Orthodox Rabbi Gavriel Bidany, 47, was convicted yesterday of molesting a woman on a flight from Tel Aviv to New York. The victim is a 23-year-old Israeli officer who was groped twice by Bidany during the flight.
Bidany was accused of first fondling the woman’s genital area and then pulling back when she recoiled in her seat. A short time later, he then groped her breasts under her blanket. When she screamed “[w]hat are you doing, stop touching me!,” Bidany’s reply was “[i]t’s a mistake, I’m asleep.” Notably, she testified that this occurred only 90 minutes into a 12-hour flight.
The case was the ultimate “he said, she said” dispute that turned entirely on testimonial credibility since there was no forensic evidence and the only witnesses were to the victim’s reaction. Nevertheless, Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes found the victim’s testimony “compelling and wholly believable, while describing the testimony of Bidany as “not worthy of belief.” The conclusion of the court, therefore, is that Bidany is not just an assaulter of women but also a perjurer (though he was not charged with perjury).
Bidany could face six months on the conviction.
By the way, Bidany reportedly counsels Orthodox couples on marriage difficulties. He is described as a respected Rabbi in Israel who is often brought to New York to guide Orthodox couples.
Source: Smoking Gun