Affidavit: Scar Gave Rabbi Greer Away

Christopher Peak PhotoA one-to-three-inch scar, and the way he pulled his pants over his shoes, helped seal Rabbi Daniel Greer’s fate with police investigating whether he repeatedly sexually assaulted yeshiva students over a period of years.

That point emerged in an arrest warrant affidavit made public Thursday, one day after the prominent Edgewood rabbi turned himself in to police on charges of second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. Greer, who is 77 years old, is free on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 11, after his lawyer, prominent criminal defense attorney Willie Dow, returns from vacation. In an interview, Dow denied the charges on Greer’s behalf. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Stacey Miranda is handling the case for the government.

The arrest warrant affidavit, written by lead police investigator Detective Kristine Cuddy, details the information she gathered from an alleged victim of the rabbi as well as information she relied on to buttress the allegations.

Her investigation stemmed from a complaint police received last August from a former student at the yeshiva Greer started in the Edgewood neighborhood. Though the affidavit doesn’t name the student, a lawyer for the victim, Eliyahu Mirlis, confirmed that he is the one who came forward to police. Mirlis also brought a federal civil lawsuit against Greer that wrapped up in May, when Greer lost a $20 million verdict in federal court. That trial, which was decided on a lower standard of a “preponderance of the evidence,” or who’s case was more likely, included testimony about years-long abuse of at least one other victim at the school. Greer invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to decline responding to the allegations. (The rabbi is seeking a new trial.)

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, during an interview at police headquarters on Aug. 25, 2016, Detectives Cuddy and Shayna Kendall sought to shore up details about Mirlis’s alleged abuse, which he said had occurred in the “early to middle 2000s.” The detectives questioned him about dates and locations, as well as a description of Greer’s naked body.

Mirlis, now 29 years old, told the officers that the rabbi had orange pubic hair (that might have changed with age), a circumcised penis, no tattoos, a hairy back and chest, a mole on his upper back and a scar between one and four inches long between his thigh and his testicle. Mirlis said the scar could be seen only if Greer was naked. He couldn’t remember which leg the scar was on.

Mirlis also stated that, at the time he was allegedly assaulted, Greer had an unusual habit of putting his shoes on before his pants when redressing — a fact that wasn’t disclosed in the civil trial.

To verify, Cuddy applied for a warrant last month to view Greer’s naked body. Judge Brian Fischer approved it. On June 20, Sgt. David Zannelli and three detectives met Greer at his lawyer’s offices on Orange Street. In a private room, two detectives videotaped and photographed Greer with and without his clothes on. (Cuddy wasn’t present.) Greer’s lawyer said the rabbi would give no statement to the cops.

After reviewing the images on a DVD, Cuddy wrote, they “corroborated” all of Mirlis’s statements. In the affidavit, she wrote, “The images clearly showed that Greer did in fact have a lot of pubic hair, orange in color, an extremely hairy chest, white in color, an extremely hairy back, black in color. Also, small mole on the upper right side of his back, a circumcised penis and a scar on Greer’s body one to three inches in length between the right thigh and right testicle.”

At the federal civil trial, defense attorneys sought to establish that most students at the tight-knit yeshiva would have known Greer had a hernia surgery and thus a scar.

The police video also supported, but did not confirm, Mirlis’s description of how Greer dressed, according to Cuddy’s affidavit. “I also noted while watching the video of Greer undressing that he removed his pants while wearing his shoes,” Cuddy wrote. “The victim had stated that Greer would put his pants on while wearing his shoes, although today he did the opposite, it is an odd behavior.”

Cuddy, a 14-year veteran of the force in the Special Victims Unit, noted that law enforcement’s case was also supported by the rest of Mirlis’s detailed, sometimes lurid, testimony and a videotaped deposition from the civil trial by a separate former student who became the yeshiva’s principal of his own sexual relations with Greer. That student, Aviad Hack, spoke of years worth of alleged sexual abuse. (Click here for a story detailing that.)

Criminal Allegations

In his interview with law enforcement last year, Mirlis described his alleged abuse in graphic detail that wasn’t brought up at trial. Here’s how the arrest warrant affidavit reports the allegations:

Mirlis said that the abuse began during his sophomore year, when he was about 14 years old. Greer told him to meet on the first floor of 777 Elm St., one of the dormitories next to the yeshiva. The rabbi allegedly served him alcohol (usually a bloody mary, single-malt scotch or wine) and sat him down on a couch, engaged in an emotional conversation, then leaned in and kissed him on the mouth. Mirlis “freaked out,” he told the cops, and left.

