Lawsuit accuses rabbi, former New Haven Police commissioner, of child sexual assault

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NEW HAVEN -- A rabbi and former New Haven Police commissioner is being sued in federal court, accused of sexually assaulting a teenager hundreds of times when the boy was a student at an Orthodox Jewish boarding school in New Haven more than a decade ago.

The lawsuit said Rabbi Daniel Greer, the principal and rabbi for the all-boys Yeshiva of New Haven / The Gan School, sexually abused the plaintiff, Eliyahu Mirlis, now 28. Attorneys filed the lawsuit in federal court Tuesday seeking unspecified damages.

A statement released by the Mirlis' attorney Tuesday  said that the school allowed the abuse to continue. Mirlis attended the Yeshiva starting in the fall of 2002. The Yeshiva of New Haven/The Gan School are also named as defendants.

“He was a principal of the school,” said attorney Antonio Ponvert III, the lawyer for Mirlis. "He was a father figure to the victim, and he was chosen among a group of young boys as the chosen one that was going to have this special relationship with the rabbi.”

The suit said Greer “forced (the minor) to engage in acts of sex with him." It went on to say he frequently gave the youth alcohol and showed him pornographic films at the time of the rapes and assaults.

School administrators and employees “failed and refused to report suspected child sexual abuse at The School … to state child welfare and law enforcement authorities,” the lawsuit said.

The assaults occurred on school property and at two locations in Pennsylvania..

“We know that some of the harm was inflicted at motels,” said Ponvert. “So, there may be receipts, video footage.” But, Ponvert would provide no further information as to the evidence he has compiled over the past year.

The New Haven Police Department announced today they will be reaching out to Ponvert and can't act unless Mirlis files a criminal complaint. Ponvert says that if the state's attorney wants to move forward, Mirlis will cooperate.

There is a 30 year statute of limitations for both criminal and civil prosecutions in Connecticut.

“Dozens and dozens of times for a period of years, Greer sexually assaulted and abused a young boy in his care.  He was in his 60s.  The victim was a teenager.  The complaint describes a child-molester who, as all child-molesters do, preyed on a vulnerable child,” said Ponvert.

Greer's attorney, William Ward, said Greer denies the allegation. Ward asked the public to wait for evidence before rushing to judgment.

According to Ward, Greer has remained closed with Mirlis since the student graduated in 2005, and has been like a "godfather" to him. Greer even attended Mirlis' sister's wedding in the past year, Ward said.

Greer is out of state but will return home in the next couple of days.