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DA Hynes Takes on Child Sex Abusers; Seeks Re-Election Bid

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Charles Hynes

Charles Hynes

Charles Hynes

Sexually abused three boys over the course of ten years

On Thursday, February 7, Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes announced that Emanuel Yegutkin, 33, was sentenced to 55 years in prison, for sexually abusing three young boys over the course of 10 years.

“This strong sentence once again proves that the people of Brooklyn will not tolerate crimes against children. Hopefully this brings some closure to these child victims so they can go on to lead happy and productive lives,” said District Attorney Hynes.

In December of 2012, after three days of deliberation, a Brooklyn jury found Yegutkin guilty on 75 counts, including three counts of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree, two counts of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the Second Degree, and multiple counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The case is among a wave of sexual abuse cases involving Orthodox Jews that the Brooklyn DA Hynes is prosecuting after decades in which such prosecutions were rare. Another trial, involving Nechemya Weberman, an unlicensed religious counselor accused of molesting a girl he was treating produced a verdict of guilty and Weberman received a sentence of 103 years.

In December, Hynes issued a statement saying that Yegutkin’s case “should serve as a clear message that those who would sexually abuse children in this county will be punished severely. This violent sexual predator faces the remainder of his life behind bars.”

Prior to his apprehension in 2009, Yegutkin was the principal of Elite High School, a private Jewish school for Russian-Americans in Bensonhurst. He had volunteered for two summers at an Orthodox Jewish camp in the Catskill Mountains called Oorah’s Boy Zone, and was a volunteer for Hatzolah of Flatbush, the private Jewish ambulance service, according to statements from those organizations.

From 1996 to 2005, Yegutkin sexually abused two of the boys when they were ages seven to 15-years-old, and in 2008, exposed the third boy to pornography. He forced them to perform sex acts including fondling and oral sex. He also sexually abused the boy’s older brother, and molested them for years, in their home and elsewhere, officials said. All three victims testified in the trial.

According to a report in the New York Times, the victims did not attend either the camp or the school and both organizations have said they had no reports of improper behavior. But immediately following his arrest nearly four years ago, Yegutkin appeared to confess to the crimes.

According to court papers, Detective Steve Litwin of the police sex crimes unit in Brooklyn told Yegutkin in January 2009 that one boy said he was abused for the first time at age 7 in the basement guest room of his house. “Is he lying?” Mr. Litwin asked him.

“No,” Yegutkin had replied. “The details may not be exact, but he’s not lying.”

The case was prosecuted by Rachel Schmidt, First Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes Bureau and Lauren Traum, Senior Trial Attorney of the Sex Crimes Bureau. Rhonnie Jaus is Chief of the Sex Crimes Bureau.

Having served as Brooklyn’s DA since 1989, Hynes, 77, announced on Thursday, February 7, that he was seeking re-election, and if he should prevail, it will mark this seventh term in the position. In 2009, Hynes ran unopposed in the election.

At the press conference on Thursday, Hynes, a Democrat said, “I come here today to formally announce my candidacy for re-election as the Brooklyn district attorney.”

In the 23-plus years as Brooklyn’s district attorney, Hynes has brought forward several innovative programs with the goal of helping reintroduce non-violent felons back into society. Programs such as the Drug Treatment Alternative-to-Prison Program and ComALERT (Community And Law Enforcement Resources Together) has helped non-violent obtain treatment for drug addiction as well as provided a public safety program for individuals on probation or parole.

“Since 1990, we have created 29 comprehensive and progressive policies with the collective goal of reducing recidivism rates, which is the real key to increased public safety,” said Hynes.

Additionally, Hynes has also brought forward a program to reduce the amount of firearms on the streets of Brooklyn. The Cash for Guns program allows a citizen to hand over a firearm in exchange for money, no questions asked.

“Paying for guns at 30 churches in Brooklyn, we have removed 2,599 from the streets of Brooklyn,” said Hynes.

Hynes also announced that there were only 149 murders in Brooklyn, the lowest in the borough since 1960.

Many supporters of Hynes attended the press conference, which took place at Borough Hall, including New York City Councilmen Lew Fidler, Letitia James and Mathieu Eugene, Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Reginald Bowman, Chair of New York City Council of Housing, Robert Cornegy, 56th assembly district leader, Kim Best, President of the 79th Precinct Community Council, State Senator Martin Dilan, Borough of Brooklyn President Marty Markowitz and County Leader of King’s County Frank Seddio.

“This man is critical in the state of New York because he has proven that you can be tough on crime and be progressive at the same time,” said Fidler.

“I call Joe Hynes ‘America’s District Attorney’ and he is America’s District Attorney,” said Markowitz.

The election for King’s County District Attorney will take place on Sept. 14.

 

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