A week or two later, Greer told him to come to the same spot. Again, he served him alcohol and sat him down on the couch, Mirlis claimed. Greer then allegedly told Mirlis to stand, undid the boy’s belt, pulled his pants down to his ankles and had oral sex.

Mirlis told the detectives that the sexual assaults became a “regular thing” after that. On a weekly basis, usually on a weekday evening or a Sunday afternoon, he was sexually assaulted at the dorms and at rental properties on Norton Street, Edgewood Avenue, Maple Street and Park Street, Mirlis stated in the interview.

Mirlis said his grades suffered when he refused to meet with Greer. (At the civil trial, the defense attorneys pointed out that his final report cards had all A’s and B’s.) Mirlis also said that Greer, who then acted as the school’s dean, would yell at him in the yeshiva’s hallways and threaten him with expulsion. From the teenager’s perspective, the sexual abuse seemed like “a game” to the rabbi.

Mirlis was sexually assaulted so often that the encounters started to blur together, he added. Mirlis remembered, once, Greer lay naked on top of him in the “69” position; on another occasion, he added, Greer would “get in the doggy position,” hand the teen KY Jelly lube and be penetrated anally. Mirlis told Greer he “didn’t like it” when he was penetrated, but that also allegedly continued anyway.

They didn’t wear condoms, Mirlis told cops. He maintained that, on various encounters, he ejaculated inside Greer’s anus and mouth and on his stomach; after oral sex, Greer would ejaculate on his chest.

The final sexual assault was in June 2005, shortly after he graduated from the Yeshiva, Mirlis told the detectives.

Rabbi Posts Bond

Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford signed off on Greer’s arrest warrant on Tuesday.

Greer showed up at 1 Union Ave. at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday along with attorney David Grudberg (who was accompanying him while Dow, his lawyer in the criminal case, is on vacation) to surrender. Bond was set at $100,000. Greer posted it shortly after noon. As he left the police station, he declined comment to a reporter.

Greer denies the charges against him and plans to enter a plea of not guilty, Willie Dow, of Jacobs & Dow, said by phone. “Rabbi Greer has a long history of positive contributions to the New Haven community,” Dow said. “These charges are unfounded. He looks forward to addressing this case in court.”

Mirlis’s attorney, Antonio Ponvert III of Bridgeport’s Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, confirmed Wednesday that Mirlis also made the complaint to the New Haven police on which the investigation was based.

“Mirlis is relieved and gratified that the New Haven Police pursued this matter, and that Greer has been arrested and will now face criminal penalties for his sexual abuse of children. One of my client’s goals in bringing Greer’s abuse to light was to get this pedophile off the streets and far away from other people’s children,” Ponvert wrote in an email Wednesday. “Sexual predators — especially this so-called ‘rabbi’ and others who twist spiritual beliefs for their own sick pleasure — deserve to suffer all available civil and criminal penalties.”

Ponvert added that the arrest sends an important message about childhood sexual abuse. “My client and I hope that the $20 million judgment in the civil case and now this arrest will send a loud message to other victims that they can safely come forward and will be believed and a louder message to would-be child molestors that, if they touch a child, they will be pursued relentlessly, will be publicly humiliated, will lose everything they have, and will spend many years with their fellow rapists behind bars in a maximum-security prison,” he said.

In seeking to begin collecting on the $20 million federal civil verdict, Ponvert has obtained judgment liens on the yeshiva’s Elm Street building, property it owns in Bethany, and Greer’s personal residence in the Edgewood neighborhood.

The Greer case has destroyed a close-knit religious community that centered around the yeshiva. However, even though the school lost all its students, it has been reconstituted, and attracted new attention from state authorities. The Yeshiva of New Haven remains open, under new management, despite lacking the proper licenses to operate a boarding school. The Department of Children and Families and the State Department of Education are still scheduling a meeting with the school administration, a DCF spokesperson said last week.

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.

