, the founding rabbi of the Yeshiva of New Haven, was sentenced on Monday. He is appealing the verdict.
Judge Jon Alander ordered Greer to begin serving his sentence immediately rather than allowing him to remain free on bond during the appeals process, saying he is a substantial flight risk due to his age, Connecticut Public Radio reported.
“The Talmud teaches that there is hope for a man who is capable of being ashamed,” Alander said in announcing the sentence. “It is my hope that someday you will truly feel ashamed for your actions and thereby embark on the road to redemption.”
Eliyahu Mirlis, 31, of New Jersey, accused the rabbi of raping and sexually molesting him hundreds of times from 2001 to 2005 when he was a minor and a student at the religious boarding school headed by the rabbi.
Greer was found guilty in Connecticut Superior Court on four felony counts in October.
In May 2017, a federal jury in a civil lawsuit ordered Greer and the Yeshiva of New Haven to pay Mirlis $15 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
Greer, who was an activist on behalf of Soviet refuseniks, has served on the New Haven police commissioner’s board and as a chairman of the city’s Redevelopment Agency.