Search continues for Arizona rabbi accused of sex abuse

phoenix | Police have few leads in the search for an Arizona rabbi accused of sexually abusing two teenage girls.

Temple B’rith Shalom in Prescott, Ariz., is quietly carrying on without Rabbi David Lipman, who was reported missing by his family May 24, shortly after the allegations surfaced.

Lt. Pete Hodap of the Prescott Police Department said police have contacted immigration authorities “to make sure that (Lipman) hasn’t left the country.”

“We’re trying to put a flag on his passport,” Hodap said, “to hopefully keep him from leaving the country, if that’s what his thoughts are.”

Detective Robert Peoples said June 14 that there were “no leads yet.”

“No news,” Peoples said. “Don’t know where he is, no one’s talking, no one knows, apparently. Unfortunately.”

According to Yavapai County’s The Daily Courier, two girls, ages 16 and 14, told police Lipman had been touching them inappropriately.

Peoples said his department received a call May 13 from a Child Protective Services employee who reported possible sexual abuse of the girls. The call prompted a criminal investigation against Lipman, who “admitted to inappropriate touching,” Peoples said.

B’rith Shalom placed Lipman on administrative leave May 20 and then fired him effective May 27.

Lipman, 55, was hired in the spring of 2002 and moved to Prescott from a position in Rhode Island. He was the second full-time rabbi to serve Prescott’s only Jewish congregation.

He is the son of Rabbi Eugene Lipman, who was president of the Reform Movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis from 1987 to 1989. He and his wife, Robyn Tevah, have five children.

Mark Drutz, an attorney and B’rith Shalom member who has been acting as spokesman for the temple, said lay services are being offered on Shabbat, and that the temple’s prior rabbi is helping out.