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

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posted by: SparkJames on July 26, 2017  11:17am

“Nuisance Businesses”? Oh, you mean “predatory religious schools wherein traumatic sexual abuse is regularly occurring”. Looks like those were allowed to flourish in the Whalley Avenue corridor.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 26, 2017  1:33pm

The rapist, whether of children, adults or the elderly, seldom limits himself to one victim, which is why going public is so important.
There will be others likely coming forward over time.
But the community that heard the whispers and didn’t want to know have to confront their own roles
in allowing this rape and exploitation of children go on as long as it did.
No group or faith is immune from these events, although groups in which male authority is unchallenged seem to be more the norm.
Detective Kris Cuddy is an outstanding expert in the area of sex crimes and we can look forward to getting the whole truth this time.

posted by: benjy on July 26, 2017  1:54pm

Isn’t there a statute of limitations issue?

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 26, 2017  2:04pm

The civil statute of limitations generally gives victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or sexual exploitation 30 years after they reach age 18 (i.e., until their 48th birthday) to file a personal injury action based on the crime (CGS § 52-577d). However, there is no limitation on bringing a personal injury action to recover damages caused by sexual assault when the party legally at fault for the injury is convicted of first-degree sexual assault or first-degree aggravated sexual assault for such action (CGS § 52-577e).

It is also important to note that statutes of limitations can be tolled (suspended) in certain situations, thus giving a person additional time to file a lawsuit or the state additional time to prosecute a case.

CRIMINAL STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SEXUAL ABUSE

By law, there is no statute of limitations for Class A felonies (CGS § 54-193).

Otherwise, the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse is generally 30 years after the victim reaches age 18, or up to five years from the date he or she notifies the police or a prosecutor of the crime, whichever i

complete info at: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0162.htm

posted by: barbara b on July 26, 2017  3:16pm

Greer crusaded against gay rights when he was a gay rapist, sued Yale University but the case was weak enough to be dismissed before it might have been tried.
He knows how to get publicity. He’s Tawana Brawley as a cleric.

posted by: westville man on July 26, 2017  5:34pm

Barbara b.  How about Susan Smith?  You’re really reaching back 30 years?

posted by: Noteworthy on July 26, 2017  6:08pm

False arrest predicated on a myth.

posted by: cunningham on July 27, 2017  9:08am

@Noteworthy

What myth is that?

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 27, 2017  9:21am

Greer as Tawana Brawley? I don’t think so.
She was a teenager claiming sexual assault and playing the race card o cover up staying out too late.
Greer is just your predator cloaked in religious authority the way Jerry Sandusky was cloaked in his sports coach mantle.
Their level of denial is always stunning.
I believe Sandusky is appealing his conviction.

posted by: JohnTulin on July 27, 2017  9:24am

Strange that anyone concerned with personal accountability and upright behavior would give a known pedophile the benefit of the doubt and go so far as to assume that he has been railroaded.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 27, 2017  10:39am

Cunningham:

An alleged incident at least a decade or more old - is not believable. There is no way to confirm it; and no way to effectively deny or combat it. Even the time frame is from the “early to mid 2000(s).” Anybody who was molested as a minor, unless they were a young child, knows much more precisely where and when it happened. I suppose there can be exceptions but the less defined the details, the less believable the charge. I seriously doubt the cops have such dispositive evidence. If so, let’s see it.

posted by: cunningham on July 27, 2017  11:21am

@Noteworthy

But the alleged victim DOES have more precise times, dates, and details in mind. See this article: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/view_of_trauma/

Do you really think the plaintiff said, “He molested me, at some point or another. I don’t remember details. Anyway, give me my money now.”

I agree with you that there might not be enough to convince a jury *beyond a reasonable doubt* that Greer is guilty, the standard in a criminal case, but just waving the whole affair away is asinine and makes for dangerous precedent. How many people would have preferred the same approach when the abuse in the Catholic Church began to come to light?

posted by: T-ski1417 on July 27, 2017  2:09pm

@noteworthy

Just to be clear are you suggesting that the victim has made all this up?

posted by: JohnTulin on July 27, 2017  2:34pm

Is the evidence mythical too?

