Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Boston Rabbi Allegedly Sent Nude Pics to Teenager

Also reportedly spent nearly $500,000 of synagogue money trying to keep the teen’s brother silent

By: Hugh Holt

Published: May 21st, 2014 in News » World

Allegedly after beginning a sexually abusive relationship with a 16-year-old male two years ago, disgraced rabbi Barry Starr reportedly paid nearly $500,000 to silence the teenager’s brother who threatened to expose the relationship, according to sworn statements released Monday in Stoughton District Court.

The prominent Boston-area rabbi resigned after 28 years as the leader of Temple Israel in Sharon, when documents related to a search warrant were released in Stoughton District Court indicating Starr in “extensive” browsing of Craigslist ads and other classified websites.

Rabbi Starr was exposed for sending nude photos of himself to underage boys, when the brother of one of the teens involved allegedly blackmailed the rabbi and threatened to go to public with an inappropriately sexual email exchange, the Boston Globe reported.

Rabbi Starr, a leader with a wide-spread reputation in Conservative Judaism, allegedly transferred money from the rabbi’s discretionary fund to the brother of the victim–identified in court documents as 29 year old Nicholas Zemeitus. According to documents filed in court, Zemeitus told authorities the rabbi had suggested altering checks written by elderly congregants to increase their value.

“I went through theses [sic] e-mails and learned that you lure boys in with the promise of paying them a hundred bucks to let you proform [sic] various sex acts on them,” Nicholas Zemeitus, wrote in one 2011 email. “That made me so upset and even sick to my stomach.”

In an e-mail sent Tuesday to congregants, Arnie Freedman, Temple Israel president, has called the situation “painful and deeply upsetting.” She says Rabbi Starr misled her about the sexual nature of the extortion plot. Freedman referred the matter to attorneys and eventually law enforcement.

Currently authorities are investigating the possibility that Rabbi Starr misused as much as 480,000 in synagogue funds. It’s still unclear if either Starr or Zemeitus, or both, will face criminal charges. Rabbi Starr’s lawyer insists that this is all just a blackmail scheme.

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