Passaic, NJ – Man Arrested For 4th Time On Abuse Charges In The Jewish Community

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    Passaic, NJ – A 48-year-old Passaic [Orthodox] man was arraigned in state court Thursday on charges he attempted to have sex with two 14-year-old boys in 2006.

    Mitchell Levinton, of Lafayette Street, was being held late Thursday in the Passaic County Jail on $300,000 bail. Prosecutors say he was employed at a [Kosher] catering company when he befriended the boys, who were caterer’s helpers, and had them over to his home.

    There, according to prosecutors, he exposed them to pornography and engaged in acts in their presence.

    Ultimately, according to prosecutors, he unsuccessfully tried to get them to perform sex acts on him by offering them money.

    The incidents came to light recently when someone who heard about the alleged crimes tipped off authorities, who investigated the allegations and arrested Levinton last week.

    Levinton pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Thursday before state Superior Court Judge Ernest M. Caposela in Paterson to two counts of attempted sexual assault, two counts of promoting prostitution, two counts of soliciting prostitution and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
    In 2001, Levinton was sentenced to 364 days in jail and was placed on lifetime probation after being convicted of criminal sexual contact in Atlantic City. In that case, the victim was an adult.

    Last December, he pleaded guilty before state Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Falcon in Paterson to a charge of lewdness and is still awaiting a sentence of what prosecutors recommended be parole supervision for life and, if he violated that sentence, an automatic year and a half in state prison.
    That plea stemmed from his arrest in May 2008 on charges of criminal sexual contact with a 17-year-old developmentally disabled boy in Passaic. Levinton had been doing electrical contract work for the victim’s family and befriended the boy, according to authorities, and ultimately exposed himself in front of the victim after inviting him to his Passaic home to watch a movie.

    On the current charges, he faces as much as 40 years in state prison for the alleged sex offenses, and 18 months in prison for violating his lifetime parole, according to prosecutors.

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    54 COMMENTS

    1. a pity on these boys who were exposed to filth & tumah”
      & a rachmonus on an individual who must suffer with these paraphiliac desires ,its a struggle i boruch hashem dont have , but i wonder what solution is there for a person who is normal as one of us yet “sick” in this area ( i dont know this particular individual) is there some meds that can keep it in range ???
      what did they do bemay chazal??

      • In Chazal’s days this would have been dismissed as nothing serious. The person’s urges would have been regarded like any other yetzer horoh, and since no harm was done nothing much would be done about it. The boys might have been praised a bit for turning down the chance to do an avera, and that would be it. Maybe the man would have got makas mardus, so he shouldn’t do it again.

      • Unfortunately, no one has come up with a real solution. He can go for therapy to control it, but he wont be healed. If he drops therapy, he is back to square one.

      • bemay chazal, if someone wanted to fix a problem like this, then they did alot of teshuva and cried for the rest of their life about what they did.
        may this yid and all the rest of us be zoiche to do teshuva for the things we’ve done wrong.

      • They had a different approach to every problem in the old days – even the goiyim. If you think a little you see that in there world it wasn’t a excuse like “I can’t control my self” even we believe in bechirah – self control – but we believe the it’s only in a daily bases, but no doctor would tell that a molester can change his nature.

      • dont know what they did in chazal times. but today there is help available.

        there are drugs that curd the sexual drive, but that alone is not enough. he needs to go for psychological help to fix his mind……

    2. As has been the case too many times in frum communities everywhere, many of the Rabbanim, therapists and community leaders in Passaic knew very, very well about the danger that this individual presented to children. He had been arrested several times prior. The mother of one of the boys he had abused was pleading with them to publicize his name in order to protect innocent Jewish children. Our community continues to worry more about the “privacy rights” of the abuser, who is a roydef, than the safety concerns of children who are the nirdafim.

      The irony is, as was pointed out in comment #1 above, they did not do a favor to the molester either. If they would have created community safety, perhaps he would not have been able to abuse again, would have been pressured by the whole community’s awareness to work on getting helped with his sickness, and perhaps been able with the help of “it takes a village” to save not only his innocent prey, but also himself. Now he faces up to 41 years (almost an adult lifetime) in prison.

