A rabbi formerly from Woodcliff Lake was sentenced to a plea-bargained six years in state prison for sexually assaulting a local boy in 1999 when he lived in town.
Menachem M. Weiss, 47, must serve at least three years of the sentence handed down Monday in Superior Court in Hackensack before being eligible for parole, authorities said.
He also must register as a sex offender and avoid contact with the victim or his family.
“It was heart-wrenching to hear the victim describe [during the sentencing] how the abuse turned his life upside down and how it has impacted him for two decades,” said Meyer Seewald, founder and director of Jewish Community Watch.
“At the same time, hearing this warrior’s incredible determination inspired me tremendously and I am thankful to have been there to witness his courage,” Seewald added in a statement. “No one can imagine what kind of bravery it takes to stand up and speak your most painful truth.
“It took superhuman courage for this victim to come forward, and he and the other alleged victims deserve overwhelming support from the community,” Seewald’s statement continued.”
“Mendy” Weiss had moved to Los Angeles, was married and worked as a teacher when he was taken into custody by Port Authority police and brought to Bergen County in March 2018.
Four months earlier, Woodcliff Lake police “received information that a juvenile male was sexually assaulted by Rabbi Menachem Weiss between January and June 1999, while Rabbi Weiss resided in Woodcliff Lake,” according to a release issued at the time by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
An investigation produced a grand jury indictment that charged Weiss with two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault of the boy, who records show was in his mid-teens.
Weiss secured a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty earlier this year to one of the counts.
Menachem Weiss worked in Los Angeles schools and shuls for many years prior to his arrest.
Various Los Angeles Jewish institutions still list Menachem Weiss on their websites, including the Nessah synagogue and the Sephardic Temple in Westwood: