Orthodox Rabbi Defends Psychiatrist Convicted in Sex Assaults

This article was first published in The Forward.

Sex Assault Shrink: Dr. Aubrey Levin, right, shown here walking to court in the Canadian city of Calgary, was convicted of sexually assualting patients. A rabbi defended him.

Sex Assault Shrink: Dr. Aubrey Levin, right, shown here walking to court in the Canadian city of Calgary, was convicted of sexually assualting patients. A rabbi defended him.

Fissures are appearing in Calgary’s Jewish community following the conviction of one of its members, a prominent forensic psychiatrist, for sexually assaulting patients. Dr. Aubrey Levin was sentenced on January 31 to five years in prison for abusing people involved with the province of Alberta’s criminal justice system who were sent to him for assessment and treatment.

Tensions began to rise among the western Canadian city’s approximately 7,500 Jews when Levin’s defense attorney announced to the court during a sentencing hearing that his client’s sexual assaults were only “minor” offenses, and then proceeded to read aloud a letter from Levin’s rabbi, Rabbi Yisroel Miller of House of Jacob Mikveh Israel, Calgary’s Orthodox synagogue.

The rabbi wrote that the psychiatrist is still loved and respected in the Jewish community and that “his humble manner and complete lack of arrogance endeared him to everyone.” The rabbi also pleaded for leniency for Levin, writing, “The bad does not erase all the good. I know all the goodness within him still remains. A prison term would be a death sentence for him.”

Nine counts had been originally brought against Levin, a 74-year-old immigrant from South Africa. A jury found him guilty of three, acquitted him of two, and was deadlocked on the remaining four, for which the judge in the case declared a mistrial.

Click here to read more and watch a news video.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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