Rabbi Aryeh Goodman was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Aug. 28 by U.S. District Court Judge Freda L. Wolfson, for his role in paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl who had been trafficked into prostitution in 2018. In addition to the prison term, Goodman was sentenced to a year of supervised release.
Goodman, former executive director of Chabad of East Brunswick, pled guilty in a Trenton courtroom this past April to interstate travel in aid of a racketeering enterprise to pay to have sex with a minor. He has until Nov. 6 to voluntarily surrender, according to Matthew Reilly, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark. Until he reports to prison, Goodman, 37, is under home curfew with electronic monitoring, and he will be limited in his use of a computer and cell phone. Attorney Eric Kanefsky did not return NJJN’s call for comment.
The 2018 complaint filed against Goodman alleged he responded to an online solicitation for sex with a 17-year-old and arranged to meet the girl from Lancaster, Pa., in an East Brunswick hotel. After they had sex, the rabbi allegedly offered to pay for an additional 30 minutes.
According to court documents, when law enforcement officials first approached Goodman and asked to speak with him about the teen, he “spontaneously uttered: ‘I only went there for a massage, I did nothing wrong, she looked young and I hope she is ok!’” He turned himself into the police in East Brunswick a week later.
Gabriella Colon and Richard Ortiz of the Bronx were charged with sex trafficking crimes for helping arrange the meeting. Ortiz was sentenced to 96 months in prison. Colon is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 26, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
The case, which was originally scheduled to be heard last year in Middlesex County Superior Court, was transferred in April 2018, on the day of the court hearing, to the federal level. The charge Goodman eventually pled guilty to carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Goodman previously served time in Pennsylvania for molesting a youth while a camp counselor in 2001.
Chabad of East Brunswick was affiliated with Chabad of Central NJ until 2013. Goodman with his wife, Ora Malka, launched in 2006 the satellite location, which included the Chai Early Childhood Center and the Chai Central Hebrew School for children ages 6-14. Ora Malka continues to run the independent Chai Early Childhood Center in East Brunswick.