Miami Beach

Miami Beach rabbi accused of fondling girl accepts plea

CBS4

Rabbi Steve Karro
Rabbi Steve Karro

A Miami Beach rabbi accused of sexually molesting an 11-year old girl at his art gallery has taken a plea deal.

Rabbi Steve Karro was originally charged with lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor.

On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of battery. The judge said the case would be completely dropped after Karro serves nine months of probation.

The deal did not sit well with the girl’s mother who vehemently opposed it. She addressed the court for 15 minutes urging the judge not to sign off on the deal. She said Karro should be a registered sex offender.

In the end, however, the prosecution, the defense and the judge agreed that if the case were to go to trial, Karro would not be convicted.

“I gave it my all; I gave it my best; I wanted him prosecuted as a sexual offender," the girl's mother said after the hearing. "But they gave him a misdemeanor, so hopefully it will never happen again. God forbid, it should happen to another child. I did my best.”

Last May, Karro was arrested after he allegedly fondled the girl over her clothing and kissed her repeatedly on the neck. He admitted to it saying he was merely trying to cleanse the child of negative energy.

“He told the world, in order to justify his guilty actions, that what he did was nothing other than a cleansing – love and harmony,” the girl’s mother said. “Who does this to children, without their parents’ knowledge and consent? There is no cleansing, no love or harmony that could possibly result from this crime.”

Karro’s attorney said the rabbi was innocent of any wrongdoing and was wrongfully convicted in the media. He added that Karro passed two lie detector tests and the results showed he was being truthful when he said his touching of the girl was not in a sexual manner. However, polygraph exams are not admissible in court because they have been demonstrated to be unreliable at times.

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