Steve Karro, a 55-year-old rabbi on Miami Beach, is behind bars today on charges of molesting an 11-year-old girl. The alleged incident happened last month, but Karro told police that he was merely trying to cleanse the girl of her "negative energy."
Karro is a substitute rabbi at Shaare Ezra Sephardic Congregation. He also pursues a career as a fine artist, and indeed has his own art gallery on Arthur Godfrey Road. That's where the incident happened back on April 16.
Karro allegedly grabbed the girl's buttocks over her clothes at the gallery. He then sat the girl down on his lap and kissed her along the neck. The victim then ran out of the gallery, but not before Karro alleged gave her a bag of candy and told her not to tell her mother.
According to police, Karro has known the victim for five years.
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When questioned by police, Karro denied most of the charges but did admit to touching the girl's buttocks. However, he said the girl was "exhibiting negative energy" and touched her to "cleanse" her.
According to his artist website, Karro was born in Russia but raised in Jerusalem.
"With biblical education and art talent Karro blends world of art with depth of spiritual wisdom from the beginning of the world until the time of Mashiach," says the site. "His goal is to confront the world with light face to face."
Karro faces charges of molestation of a child under the age of 12 and lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 16. Police are asking any other possible victims to come forward. Anyone with more information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.