Pepper Pike Rabbi arrested for allegedly exchanging sexual messages with officer posing as teen
PEPPER PIKE, Ohio (WOIO) - Pepper Pike Rabbi Stephen Weiss, 60, was arrested after allegedly engaging in sexually explicit online conversations with an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a 15-year-old boy on a social networking app, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed.
The prosecutor’s office said conversations with the undercover officer were followed by Weiss traveling to a pre-arranged location in Cuyahoga County to engage in sexual activity with a purported child.
Weiss was arrested on scene by Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force law enforcement officers, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Officers searched Weiss’ car and found a box of condoms, two bottles of lubricant, and one bottle of ED medication containing a single pill, the prosecutor’s office stated.
The prosecutor’s office said Weiss was charged with one count each of the following:
- Attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
- Possessing criminal tools
B’nai Jeshurun Congregation’s leadership was shocked to learn of the April 18 arrest of Senior Rabbi Stephen Weiss, said Rebekah Dorman, President of the Congregation’s Board of Trustees.
“We acted quickly to suspend Rabbi Weiss immediately as Senior Rabbi,” she said. “He has been ordered to cease engaging in any congregational duties and been barred from the premises. We will have no other comment on this situation at this time.”
She said that Rabbi Hal Rudin-Luria, its long-time Rabbi, will immediately assume all Senior Rabbi responsibilities. “Rabbi Rudin-Luria, along with Cantor Aaron Shifman and Education Engagement Rabbi Josh Foster, are continuing to work together in support of our congregation and to provide the religious and educational experiences that we value so highly.”
Dorman noted that B’nai Jeshurun Congregation has been strong and vibrant for 156 years and faced many challenges along the way.
“We will continue on in that tradition as a synagogue family that supports and cares for each other in challenging times,” she said.
The synagogue has arranged for Jewish Family Service Association and Bellefaire JCB to provide confidential counseling for congregants and staff in-person and on Zoom.
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