TOP CANTOR: I MOLESTED TOT NEPHEW
Howard Nevison, a 65 year old cantor, is charged with sexually assaulting his young nephew on three occasions between 1993 and 1997 while the boy was 3 to 7 years old. Nevison was sprung after posting $10,000 cash on $100,000 bond and surrendered his passport. Mayor Bloomberg defended the relatively low bail that was set to the Congregation Emanu-El cantor. He said, I don't know that this man is likely to flee, which is the purpose of bail - to prevent that. My understanding is that these allegations have been around for two or three years and that the management of the temple knew about them. If the guy was going to flee, he probably would have done so long before now and I assume that's what went through the judge's mind. Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said he was disappointed at the bail figure. And he took a slap at Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau, an Emanu-El trustee who decided not to fight the $100,000 bond. I felt the DA should have advanced our interests, Castor said. However, he added: I have no reason to suspect anything improper was done.
Nevison has surrendered to suburban Philadelphia authorities to face the charges of child sexual abuse. He faces two felony counts of indecent sexual intercourse and four misdemeanors, including assault and making threats against the boy, who is a child actor. If convicted on all counts, he could face 27 1/2 to 55 years in prison. Police had known about the allegations since about 1998, but did not pursue charges until the victim, who was undergoing therapy, was ready to confront the uncle. Lawrence Nevison, 59, who is Howard Nevison's brother and an uncle of the victim, and Lawrence Nevison's son, Stewart, 34, who lived with the victim's family for a time, have previously been convicted of molesting the boy in unrelated incidents. The boy testified against Lawrence Nevison at trial, but was afraid to confront his other uncle.
On April 17, 2002, Howard Nevison was ordered to stand trial on the child sex-assault charges after a judge heard testimony from the alleged victim. During cross-examination, Ralph Jacobs, one of Nevison's four lawyers, asked the boy if he was confusing Nevison with another relative, suggesting the cantor's weight had changed significantly over time. No, it was my Uncle Howard, the boy responded tersely. Let's put it this way. If my mother gained or lost 100 pounds, I would still know who it is because it's family.
On June 13, 2006, Howard Nevison pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his nephew. He acknowledged that the assaults occurred when he visitied Philadelphia relatives, but did not admit to all of the prosecution's allegations. He faces up to 19 years in prison but could get probation. The other two men have served time for also sexually assaulting the boy.