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Rabbi accused of groping sleeping plane passenger

by Brad A. Greenberg

April 20, 2011 | 6:47 pm

Here’s an awkward story for Pesach. Law school classmate and MOT Mike sends me word from The Smoking Gun that an Israeli rabbi has been charged with groping an asleep female passenger on his flight from Tel Aviv to New York:

Rabbi Gavriel Bidany, 47, was named earlier this month in a criminal information charging him with misdemeanor assault. A complaint sworn by FBI Agent Janet Ambrisco provides a detailed account of the March 27 incident on Delta Airlines Flight 269.

About 90 minutes into the 12-hour flight, Bidany allegedly reached over to the sleeping woman seated next to him and “placed his hand under her blanket, on her groin, and was groping her genital area.” When the victim, identified only as “Jane Doe” in the complaint, “jumped back,” Bidany “quickly removed his hand from her groin.”

The woman told the FBI that she then “pulled her blanket back over her head and body.” But minutes later, Bidany allegedly again “reached under the passenger’s blanket, this time groping the passenger’s breasts.”

“What are you doing, stop touching me,” she told Bidany. He replied, “It’s a mistake, I’m asleep,” according to Ambrisco. The female passenger “then left her seat to advise the flight crew of the incident.” Delta personnel confirmed to the FBI that the passenger had reported the inappropriate touching to them, and one crew member described the woman as “visibly shaken and frantic.”

As I’ve mentioned before, sexual abuse by religious leaders is not limited to Catholic priests.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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