Former cantor sentenced for sexually assaulting boy

Providence Journal/June 8, 2001
By Mark Arsenault

Warwick -- Under a plea bargain with the state, the former cantor and spiritual leader at Temple Am David received a 10-year suspended prison sentence for molesting a 12-year-old boy he was tutoring in preparation for the boy's bar mitzvah.

Stanley Rosenfeld, 67, whose address was listed by the police as 1445 Warwick Ave., Warwick, pleaded no contest May 21 to two counts of second-degree sexual assault on a person under age 14. Judge Edwin J. Gale sentenced Rosenfeld to 10 years in prison, suspended with probation, according to the court record. Gale ordered Rosenfeld to have no contact with the boy, and ruled he cannot work with minors without supervision, said Jim Martin, a spokesman for Atty. Gen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

The sentence agreement was reached after a number of conversations with the boy's mother and the family's lawyer, Martin said. The victim's family agreed with the disposition, he said.

The Warwick police began investigating Rosenfeld last July, after the boy complained to his family that Rosenfeld had touched him improperly, according to the police report.

The boy told the police that Rosenfeld began hugging him and slapping his rear end in 1999. Then, in September 1999, during a private tutoring session at the temple, Rosenfeld touched the boy's genitals through his pants, the police said.

The boy told the police that the touching continued at the temple on numerous occasions during tutoring sessions at the temple, the police said.

Rosenfeld, who married for the first time within the past two years, has no children, he told the police. He grew up in New York City and worked in the New York public school system for about 20 years, and worked about 10 years at a private Jewish academy in New York, according to the police.

He moved to Rhode Island about four years ago, and became the cantor at Temple Am David. As a self-taught cantor, he led religious instruction, hymns and prayers.

Temple Am David, 40 Gardiner St., is a conservative temple of about 225 families, said Herbert Singer, the temple's president.

Singer said Rosenfeld was also principal of the temple's Hebrew school, which provides religious education two days a week. And Rosenfeld filled in as the congregation's spiritual leader when the temple was without a rabbi, he said.

The police informed Singer last August that Rosenfeld had been arrested. Singer asked Rosenfeld for his resignation the next day, he said.

"The congregation was shocked at first," Singer said. "But we held together and we survived."

The police interviewed other children who had received private tutoring from Rosenfeld, and their parents, and found no other victims, the police said.

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