On Wednesday, April 28, a Miami Gardens Rabbi and Jewish day school teacher was arrested on four counts of child molestation charges. Yosef Benita, age 37, is a teacher at Lubavitch Educational Center, located at 7330 NW 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33169.
Yosef Benita voluntarily surrendered to the Miami Gardens Police Department and is being held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center for allegedly inappropriately touching a 10-year-old student during a tutoring session. The boy told his father on March 14 that his teacher intentionally touched him in his private area on three occasions and that Benita touched his own penis over his clothes. The alleged victim asked Benita to stop, but he continued, according to Miami-Dade police. The police also say that since the investigation started, a second alleged victim came forward.
School officials released a statement Wednesday night that reads, in part, “We take any claim of inappropriate behavior very seriously, which is why we immediately reported to the appropriate authorities.”
UPDATE: On July 27, 2021, it was reported that the criminal charges against Rabbi Yosef Benita were dropped based on a recording of a Zoom call between Lubavitch Educational Center and the child, where according to prosecutors, the child said that the rabbi tickled him, but did not touch his private parts. Faculty at the school also spoke to another child alleged to be a victim, who said, according to a close out memo from the State Attorney’s office, “…the defendant had touched him once as he was leaving the room and was not sure if the touching was an accident as it happened in passing.”
Schools are educational institutions in which children can learn and develop skills in a nurturing environment. It is expected that they are safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse. Teachers are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational needs of their students. Someone who sexually violates young children has no place tutoring or otherwise working in the school system. Any school in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for protect its students.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in schools and other educational settings. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped, or sexually molested by a principal, teacher, or another school employee, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.