New Haven Rabbi awaits court date following sexual assault arrest

NEW HAVEN - After being found liable in a federal civil lawsuit, stemming from a series of alleged sexual assaults, a New Haven Rabbi is gearing up to answer to criminal charges of sexual assault and risk of injury.

Rabbi Daniel Greer, 77, a former Police Commissioner in New Haven, and outspoken opponent of gay marriage, stands accused of sexually assaulting Eli Mirlis, a male student at New Haven's Yeshiva school, from 2001 to 2005. Greer was then the school's dean.

"Initially this came in through the reporting person's attorney," said Officer David Hartman, the spokesman for New Haven Police Department. "The investigation certainly supported probable cause."

Mirlis, who claims he was 15 when the years of sexually assaults began, was awarded $15 million a civil suit judgment against Greer in May. He alleges,  according to the arrest warrant affidavit, a sexual relationship began during his sophomore year.  Mirlis, now 29, told police that whenever he refused to meet with Greer, he was threatened with bad grades and even expulsion.

A resident of Greer's West Park Avenue neighborhood, says the news is troubling, but, she also adds, he's done a lot of good for the area.

"He and his organization have rehabilitated and renovated homes in this neighborhood, brought in stable tenants and made the neighborhood very safe," said Susan Lamar.

But, safe is not how Mirlis felt. When the alleged sexual assaults were first reported to police in August of 2016, Mirlis described Greer's body in detail, for police, including a large scar high on one of his legs, near his testicles, and a mole on his Greer's back. Last month, New Haven police videotaped Greer, both clothed and unclothed, and found the alleged victim's statement about the body markings was true.

Greer's attorney, during the civil case, William Ward, says his client had been relatively close to Mirlis since he graduated from the Yeshiva School. Ward says Greer has been like a godfather to Mirlis and that the Rabbi was even a guest at the wedding of Mirlis’ sister within the past two years.