CT: Court upholds $21.7M verdict against rabbi in sex abuse case

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a $21.7 million verdict against a Connecticut rabbi accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a teenage boy in the early 2000s.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City rejected the appeal of Rabbi Daniel Greer, 79, of New Haven, who was sentenced in December to 12 years in prison on state criminal charges related to the abuse.

A New Jersey man, Eliyahu Mirlis, now 32, filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against Greer in 2016. Mirlis said Greer sexually abused him in 2002 and 2003 when he attended the Yeshiva of New Haven school, which Greer founded.

A federal jury awarded Mirlis $15 million in compensatory damages and a judge tacked on another $5 million in punitive damages plus $1.7 million in interest.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they’ve been sexually assaulted, but Mirlis wanted to come forward, his lawyer said.

Greer, who had denied the allegations, appealed the verdict, saying the trial judge made mistakes in instructing the jury about how to consider, during deliberations, Greer’s invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when declining to answer questions during the trial.

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