DOCUMENT: Sex, Crime

FBI Busts Rabbi For In-Flight Groping

Unorthodox behavior came on flight from Tel Aviv

Airplane Passenger

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Alleged Rabbi Groper

APRIL 14--An Israeli rabbi flying to New York from Tel Aviv allegedly twice fondled a female passenger as she slept, and when the woman angrily confronted him, he claimed, “It’s a mistake, I’m asleep,” according to federal court records.

Rabbi Gavriel Bidany, 47, was named earlier this month in a criminal information charging him with misdemeanor assault. A complaint sworn by FBI Agent Janet Ambrisco provides a detailed account of the March 27 incident on Delta Airlines Flight 269.

About 90 minutes into the 12-hour flight, Bidany allegedly reached over to the sleeping woman seated next to him and “placed his hand under her blanket, on her groin, and was groping her genital area.” When the victim, identified only as “Jane Doe” in the complaint, “jumped back,” Bidany “quickly removed his hand from her groin.”

The woman told the FBI that she then “pulled her blanket back over her head and body.” But minutes later, Bidany allegedly again “reached under the passenger’s blanket, this time groping the passenger’s breasts.”

“What are you doing, stop touching me,” she told Bidany. He replied, “It’s a mistake, I’m asleep,” according to Ambrisco. The female passenger “then left her seat to advise the flight crew of the incident.” Delta personnel confirmed to the FBI that the passenger had reported the inappropriate touching to them, and one crew member described the woman as “visibly shaken and frantic.”

Saul Bienenfeld, Bidany’s lawyer, declined today to discuss the case against his client, but said that the rabbi “asserts his total innocence” and contends that the alleged sexual contact “never occurred.”

Following his arrest, Bidany posted $250,000 bond and was ordered to surrender his passport and limit his travels to the New York City metropolitan area. At his April 5 arraignment, the Orthodox rabbi sought permission to return to Israel, though that request was denied by a magistrate judge.

In a subsequent motion, Bienenfeld asked for his client’s curfew to be relaxed since during the Passover holiday he “needs to be in synagogue past 9 PM” and “wishes to see more of those individuals who seek advice in communities that are not near the area that he is sleeping.” At the time, Bidany was staying at a residence on Long Island.

Bidany’s bail package was further modified yesterday, when a judge agreed to allow him to travel to Israel from April 14 to May 1. In a motion, Bienenfeld said that his client wanted to return to Israel “for the Passover holiday,” and had also recently learned that his father is “gravely ill.” Bidany’s bond was increased to $500,000 by Magistrate Judge James Orenstein.

The rabbi’s trial is scheduled for May 4. (6 pages)

Comments (28)

a simple case of sleep sex. it is a real common occurrence... i have it happen often...
It's May 2nd. Wonder if the good Rabbi showed up for his court date.
Heh, just practice for a job with the TSA.
And he's not a flight risk, seeing as how he's from Israel instead of the US and he wants to go to Israel?
It is amazing to me that while the American justice system provides for a person to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, yet readers and people alike without knowing the individuals involved presume this suspect guilty. America, wake up!!!! No person, women included would be sexually molested and merely cover themselves and wait for it to happen again. The phrase that comes to mind is "liar, liar pants on fire!!!!!"
OMG how easy it became to ruin someone's reputation, just because she's a female her word is worth so much? what if he's Innocent who is going to fix that???
let me ask you guys something, if he had really ''touched" her the first time why didnt she get up and punch him yet alone scream. She let it happen a second time and all she did was cover her self?!? give me a break ,Maybe she just had a problem sitting next to an innocent religious man!!!!??
Call me ignorant, but in such cases, why is it always a he said/she said thing, and the man is always assummed guilty until proven innocent? Do you know how easy it would be to smear a good mans repuatation with one false accuasation? And 250K bail! Give me a break. Even if he did this and it was wittnessed by a dozen trustworthy people, why all the fuss? A night in jail and a stiff fine after the mandatory slap in the face by her and the bloody nose from her husband, that would all that need be required. We are not talking like he bashed her head in with a baseball bat, get over it lady. This is a creepy nasty thing, but I be I you will survive, trust me on this.
Pretty fly for a rabbi
Well at least he was groping a grown woman instead of a little boy.
How much do you want to bet that he doesn't come back?
she should have had a "mistake" of her own.. like rabbit-punching Rabbi Grab-ass in his Matzo balls.
A priest and a rabbi are sitting on a park bench when a 12 year old boy walks by. The priest says, "Should we Fark him?" The rabbi says, "Out of what?"
Making this about religion is akin to reporting that all molesters and rapists are victims of religious sexual repression. This is not about him being a rabbi, it's about him liking boobies and being a molester. Also, did you ever notice how SG spell-checker suggests capitalizing the words "muslims" and "jews", but not "catholics"? Just an observation.
@ deniselam- I had no idea Rupert Murdoch was a Jew.
My comments have apparently been deleted - but yes - Murdoch's a Jew. His mother was Elizabeth Greene. Australian Jewess.
No! Wait! I have had second thoughts. It was THE bush's fault. Wait! It was a burning bush. Oy, stop, enough already.
Give him 5 Hail Mary's and send him back home. It works for the other guys apparently. In all seiousness though, you can't blame the Rabbi. As we all know, it was Bush's fault.
It's new UNorthodox food program: Feels on Wheels - Happy Landing!
Silly Rabbi, Rape is for priests
Good one!
Another sexually repressed religious figure believing he has a god-given right to molest people.
on the bright side, at least it wasn't an underage boy.
Only because he was asleep. You heard him "it's a mistake".
Oy vey!!! He was just schlepping along on the plane, fell asleep and dreamed about warm oozing chicken fat and patschkieing while schvitzing all over the place, but she was meshugeneh to make such an charge against an innocent macher. The chutzpah of lady!!!
Whatta putz!
"It's a mistake, I'm asleep" - truly inspiring words.
Sounds like he could have gotten away with it if he only did it once. Note to self: only grope once...