Cantor to cough up $8.4M for sex abuse

Boston Herald, September 15, 2006

By O'Ryan Johnson

The former cantor of a Randolph temple who sexually abused a mentally retarded woman for nearly two years must pay $8.4 million to her family, under a judgment filed against him yesterday in Norfolk Civil Court.

“For the family it’s a vindication that they really didn’t get in the criminal proceedings,” said their attorney, Adam Satin, with Lubin & Meyer, P.C.

Robert D. Shapiro, 73, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault and battery on a mentally retarded person in 2005, but cut a deal and managed to avoid jail time. He was sentenced to a year of house arrest and 10 years probation.

Satin said the woman Shapiro admitted to abusing was in her late 20s, but had the mental functioning of a 5- to 7-year-old child. Satin said Shapiro, due to his friendship with the family and his status in the temple, was the only person outside her family who was allowed to see her unsupervised.

“He was truly a trusted friend,” Satin said. “He was not just a religious leader. To have that come to light just devastated them. ”

The abuse happened between 2001 and 2003 in Shapiro’s car, the woman’s home, and the Randolph temple, Satin said. She relives the abuse each time something reminds her of Shapiro, whether it’s a car similar to his or an ice cream cone like ones Shapiro bought her.

“Her therapist said she is not equipped to handle the trauma,” Satin said. “When she sees a trigger . . . she would think and relive it as though it’s happening to her for the first time. ”.

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