HARTFORD - A federal jury on Thursday awarded $15 million to a New Jersey man who accused a prominent Connecticut rabbi of repeatedly raping and molesting him when he was a teenager.
Rabbi Daniel Greer and his Yeshiva of New Haven were ordered Thursday to pay the compensatory damages to Eliyahu Mirlis. Mirlis alleged in a lawsuit that Greer sexually abused him for three years while he was a student at the Jewish boarding school from 2001 to 2005.
Greer was the school's principal. He has denied the allegations and has not been criminally charged.
The Associated Press generally doesn't name people who say they were sexually abused, but Mirlis’ attorney said he wanted to come forward.
“My client came forward showing great courage to right a wrong and to protect other children,” said the lawyer, Antonio Ponvert III, in a statement. “Child abuse in all its forms must end and this is a step in that process.”
The alleged assaults occurred in various locations including on school property and Greer's home, the lawsuit alleged.
Greer's attorney, William Ward, said Thursday he and his client were “extremely disappointed” with the judgment and would appeal.
Under state law, the plaintiff also is entitled to one-third of the verdict in punitive damages, which would be $5 million in this case, the New Haven Register reported.
Greer has testified before the state legislature several times on a variety of issues, including opposing same-sex unions in 2002 before the state approved same-sex marriage. He also is a former member of the New Haven police commissioners’ board and a past chairman of the New Haven Redevelopment Agency.