Jurors in the sexual assault trial of New Haven Rabbi Daniel Greer heard testimony Wednesday from the accuser’s wife.
Shira Mirlis, wife of the complainant, testified that her husband is a closed book, doesn’t trust anyone, and is emotionally disconnected.
She told Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Maxine Wilensky she met the alleged victim, Eliyahu Mirlis, when they were in Israel in 2005. She said their relationship quickly became serious and that he told her within that year that he had been molested by the rabbi.
Mirlis, 31, says he was repeatedly raped and molested by Rabbi Greer when he was a student at the Yeshiva of New Haven school in the early to mid-2000s.
Greer faces charges of second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. The state’s case focuses on the first couple of years when Mirlis was under the age of 16.
Shira Mirlis, his wife, said she didn’t know specifics about the alleged abuse until 2013, after she and her husband had moved to a house they bought in New Jersey. She said that’s when Mirlis told her graphic details.
During her testimony, Shira said she expressed her frustration and couldn’t understand why her husband continued to rely on Greer and always stayed in contact with him. They made trips to New Haven for traditional holidays.
Shira said it didn’t make sense to her. She said she supported her husband because it seemed like something he needed. He had a need to still be part of that community, she said.
During cross-examination, she told Greer’s attorney, William Dow, that she felt “the whole New Haven community was twisted and uncomfortable.”
Two psychologists also testified Wednesday. One is a school psychologist who investigates child sexual abuse. The other works with victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse with a focus on the Orthodox Jewish community.
Both testified about why victims often delay disclosing their abuse and how sexual trauma can play a role in a victim's inability to recall details about their experiences. They also talked about the complexity of emotions and how victims can love and care about their abusers.
Dow stressed that neither psychologist had ever interviewed Mirlis or Greer.
The trial continues Thursday.