Decades after abusing three boys at a Jewish private school in Brookline, Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt will hear directly from his victims for the first timeThursday.
Levitt, 66, pleaded guilty Wednesday to four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. He could receive up to 40 years in prison when a judge sentences him Thursday morning.
“This is a victory not just for the victims in this case, but for every person who suffered abuse at the hands of a trusted adult,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement.
In court Wednesday, Levitt admitted that he molested sixth-grade students at the Maimonides School during three separate incidents during the 1975-76 school year, authorities said.
Two of the assaults took place at Levitt’s home on Chiswick Road in Brighton; the third occurred while the child was recuperating at Boston Children's Hospital.
“The defendant’s full admission of guilt is proof positive that the men he abused as children were telling the truth when they finally shared the terrible secret they’d kept for so long,” Conley said.
Levitt’s lawyer, Scott Curtis, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The guilty plea marked a departure from Levitt’s earlier insistence of his innocence, but it was not the first time he had reversed his stance.
In December, Levitt had agreed to plead guilty but changed his mind at the last minute — leaving his victims, who had traveled to hear his plea, without the opportunity to address him directly.
In a hallway interview at the time, Levitt told the Globe, “The only victim here is me.”
Now, following his admission of guilt, Levitt will hear from two of the men who say he abused them as 11-year-olds. The victims will be in court tomorrow to read victim-impact statements and see Levitt’s sentencing, said Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for two of the victims and a specialist in sexual-abuse cases.
“My clients were willing to testify about the ugly horrors of being sexually abused as children. It’s a painful process, and the victims are to be commended,” he said.
While the Brookline abuse cases are the first in which Levitt has been convicted, they are not the first time he has been accused of sexually assaulting boys in the Orthodox Jewish community.
After leaving Massachusetts in 1980, Levitt was charged with molesting three boys in Philadelphia.
In the first of those cases, Levitt was found not guilty. In the second case, he pleaded no contest and received a five-year sentence of probation.
He was also cited for violating the terms of his probation by refusing sex offender treatment. In the third case, the alleged victim withdrew his charges.
“He has a history of sexual abuse,” Garabedian said. “Questions remain as to when the supervisors at Maimonides School learned that he was abusing children and what they did about it when they received that information.”
Representatives from the Maimonides School, where Levitt taught religious studies, did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
The school has said it takes a variety of measures to ensure the safety of students, including criminal background checks of its employees.