Man who said rabbi sexually abused him awarded $15 million - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Man who said rabbi sexually abused him awarded $15 million

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Rabbi Daniel Greer. (New Haven Independent photo) Rabbi Daniel Greer. (New Haven Independent photo)

A federal jury has awarded $15 million to a New Jersey man who accused a prominent Connecticut rabbi of repeatedly raping and molesting him when he was a teenager.

Rabbi Daniel Greer and his Yeshiva of New Haven were ordered Thursday to pay Eliyahu Mirlis $15 million in compensatory damages.

"The truth won out, and it was a very ugly trial," attorney Antonio Ponvert said. 

Mirlis alleged in a lawsuit Greer sexually abused him for three years while he was a student at the Jewish boarding school from 2001 to 2005. Greer was the school's principal.

The victim alleged the abuse happened on school property, at Greer's New Haven home, and in motels in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Ponvert said he believes Greer's decision to invoke his fifth amendment right, helped sway the jury.

"He didn't just take the 5th. He only took the 5th for things he didn't want to talk about," Ponvert said. "He was very manipulative. It was very clever and I think the jury saw through it."

The Associated Press generally doesn't name people who say they were sexually abused, but Mirlis' attorney says he wanted to come forward.

Greer has denied the allegations and has not been criminally charged.

Greer's attorney says he and his client are "extremely disappointed" and intend to pursue an appeal.

"We are deeply disappointed with the jury's verdict, and will pursue all possible options to challenge it, including an appeal," the defense team for Greer said in a statement on Friday. 

With an appeal on the way, the question is whether or not Ponvert's client, will see the $20 million awarded to him and his attorneys.

"I don't know what the insurance situation is. Its never been quite clear. I do know the school has assets, Rabbi Greer has assets," Ponvert said. "You can be sure that we're going to lock those down and prevent them from fraudulently from conveying anything. What there will be there when we finally dig into it I'm not quite sure, but I can tell you it will continue until every single penny this man owes is paid." 

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.