Rabbi Daniel Greer Tuesday pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and child endangerment charges.
The 77-year-old rabbi, who founded the Yeshiva of New Haven and helped revive the surrounding Edgewood neighborhood, is accused of molesting one of his former students, Eliyahu Mirlis, almost a decade ago.
In May, Greer and the yeshiva lost a $20 million verdict in civil court in a suit filed by Mirlis. Shortly after, police closed in on the case, after detectives verified the alleged victim’s description of Greer’s naked body, including a scar on his inner thigh. Greer turned himself in for arrest at police headquarters in July and is free on a $100,000 bond.
Wearing a black suit and carrying a book of prayers, Greer briefly appeared in criminal court at 235 Church St. Tuesday morning to enter a not guilty plea and request a jury trial. Aside from agreeing to respect a protective order, Greer didn’t speak. The rabbi then spent an hour attempting to dodge reporters outside the courthouse before leaving.
Beginning in the 1980s, Rabbi Greer oversaw the revival of the neighborhood around his yeshiva at the corner of Norton and Elm streets, renovating neglected historic homes.
Over the years, Greer has also crusaded against gay rights in Connecticut, at times played an active role in politics and government, and advocated for keeping nuisance businesses out of the Whalley Avenue commercial corridor. He and his family earned national attention for exposing johns who patronized street prostitutes in the neighborhood, for filing suit against Yale University over a requirement that students live in coed dorms, and then in 2007 for launching an armed neighborhood “defense” patrol and then calling in the Guardian Angels for assistance to combat crime. In the 1970s, Greer also led a successful campaign to force the United States to pressure the Soviet Union into allowing Jewish “refuseniks” to emigrate here and start new, freer lives.’
His next court date is scheduled for Oct. 11.
Previous coverage of this case:
• Suit: Rabbi Molested, Raped Students
• Greer’s Housing Corporations Added To Sex Abuse Lawsuit
• 2nd Ex-Student Accuses Rabbi Of Sex Assault
• 2nd Rabbi Accuser Details Alleged Abuse
• Rabbi Sexual Abuse Jury Picked
• On Stand, Greer Invokes 5th On Sex Abuse
• Rabbi Seeks To Bar Blogger from Court
• Trial Mines How Victims Process Trauma
• Wife, Secretary Come To Rabbi Greer’s Defense
• Jury Awards $20M In Rabbi Sex Case
• State Investigates Greer Yeshiva’s Licensing
• Rabbi Greer Seeks New Trial
• Affidavit: Scar Gave Rabbi Greer Away
posted by: DrJay on August 29, 2017 1:18pm
What is the point of chasing a defendant outside a courtroom? Clearly he doesn’t want to speak to the press. Why not just let him drive away?
This story had almost nothing to do with the case, and everything to do with the reporters covering it. Will the editor please explain?
[Ed: Thank you. Good point. We felt the episode with the press reflected an impact that this case has had on the defendant’s life. I respect the fact that people could argue otherwise!]
posted by: Bill Saunders on August 29, 2017 1:37pm
That is just a weird justification….. of course this case has had an impact on the defendants life. You don’t have to look through the lens of ‘reporter interaction’ to draw that conclusion…
Maybe you sent reporters out there for a story, and they didn’t come back with one, but they took a nice picture….
posted by: Noteworthy on August 29, 2017 1:59pm
This is a pointless, hostile, and harassing story. The public’s right to know was upheld via a blow by blow account of why you didn’t get a perp pic? Felt this episode reflected an impact on the defendant’s life? So you decided it was worth making his life even worse? WTF kind of rationale is that?
posted by: Paul Bass on August 29, 2017 2:22pm
Thank you for those thoughtful comments. They prompted a newsroom discussion. We concluded that you are right. We had felt that the rabbi’s extreme behavior was notable in the context of his having just pleaded not guilty, and because we rarely see similar behavior by defendants. But the points made above in this discussion are clearly more important. Thanks again. We’ve changed the story.
We do always try to get comments and photos from defendants when they leave a courtroom. You make a good point that that in itself doesn’t have to be written about at length.
posted by: barbara b on August 29, 2017 2:32pm
That is a silly story. Merely because after being accused of repeatedly raping male students in his care; and failing to deny those accusations in Civil Court while testifying; and thereafter being criminally charged for these same acts and having never yet served a moment in jail, and after the accuser described in lurid detail the anatomy of this poor fellow….these reporters bothered this helpless man to get a reaction or a photo…..how dare they?
posted by: EPDP on August 29, 2017 3:16pm
Paul Bass caved in to a bunch of cranks and crybabies. A couple of reporters trying to take a picture of a guy who is accused of child rape outside of a courthouse is considered harassment? Give me a break!
posted by: Patricia Kane on August 29, 2017 5:05pm
When I left the courthouse there were 4 press people waiting for Greer. His notoriety for having lost a civil suit for child rape makes him a public figure and it is certainly news worthy when he appears at court. The press is not stalking him, but are keeping us informed as to the progress of the criminal charges.
I fail to see any thing in the press coverage that is inappropriate.
It was his choice to hide out in court for an hour to avoid being seen.
Since the original story has been changed, my comments only relate to this version and the comments.