Fair, 77°
Lebovits sentenced up to 32 years in first trial
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Lebovits made no comment after the verdict was announced. Aidala asked that Lebovits be allowed to keep his yarmulke and religious items, be provided with kosher food, and be placed in protective custody, because of an earlier incident with another inmate.

Ben Hirsch, the president of Survivors for Justice, an organization that provides support to victims of sexual abuse, praised the verdict.

"The fact that Lebovits chose not to address the court or the victim, compounded by his refusal to acknowledge guilt and his continued intimidation of witnesses and the victim-- not to mention the 80 letters of support submitted by his supporters-- may well have earned him the harsh prison term," said Hirsch.

Joseph Diangello, a victim of sexual abuse whose gothic appearance hides a Chassidic upbringing, was equally exuberant.

"From now on victims of sexual abuse in the Chassidic community that have no voice with the people that are supposed to protect them, will have a voice in the court of law," Diangello said.

After the sentencing, the victim's father said he felt that the message was clear that even people in the highest position of power could not escape justice. Earlier in the day, he said, he had been assaulted and thrown out of a Brooklyn shul, but he was not complaining.

"My son is becoming a new man," he said.



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