Crime

Miami Beach Rabbi Accused of Molestation May Have Tried to Buy Off Victim's Mother UPDATED

Update: According to a report in the Miami Herald, Steve Karro had originally been charged with lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor but agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge in December of 2015. The judge in the case said the charge would be dropped if Karro completed a sentence of nine months' probation. Court documents indicate that his record was expunged in December of 2017.

Steve Karro, a substitute rabbi at Shaare Ezra Sephardic Congregation and a well-known local artist with his own gallery in Miami Beach, was arrested last month on charges that he molested an 11-year-old girl. Now the child's family claims Karro handed the alleged victim's mother $500 in cash just days before his arrest in order to buy her silence. 

Karro was a friend of the family and had known the girl most of her life. The incident happened April 16 at Karro's Arthur Godfrey Road gallery, where he allegedly grabbed the girl's buttocks, sat her on his lap, and kissed her neck. The girl ran off but claims Karro gave her a bag of candy and told her not to tell her mother. Karro says he was simply trying to "cleanse" the girl of "negative energy." 

The family has since retained the services of lawyer Jeff Herman, well known for defending victims of sexual abuse cases, including those in the Catholic Church, and now claims Karro tried to buy the family's silence. 

A video shows Karro showing up at the mother's job at a restaurant and handing her an envelope. The mother claims it contained $500 cash and turned it over to Miami Beach Police. Karro told Local 10 that the money was for something else but refused to elaborate, citing advice from his legal counsel. 

Herman, however, claims the family has now been banished from their synagogue. 

“The reaction has been disgusting. They’ve been attacked. They’ve been ostracized. We’ve seen victim shaming,” the attorney told CBS 4
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Kyle Munzenrieder