Park Rabbi arrested, charged in underage sex sting

Aryeh Leiv Cohen arrested amongst 42 other men during the Super Bowl

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Park Rabbi arrested, charged in underage sex sting

Rabbi Aryeh Leiv Cohen was employed by the Kollel until he was terminated after his July 31 charge.

Rabbi Aryeh Leiv Cohen was employed by the Kollel until he was terminated after his July 31 charge.

Grace Farley

Rabbi Aryeh Leiv Cohen was employed by the Kollel until he was terminated after his July 31 charge.

Grace Farley

Grace Farley

Rabbi Aryeh Leiv Cohen was employed by the Kollel until he was terminated after his July 31 charge.

Amaia Barajas and Grace Farley

Cohen, a prominent figure in the Orthodox Jewish community in St. Louis Park and Minneapolis was arrested Feb. 1 for two counts of sexual misconduct in Ramsey County, according to St. Paul Police.

According to the St. Paul Police report, Cohen, allegedly engaging in electronic communication relating or describing sexual conduct with a child and engaging in sexual conduct with someone believed to be a child charged with intent to engage in communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a minor and. Cohen is scheduled to appear before the court on Sept. 19.

The Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigations Task Force, St. Paul Police and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension apprehended Cohen in an undercover operation, according to the St. Paul Police report.

Junior David Khabie said he did not know or work with Cohen directly but recognizes the impact Cohen had on the Jewish community in Park and Minneapolis. Cohen was heavily involved within the Minneapolis and Park community, teaching and studying at multiple synagogues in Park and Minneapolis.

“He was obviously the head of Hillel at the University of Minnesota, which is a very tough position to hold and you’re with college students,” Khabie said. “People around the community really respected him and he was a really great guy and this really came out of the blue.”

According to the Minneapolis Kollel learning center, where Cohen was employed, they had no reason to believe he would do any wrongdoings.

“During the entire time Rabbi Cohen has been associated with the Kollel, the Kollel has never received a complaint of inappropriate conduct about Rabbi Cohen from anyone associated with the Kollel or outside the Kollel,” The Kollel Learning Center said.

Junior David Khabie said he did not know or work with Cohen directly but recognizes the impact Cohen had on the Jewish community in Park and Minneapolis. Cohen was heavily involved within the Minneapolis and Park community, teaching and studying at multiple synagogues in Park and Minneapolis.

“He was obviously the head of Hillel at the University of Minnesota, which is a very tough position to hold and you’re with college students,” Khabie said. “People around the community really respected him and he was a really great guy and this really came out of the blue.”

Khabie said the actions of Cohen should not affect the way people perceive the Jewish population.

“This really doesn’t reflect who Jews are and what the Jewish community is like in Minnesota and it’s just very unfortunate that this was very public and a lot of people knew about it,” Khabie said. “So there might be a tendency to judge Jews or the Jewish community here.”

According to the learning center they have cut ties with Cohen, with the hope of letting their members deal with this shocking news.

“The Kollel relieved Rabbi Cohen of his duties and he is no longer participating in any Kollel activities,” Kollel said. “The Kollel is deeply concerned about the health and well-being of our students, staff, and broader community and we hope and pray for healing and wellness for all who have been or may be affected during this troubling and difficult time.”

According to Khabie, even though they practice the same beliefs, this is a situation where the Jewish community should not be held accountable for another’s actions.  

“There is a Jewish lesson, which translates to ‘every Jew is responsible for one another’ I guess as a Jewish community our actions reflect one another and if this were to happen, essentially we’re all responsible for it,” Khabie said. “I don’t like to think of it like that, I mean Jews are together as one, we are one community, I think that one person doesn’t reflect our whole community, but in some ways we are responsible for wrongdoings within the community.”

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