Three New Jersey rabbis convicted in forced divorce scheme

April 22, 2015 04:02

Three Orthodox Jewish rabbis were convicted in New Jersey on Tuesday of conspiracy to commit kidnapping in a scheme to force men to grant divorces to their unhappy wives under Jewish law.

Two of the rabbis were convicted as well of attempted kidnapping in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, according to the office of one of the defense attorneys.

The case before US District Judge Freda Wolfson hinged in part on the testimony of an undercover FBI agent who posed as an Orthodox Jewish wife seeking a divorce.

Prosecutors said the rabbis operated a ring that kidnapped or tried to kidnap men and tortured them with beatings and stun guns until they agreed to divorce.

Rabbis Mendel Epstein, 68, Jay Goldstein, 60, and Binyamin Stimler, 38, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, according to the office of lawyer Aidan O'Connor, who represented Goldstein.

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