Former rabbi pleads guilty, faces 18 months in prison

EAST BRUNSWICK – A former rabbi who is a registered sex offender has pleaded guilty to paying an individual so he could have sexual relations with a 17-year-old.

On Feb. 1, 2018, Aryeh Goodman, 36, of East Brunswick, found an advertisement for prostitution-related services on the internet, according to a plea agreement reached between Goodman and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Goodman traveled to a pre-arranged location in East Brunswick intending to solicit and engage in prostitution by paying for sexual acts, according to the plea agreement. Goodman paid an individual associated with the 17-year-old girl so he could have sex with the teenager, according to the agreement.

Goodman and the U.S. Attorney agreed to a sentence of 18 months imprisonment and one year of supervised release for the charge contained in the information is reasonable, according to the plea agreement.

Goodman signed the agreement on March 15, according to the U.S. Attorney.

While Goodman was performing in a religious capacity at a Jewish religious center out of his home in East Brunswick, and may have affiliation with another center on Lexington Avenue in the township, he and his center are not affiliated with the Chabad Lubavitch movement, according to a statement from Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief James Conroy of the East Brunswick Police Department.

According to a Pennsylvania State Police report obtained in 2013, a 23-year-old male told authorities in the summer of 2012 he had been assaulted by Goodman when he was 12 years old and attending Camp Menachem in Pike County, Pennsylvania, in 2001. Goodman was a counselor at the camp and would have been about 18 years old.

Regarding that incident, Goodman was charged with 12 counts of indecent assault of a juvenile. Under Pennsylvania state law, indecent assault is considered a first-degree misdemeanor since the complainant was under the age of 13 at the time of the alleged assault.

Goodman faced five years in prison on each count in connection with that incident. Neither Goodman’s attorney at the time, Michael E. Weinstein of Milford, Pennsylvania, nor the Pike County District Attorney’s Office could be reached.

In connection with the case, officials said Richard “Ace” Ortiz, 23, and Gabriella Colon, 19, both of the Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to informations charging them with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child, according to the U.S. Attorney.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, from January through February 2018, Ortiz and Colon recruited, enticed and advertised a minor, knowing that person was under 18 and would be forced to engage in commercial sex acts.

Colon and Ortiz acknowledged having transported the teenager from New York to New Jersey and admitted collecting money from numerous individuals who paid to have sexual relations with the teenager.

Colon admitted to photographing the teenager in various states of undress and posting the photographs on a website advertising the teenager for sexual services.

The count to which Ortiz and Colon pleaded guilty carries a maximum term of life imprisonment. Sentencing for Colon is scheduled for May 13 and sentencing for Ortiz is scheduled for May 14.