Rabbis assistant gets 22-month sentence

LOS ANGELES — Yehudah Friedlander, a New York rabbi's assistant, has been sentenced to 22 months in a federal prison for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl who sat beside him on a flight from Australia to Los Angeles.

His sentence will begin Feb. 20.

Friedlander, who has five children, had earlier pleaded guilty to a federal charge of abusive federal contact with a minor. The rabbi's assistant touched the girl's breast and genitals during the May 31 flight.

"My reputation and my life as I knew it is gone," Friedlander, 44, said to U.S. District Judge Spencer Letts last Friday at the sentencing. "What I did to this victim and all the other victims in this case, such as my family, is inexcusable."

Friedlander is the assistant to Rabbi Israel Grunwald, who leads the Pupa Chassidic community in Boro Park, N.Y.

Grunwald also had been arrested in the incident, but charges were later dropped.