      Perhaps even more tragic is the continued approach of covering up the problem in our community because of fear of “Chillul Hashem” chas v’shalom. Why is it so hard for us to realize that their is no Chillul Hashem in admitting that we have some sick individuals, but that there is tremendous Chillul Hashem in the whole world watching as our Rabbis and leaders protect the molesters more than our children. The Agudas Yisroel’s fight together with the Catholic Church (as seen in today’s NY Post) against the Child Victims Act, is an expression of showing more concern with the financial safety of the yeshivas of the Gedolim, than the physical, emotional and spiritual safety of the children of Klal Yisroel.

      When will our leadership realize the truth of the Maamar Chazal? “Eyzehu Chochom, Haroeh Es Hanolad”.

      To learn more about what you can do to help stop this scourge, please contact me at lipnera@gmail.com

      Asher

      • In light of #11 saying that most of the Rabonim are against this guy, what are you talking about the leadership not helping. I think you just like to have your name in print attacking the leadership.

      • aaaaaye! Are we insane? WHO EXACTLY ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE PROTECTING — the criminal or the unsuspecting citizens??? Give out the names of the offenders in our towns already! Are any working in our homes and businesses? Our schools, chas veshalom? Or send them elsewhere, Rabbanim, if you’re not going to shield our children from them. This is too sick to be the halacha.

    3. I have been involved in this case for some time. The community should be aware that the accused sometimes goes under the name Mitchell (or Mitch) Levinton (as in this article), and sometimes Levington.

      I am pleased to say that by far most of the rabbis in Passaic have been supportive of the alleged victims and of bringing the allegations to law enforcement authorities. I do know of one local rabbi who has been very sympathetic to Levinton (or Levington).

      I hope we all learn from stories like this one.

    4. There is much that Chazal did to help maintain control over the kedusha of the community. How can one defame our great leaders to claim that they would have given the violator a slap on the wrist? They did far more than that,, and anyone who has learned gemora knows this. You would be smarter to keep your ignorance a secret.

      As for the stuff about treatment, this forum has already had many stories with comments from professionals that point out that there is no cure for this problem. There are limits to what treatment can accomplish, and that probably means some decrease in the amount of acting out. How that translates to anyone being able to rely on the perpetrator being safe to have around is unknown. As far as I am concerned, once I am sure that the molester has repeated his actions a few times, I believe the safest place for him is probably jail. Our children are entitled to an environment that is nothing less than 100% safe.

    5. Where are all the people who always say “He’s such an ehrliche Yid. Such a Tzaddik. His parents are the nicest people.” and all the other garbage to make naive & trusting Yidden think this is all a terrible conspiracy against a Tzaddik?

      In other words…are you starting to get the picture? This sicko has been caught 4 times. The others may be smarter & only get caught once. Doesn’t mean it ain’t true!!

    6. This is a sad situation. Society needs to be protected from this individual, however placing him in prison doesn’t seem like the best solution. I found an article on the net that mentioned that in some states some pedophiles are offered the choice of psychotherapy and Depo Provera injections rather than prison. Depo Provera is synthetic progesterone, which will greatly reduce the production of testosterone.

      I guess in ancient times child molesters may have been given a choice of castration or death. Of course since castration is against Jewish law, chazal would not have used that option.

      Since they effects of Depo Provera are reversible though if the injections are discontinued, it might not be suitable for use on the more violent offenders. Since this offenders crimes don’t seem to be violent in nature, perhaps a setence of court ordered therapy plus Depo Provera injections might be much more reasonable than a long prison sentence.

      • Seriously? You think a court is going to mandate chemical castration? it is against the law and a violation of the 8th Amendment, ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. I’m just saying…

        • ““ Seriously? You think a court is going to mandate chemical castration? it is against the law and a violation of the 8th Amendment, ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. I’m just saying…” “

          From what I have read on the net, I get the impression that states which have “chemical castration” as an option for some of the less violent pedophiles, offer it as an option instead of prison. Giving a criminal a choice of a traditional punishment(a long prison term) or having his sex drive nullified by injections seems very humane and by no means cruel or unusual, since he can opt for the jail term instead. The term “chemical castration” is a misnomer, since the drug used Depo Provera, is just synthetic progesterone, which blocks the production of testosterone. Its effects are completely reversible once the injections have ceased.

    7. Mitch Levinton has been a predator for at least 20 years. Back when he lived on E21st St in Brooklyn, he used to regularly invite teenage boys into his house to watch pornography. Aside from the victims in Passaic, there are probably so many other victims in Brooklyn that don’t even realize they have been victimized by this guy.

