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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – A rabbi is in trouble with the law, accused of molesting a child and now police are searching for more possible victims.
Miami Beach Police arrested Steve Karro, 55, on Thursday.
Walking out of jail, Karro proclaimed his innocence.
“There was nothing inappropriate, nothing that I violated anybody’s right,” he said.
According to his arrest report, on April 16th, Karro “intentionally touched/grabbed the buttocks” of an 11-year old girl. The report also states he kissed her along her neck after having her sit on his lap.
Police said the alleged victim has known Karro for five years.
Karro told CBS4’s Maggie Newland he treated the girl no differently than anyone else.
“It was not touch, it was hug and the way I hug everybody, the way I hug all the kids, the way I caress the,m the way I give everybody love. It was the same like everybody else,” he said
“Was there kissing?” asked Newland.
“There was plenty of time kissing, hugging, yes,” Karro responded.
He insisted his actions were not inappropriate in any way.
Karro allegedly gave the girl candy and “told her not to tell her mother about what had happened.”
He explained that by saying he was talking to the child about keeping a present for her mother’s birthday a surprise.
Karro said he had past issues with the child’s parents.
Once he was arrested, police said, Karro denied the allegations, but said he touched the girl’s buttocks for a “‘cleansing,’ as she was exhibiting negative energy.”
“It’s something very simple – love, harmony, cleansing, nothing else,” he said outside of jail.
Karro is charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 12, and lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 16.
Karro was a substitute Rabbi at Shaare Ezra Sephardic Synagogue Congregation. The synagogue had no comment, but several people who know the rabbi supported him.
Rosa Haimov said, “I’ve known Rabbi Karro for many years and I do not believe he could do something like this. He only does good things to people only helps people.”
Miami Beach Police are asking for the public’s help to find anymore possible victims. Anyone with information in the case should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.