Saturday, April 15, 2006

Update: Case of Rabbi David Lipman

Judge gives rabbi lifetime probation
The Daily Courier
April 14, 2005

PRESCOTT An articulate letter from the victim pleading with the court not to sentence former Rabbi David Lipman to prison for molesting her warranted him lifetime intensive probation on Thursday.

Yavapai County Superior Court Judge William Kiger said in his 12-year career as a judge he hasn't dealt with a more unusual and difficult case.

After listing all mitigating factors, Kiger read portions of the letter in which the victim said, "Don't punish me by sending (the defendant) to jail."

She said sending Lipman to prison would make her regret that she ever came forward with the accusations against him.

"I have never had this articulate presentation," Kiger said, explaining how the court has to listen to what the victim has to say in addition to fulfilling societal expectations when deciding "what is the just and right thing to do."

Kiger found that the mitigating circumstances outbalance the aggravating factors although he cited that Lipman's conduct with the victim was "a severe betrayal of trust" that lasted over a long period of time.

He said the betrayal caused severe harm that will take a long time to undo.

Before the sentencing, Lipman accepted the state's plea agreement pleading guilty to three Class 3 felonies of attempted molestation of a child and two Class 5 felonies of sexual abuse.

The conviction stems from an investigation that involved a 16-year-old girl who told the police that Lipman was giving her back massages to help her to fall asleep.

Lipman admitted on Thursday that he gave the victim backrubs on numerous occasions. Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Bill Hughes added that the 56-year-old defendant also attempted to touch her in the private area, after which Kiger found factual basis for the plea.

Although the defendant waived his right to have a pre-sentence report and a pre-sentence hearing and wanted to proceed immediately with the sentencing, Kiger told the defendant that he had not made up his mind about the punishment and wanted to schedule the sentencing at a later date. After a brief recess, however, the parties proceeded with the sentencing.

Although the state offered Lipman a probation-eligible plea, Hughes asked the judge to impose additional prison time consecutive to the sentence he is already serving in a separate case.

Lipman received a 13-and-a-half year prison term after pleading guilty to four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. These charges stem from a case that involved sexually explicit images that the police downloaded from Lipman's computer while he worked at Temple B'rith Shalom in Prescott.

Lipman's attorney, John Trebon, said that the court already imposed a substantial prison sentence in the first case and that it would be unjust to add more years to it. He said his client is very remorseful and had sought treatment on his own to identify the problems that he is facing.

"He has taken responsibility" for his actions, Trebon said. "He didn't offer any excuses."

Referring to the victim's letter, Trebon said, "For her recovery, she wants to speak to (Lipman), but not through prison walls."

"She doesn't want him to die in prison," Trebon said. "Please do not condemn them both. Give him a chance to come out after 13-and-a-half years."

Contact the reporter at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am outraged that Lipman did not receive additional prison time for what he did to the young girls.

April 15, 2006 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The girls are still young enough that they do not understand the full impact of what has happened. Give them a few years and it will hit them, like it did a lot of us. Perhaps at that time, they will also see that their mother did not protect them. I only hope THEY read this. Lipman did betray the trust of many people, including his own family. The recidivism rate is high, although they have tried to say it is not. Anyone who was affected by this man should step forward and let us know how this is not a new thing with Lipman. I understand that Judge Kiger had a difficult decision to make, but I feel that only additional jail time would have been fair for the heinous crimes Lipman committed.

April 15, 2006 10:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home