    8. I’ll keep this brief.

      1. This is the 3rd time he has been CAUGHT. Imagine how many times he WASN’T caught. Imagine how many times people went to their rebbaim instead of the police.

      2. This man should spend the rest of his life inside a steel cage (prison or mental hospital). He is a remorseless sexual predator, who continues his pattern of behavior even after being caught multiple times. He will never learn to behave normally, and will continue to force his deviant behavior onto others.

      3. Anyone who knew about this and kept it quiet, or anyone defending this rodef should be sitting next to him in the cage.

    9. This whole discussion is beyond ridiculous – what would have been done in ancient times is meaningless – we live in the USA where this is:
      A) Felony activity – big time.
      B) Does irreparable damage to the victim(s).
      The best way to create a fresh generation of child molester’s is to keep engendering an environment where molestation can occur.
      What we have here is the result of keeping our heads in the sand thruout the 40’s, the ’80’s and beyond, In the name of protecting the communities image.
      These thorns in our side are from the trees planted many years ago.
      The question now is, are you committed to protecting the right of every child to have a safe childhood?

    10. A rodef (predator) chasing after someone to rape that victim can be killed, according to the Torah. We do not wait until we see what happens, then intervene to protect the perpetrator. The Torah explicitly commands that we act to prevent a tragedy.

      Yet, for decades we as a community have allowed predators to repeatedly victimize our children, with impunity! If not for the efforts of UOJ and Elliot Pasik and like-minded individuals, these outrages would have continued.

      We are dealing with predators, who are incurable.

      The inane approach of sweeping these problems under the rug only worsens the public perception that certain Jewish organizations and perhaps the orthodox Jewish community in general is protective of child molesters–and I cannot think of a greater chilul Hashem than fostering that perception.

      • The operative word there is “rape”. This person has never raped anyone, and shows no signs of being likely to do so, so how is the din rodef relevant? (And DON’T drag in the pretend-concept of “statutory rape”. All that means is that the legislature decided to treat a non-rape AS IF it were a rape. The Torah takes no notice of such a pretense, so you can’t apply din rodef to such a person, any more than you can kill a con man by pretending he’s committing murder.)

        • Mr. Milhouse,

          You’ve already made it clear yesterday that you do not consider sexual molestation of children to be a serious problem, so this conversation is not not meant for you.

          This conversation is only for us fools who are not as enlightened as you and are therefore bothered by pedophiles using children for their own gratification.

          Please leave us to our foolishness.

          • It’s more than foolishness when you falsely call someone a rodef and cackle about what you’d like to do to him. If you want an example of a real rodef, try George Tiller who just got killed in Kansas. He was a rodef; he was a serial killer for pay, and nothing could stop him from killing again, short of lethal force. How can you possibly compare this guy to him? He did not rape anybody, there is no reason to believe he would ever rape anyone, and the unspecified acts he allegedly tried to persuade his young friends to perform are unlikely to have been more than pritzus be’almo.

            • Since he didn’t do anything so bad in your opinion, please send me your address and I can raise money for his bail and he can move in with you.

              I’m sure he won’t mind Monsey.

    11. To Poster #36:

      I have been giving legal support and assistance to the mother of one of Levinton’s young victims. Your post indicates you have some knowledge of a past history of abuse by Mr. Levinton. I would greatly appreciate if you could contact me. I can be emailed at MichaelLesher@optonline.net or called at (973) 470-0212. If you would like to know more about me and my work, you can see for yourself at my web site, http://www.MichaelLesher.com.

      Sincerely,

      Michael Lesher, Esq.

    12. As someone who lives in Passaic, I would like to thank Mr. Lesher for dedicating so much time to ensure that the children in our community and other commuinties are safe. I also am disappointed that us, parents of teens are not informed about a pedophile living amongst us. Maybe we could have saved some of those teens who were abused by him. Is there a Halacha prohibiting the exposure of someone who is endangering our children?

    13. A sex offender is a sex offender! Period! Jewish or not.
      Four times and he didn’t get the message. So, why send him any more messages? Good bye. He wants to psychologically and physically assault our children, but we are supposed to protect him and pity him? Where is the protection and pity for those children and their families?

      • It isn’t just the molestors who need a message.

        It is certain people in the community who think they are too smart to let others deal with these situations.

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