(JTA) – A Minnesota rabbi who works in student outreach was charged in a child sex sting conducted earlier this year.
Rabbi Aryeh Cohen faces two felony counts of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing conduct with a child, the Pioneer Press reported.
Some 17 people have been charged in recent days in the undercover operation.
In most of the cases, the men responded to ads posted on Craigslist by undercover agents posing as young women or men seeking a hook-up.
Cohen, 44, who has no prior record, was arrested in February outside an apartment in North St. Paul, where the federal agent posing as a 15-year-old suggested they meet after a week of communicating through a hook-up site, the Forward reported.
Cohen was the director of outreach for the Minneapolis Community Kollel, an Orthodox community centre that offers seminars and classes on Jewish texts and religious life. He ran the Kollel’s JWAY program for college students and recent graduates. He and his wife, Adina, also led private text studies with male and female students at the Hillel on the University of Minnesota campus, according to the Forward, though he was not employed by Hillel.
Cohen’s name was removed from the Kollel’s website.
The rabbi will appear in court in September. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.