Miami Beach rabbi arrested on molestation charges out of jail

Steve Karro, 55, says he touched girl's buttocks for 'cleansing' after she exhibited negative energy

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A substitute rabbi at a Miami Beach synagogue who is facing charges after police said he inappropriately touched an 11-year-old girl last month is now out of jail.

Steve Karro, 55, was arrested Thursday on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child and lewd and lascivious conduct on a child.

According to an arrest report, Karro, who is a substitute rabbi at Shaare Ezra Sephardic Congregation, intentionally grabbed the buttocks of the victim April 16 while they were at the Karro Art Gallery.

Police said Karro also kissed the girl's neck after sitting her on his lap. Police said the rabbi and victim have known one other for five years.

According to detectives, Karro denied some of the allegations, but said he touched the victim's buttocks for a "cleansing as she was exhibiting negative energy."

Karro told Local 10 News as he walked out of jail Thursday night that he is innocent.

"Not guilty, definitely," Karro said.

Karro said he felt sorry for the girl, telling Local 10 that somebody was "dictating her how to act, how to say, what to say."

The rabbi said a mother's "jealousy" is the reason for the allegations.

"If they don't have their ways, they will hunt you down all the way," Karro said.

Parents who believe their children might have been victimized by Karro are asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Follow Hatzel Vela on Twitter @hatzelvela

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