Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jonathan Rapoport - Convicted Child Molester Lawyer

A former Stamford lawyer, convicted of molesting three boys in the 1990s, Monday pleaded for a special panel to restore his law license. "I wish to return to the only profession I have known, I ask you to conclude I am fit to do so," Jonathan Rapoport said during a hearing in Bridgeport Superior Court.

However, under questioning by the five members of the state's Standing Committee for Admission, the 54-year-old Rapoport admitted that in addition to the three children he was convicted of molesting, he had molested another three or four children since the 1970s.

The panel members — lawyers Edward Czepiga, Auden Grogins, Cindy Robinson, Robert Lotty and Carolyn Linsey — will make a recommendation to a three-judge Superior Court panel on whether to allow Rapoport to resume practicing law. The hearing was continued to March 10.

Rapoport, a Stamford resident, pleaded guilty in 2001 to three counts of risk of injury to a minor and was sentenced in Superior Court to 30 years, suspended after he served three years in prison, and followed by 35 years probation. He also had to register as a sex offender. He had been accused of repeatedly molesting three boys, from 4 to 6 years old, between 1992 and 1998. A psychologist who examined Rapoport in prison before sentencing stated in a report that the former lawyer fantasizes about having sex with children and admitted to sexually assaulting them.

Rapoport served a three-year prison term and is currently on probation. His release from prison sparked protests in the North Stamford neighborhood where he planned to live.

Residents circulated a petition seeking to force him out of the community. "I fully understand the intensity of the anger the parents of the victims feel," Rapoport told the panel. "I stole their trust and worse I stole the innocence of their children. I only wish I could explain to the victims and to you how I could have caused so much pain."

He said he has learned through therapy how to recognize the "triggers" that cause him to abuse children and vowed not to have any contact with children should he be allowed to resume practicing law.

Under questioning by panel members, Rapoport admitted there had been as many as "six or seven" children he molested since the 1970s. He did not say anything more about the other incidents, but acknowledged he had neither been charged nor sued for any other incidents. The criminal statute of limitations would have expired for those earlier

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