Strange.  Hypothetical jaywalkers get railed into for ... jaywalking, and an actual rapist and known pedophile is given the benefit of the doubt.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 27, 2017  2:54pm

This updated story - with lurid alleged details - extremely graphic and unnecessary - is a disgusting display of journalistic license. It is clear the Harp Voice is interested in destroying the Greers. A reporter can write about the strength of the case such as it is without anything close to this detail and should have had the decency to do so.

That said - If a male student is traveling with the rabbi to visit somewhere, they would have shared a room. There are other circumstances where being partially clothed or even naked might be possible. And, it’s probable that under those circumstances, one would see a person get dressed. A person would only need one or two such encounters to remember it. That another student says similar things is not so far fetched either. Passing details around, true or untrue, doesn’t not make them any more of either.

Do I believe the victim? eh, maybe, maybe not. Is it worth $20 million? no. Is Mirlis doing all this because he wants a pedophile off the street. Absolutely not. When anybody says it’s not about the money - it’s about the money. Period.

posted by: William Kurtz on July 27, 2017  3:23pm

“Strange.  Hypothetical jaywalkers get railed into for ... jaywalking, and an actual rapist and known pedophile is given the benefit of the doubt.”

I found that perplexing as well. But then, there’s no subject on which Noteworthy doesn’t have an affected expertise.

“That said - If a male student is traveling with the rabbi to visit somewhere, they would have shared a room. There are other circumstances where being partially clothed or even naked might be possible.”

Responsible adults in this day and age would find these situations wildly inappropriate.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 27, 2017  3:28pm

Noteworthy: the details are disgusting and I wish we didn’t have to read them, but we did have a choice to stop, but I didn’t and you didn’t. Greer’s victim didn’t have that choice.
        Rapists select vulnerable children and people because they can’t fight back effectively.  Add the mantle of special standing in the community and it’s guaranteed no one will talk because no one wants to believe it.
        This shocking truth is hard because it shatters our shared beliefs as to whom we can trust.
        It’s too painful to acknowledge that our trust is sometimes misplaced and betrayed; even worse, we didn’t want to listen or take action. Even now, it’s easier to be skeptical.  But even you must have doubts as more details emerge.
          Just as in the Cosby case, the unthinkable becomes more credible as more people come forward and the predator’s pattern emerges.
          It would be a wonderful education for us all, if this matter goes to trial, but I suspect Greer’s attorneys are smarter than he is and will look for a deal.

posted by: EPDP on July 27, 2017  3:49pm

I sat through the entire civil trial.  I watched the videotape of Avi Hack’s lurid testimony.  I watched Mirlis testify.  It was heartbreaking to watch these guys. To suggest that these two guys made up these stories is ludicrous. Avi Hack didn’t sue Greer and had no reason to come forward and testify.  If Greer was truly innocent why did he take the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify?  He couldn’t offer any logical explanation. Nor could his lawyers.  That’s why the jury awarded Mirlis $21 million.   
Larry Noodles

posted by: T-ski1417 on July 27, 2017  4:02pm

@noteworthy

I know I’m not suppose to “attack” a commenter and hope this gets posted, as many of my comments don’t due to the PC police, but are you listening to yourself. Im not part of the Jewish community and not familiar with its customs but I find it hard to believe that this child, at the time, would get an up close and personal look at his penis and a bodily scar that was between his thighs and testicles.

I didn’t realize that Rabbi’s and students when traveling would be naked I front of each other and so close to each other that they can identify bodily characteristics.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 27, 2017  4:15pm

Kurtz:

I don’t have “affected expertise.” I have an opinion. Last I checked, that was ok. But for the record, I do have some particular expertise in budgets, politics and messaging - and unfortunately, child molestation. Your dismissal is unwarranted whether I have expertise or not. If you don’t like my opinions - don’t read them and certainly don’t trouble yourself to respond.

Dwight:

At 14, you have the ability to say no. At 16, you really have the ability. The beginning of this alleged abuse is the part that stretches credulity. After that, there seems to be at very least, a quid pro quo going on.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 27, 2017  5:06pm

Shades of the Ice cream truck man. Candy Little Boy.

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on July 27, 2017  6:53pm

@noteworthy you wrote ,“It is clear the Harp Voice is interested in destroying the Greers. “. What does Harp have to do with this guy’s decision to molest little boys?  The Rabbi Greer destroyed himself with his perversed predilection for prepubescent boys.  The details of this case are horrific and it should be told.  This guy raped those little boys and he should have the shame of everyone knowing what he did! This guy is beyond disgusting!!!!!!!

