Rabbi Cleared of Rape Charges Speaks Out About Ordeal
Rabbi Bryan Bramly's had a nightmarish few months. Since March, he was suspected of raping a 7-year-old girl, publicly asked by his temple to resign, and considered by many to be just another religious leader to have a thing for little kids.
On Wednesday, Rabbi Bramly was vindicated. The rape charge was thrown out based on a lack of evidence, and Bramly can begin to try and repair his image.
We spoke to Bramly this morning and had a chance to ask him about the ordeal.
"Honestly, of course I'm bitter," he says. "My family will never be the same, my life will never be the same, my career will never be the same. [Being a rabbi] is my calling."
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Bramly was arrested -- at gunpoint, while at Temple Beth Shalom, the temple at which he serves -- in March of this year for an alleged rape that occurred in New York City in 2000.
He was shocked.
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office received the complaint about Bramly in August 2009 but never bothered to contact Bramly, or his temple.
Prosecutors, Bramly says, did no investigation during that time period and basically sat on the case until they got around to it.
"What were they doing in that time period," Bramly asks. "Why wait and why not bother to contact me?"
Bramly says the alleged victim was his daughter's best friend for years. The two met in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where the girl is from and Bramly has family.
The girls would often sleep over at each other's houses, even after Bramly's rabbinical career moved him across North America.
The girls remained friends and had occasional visits in New York City, Phoenix, and other places Bramly's work took him. The Bramlys would often go to British Columbia to visit family and rent a house, where the girl would often sleep over.
During the whole time the girls continued their friendship, no word of an alleged rape came up.
The girls drifted apart in recent years. Bramly says the victim spent the last two or three years in therapy, which is where the rape story probably was "implanted" to explain her psychological anguish.
"I hope this girl gets real help," Bramly says.
Bramly says after she was convinced that she was raped, she took her case to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors did little-to-no investigation into the case, he says.
"Their plan was 'put his picture in the press and wait for other victims to come forward,'" Bramly says.
It's rare in cases like Bramly's for there to be only one victim. But no other victims came forward.
Prosecutors conducted a secondary investigation (in reality it was the first actual investigation) and found inconsistencies in the girl's story.
We asked Bramly if he even remembered the night he was alleged to have raped the girl. He says "no, and neither did she. It never happened."
Following the investigation, prosecutors dropped all charges against Bramly.
The problems Bramly's faced since news of the accusation first broke have been significant.
His reputation has been forever smeared, and his relationship with the board of trustees at his temple has become strained, to say the least.
After his arrest, the board issued a press release announcing it had called for Bramly's resignation -- a further implication of his guilt before any actual investigation.
Bramly wouldn't discuss his current relationship with the board -- or whether he wants to continue his work with the temple -- because of legal action that may need to be taken in the future. However, he says he's hired an attorney that specializes in labor disputes.
"I'm a rabbi, and I intend to continue my calling as a rabbi," he says.