A March 20 court date has been set in Middlesex County Superior Court for an East Brunswick, N.J., rabbi charged in connection with human trafficking and forced prostitution of a 17-year-old Pennsylvania girl.
Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, the former executive director of the Chabad of East Brunswick, is charged with one count of engaging in prostitution with a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly having sex in an unnamed East Brunswick hotel with the Lancaster, Pa., girl.
Rabbi Goodman, 35, turned himself in to the East Brunswick Police Feb. 6, accompanied by his attorney, and was released pending his court appearance before Judge Michael A. Toto, said Middlesex County prosecutor’s office spokesperson Andrea Boulton.
In a previous case, Rabbi Goodman was extradited in January 2013 to Pennsylvania, where he pled guilty to two counts of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age; in October 2015 in Pike County, Pa., he was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison.
Those offenses involved complaints of several incidents with a 12-year-old boy who accused Rabbi Goodman of the acts while was a counselor at Camp Menachem, a Chabad facility in Lackawaxen Township, Pa., during the summer of 2001.
NJJN was unable to determine how much time Goodman served. The original indictment charged him with 12 counts, but the rest of the charges were dismissed.
The terms of the sentencing included completing a course of sex offender counseling and refraining from having any contact with the victim or his family.
Rabbi Goodman’s name did not appear on the New Jersey State Police sex offender list, but a law enforcement official, who asked to remain anonymous, told NJJN that offenders are divided into three tiers, with level three being the most serious. Only the top two tiers appear on the list available to the public, but Rabbi Goodman is listed as a tier one offender.
The rabbi and his wife, Ora Malka, in 2006 took over Chabad of East Brunswick, which focused on education, operating the Chai Central Hebrew School for children ages 6-14.
A statement from the prosecutor’s office said Rabbi Goodman was “performing in a religious capacity at a Jewish religious center out of his home in East Brunswick and may have affiliation with another center on Lexington Avenue in East Brunswick.”
The Chabad of East Brunswick on Lexington Avenue — which Goodman ran before the 2013 case — operated under the auspices of Chabad House-Lubavitch Inc. at Rutgers University. It is not affiliated with Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn or its Morristown-based seminary, the Rabbinical College of America.
Chabad at Rutgers spokesperson Karen Kessler told NJJN that it has “absolutely no affiliation with the individual charged, nor any knowledge of the incident in question.”
She said Chabad at Rutgers severed its ties with Goodman after the first incident, adding, “Anyone can call themselves Chabad.”
Debra Rubin covers Middlesex Country for the New Jersey Jewish News.