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 27, 2017  7:12pm

I refuse to give up on you, Noteworthy.
Here’s a link to an article as to how predators “groom” their prey. http://victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/grooming-dynamic-of-csa
There are only dozens more online. Please do your own Google search to see if there is something in the literature that makes sense to you.
My view is that we raise children to respect authority. When someone who is in a position of authority exploits that societal training, it is not the child’s failure, but the society around the predator who chose to look away rather than protect the child.
Is it really that hard to remember our young, trusting selves.
The sexual assault usually includes threats to hurt a child and/ or the child’s family if s/he tells anyone the secret. Isn’t this bullying?
The Rabbi will have another day in court and can speak to his heart’s content, should he choose to.
Rape is a largely unreported because it is so hard to prove.
At least communities now are willing to read the disgusting details and not turn away.

posted by: Bill Saunders on July 27, 2017  8:37pm

Wasn’t ‘a personal mole’ part of the testimony in the Michael Jackson case…...

posted by: 1644 on July 28, 2017  7:36am

SparkJames:  Sexual predators are hardly confined to religious institutions.  Choate recently published a report detailing 30 years worth of incidents.  Other boarding schools, such as Deerfield and St Georges have had similar problems.  At teacher at Madison’s Hand High School was recently convicted of statutory rape.
  The perpetrators are often popular and charismatic, so victims are dissuaded from coming forward.  One of the teachers at Choate was rightly called “a god among the students and a god among the faculty.”  Victims themselves often do not want to report abuse but want to leave the past in the past.  Reporting means re-living the abuse as one recounts is to investigators and others, all knowing it may be for naught due to the problems of proof Noteworthy notes.  As a result, the perpetrator is free to find new victims.

posted by: challenge on July 28, 2017  3:00pm

Surprisingly I don’t see the usual comments coming from those who frequently leap at the opportunity to attack the character of certain individuals. Hmmmm. They seem to be silent about this disgusting pedophile. I won’t call them by name and noting that silence speaks volumes.

posted by: John Bodnar on July 29, 2017  8:55pm

There are a couple of posters who attacked the victim.Two words-Stop It.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 30, 2017  4:35am

Two words: Alleged victim

posted by: John Bodnar on July 30, 2017  2:01pm

noteworthy
The evidence is quite clear.How did he know about the scar.?
I was a victim when I was twelve.Nothing happened to the teacher.

posted by: BevHills730 on July 31, 2017  12:25am

Noteworthy is willing to trash and judge so many with slivers of evidence.  Yet he stands up for an alleged pedophile who faces mountains of evidence supporting the allegations?

posted by: Noteworthy on July 31, 2017  2:49pm

Slivers of evidence? So you’re making a felony accusation true without hearing evidence, only reading one sided presentation and no court proceedings except the civil trial? Interesting. I’d like to see how that plays in different communities in New Haven.

posted by: BevHills730 on July 31, 2017  10:43pm

Noteworthy your comments suggest you are down with old men sexually abusing 14 and 16 year olds.

I’m surprised you take such a strong stand to defend sexual abuse and alleged pedophiles when you are so critical of so many others.  I

posted by: challenge on August 2, 2017  10:22am

I totally agree with Bevhills730. I am surprised that Noteworthy is strongly defending this well documented disgusting child rapist and yet generally so critical of others. There is one in particular who is completely silent. Hmmm. Now what conclusion can we gather from that?

posted by: Jessghi on August 2, 2017  4:30pm

I want to know why he was released on a 100,000 $ bond. The seriousness of the charges along with his financial means should have resulted in a. MUCH higher bond. Why is it that this predator gets special treatment? If anything he should be held MORE accountable than the average joe. It’s disgusting and appalling that he is receiving special consideration. He abused his special treatment, he was able to do what he did for so long because of the courtesys extended to him for the things he did for the community. He doesn’t deserve an ounce more of mercy or consideration. It is disappointing to see people arrested on much lesser charges receive substantionally higher bonds who don’t have the means to even cover a Lower bond and then this monster is released on a bond that doesn’t even slightly inconvenience him. If this doesn’t show you the clear inconsistencys with our criminal justice system I don’t know what will.