Twin Cities rabbi charged after being caught in underage sex sting op

The 44-year-old worked as a rabbi and a director of youth reach.
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Aryeh Leiv Cohen

A rabbi is among around 20 men who have been charged as part of an underage sex sting operation carried out in the run-up to the Super Bowl.

Aryeh Leiv Cohen, a 44-year-old from St. Louis Park, has been relieved of his duties at the Minneapolis Community Kollel, a Jewish learning center where he was a rabbi and the director of youth outreach.

It comes after he was charged with solicitation of a child and engaging in electronic communications regarding sexual acts with a child, following a sting in Ramsey County in January.

According to the complaint, Cohen responded to a profile on the gay dating app Grindr, and struck up a conversation with a boy who said he was nearly 16 years old.

The boy was in fact an undercover police officer who exchanged messages with Cohen, whose profiled used the pseudonym "Sam."

During the conversation, Cohen asked the undercover officer who kind of sex acts he would like to perform, and made some suggestions of his own.

They arranged to meet up, even though because of the boy's apparent age of 15, Cohen wrote that "it's a little illegal."

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They exchanged photos as they arranged the meeting place, with the undercover officer saying he was "super dl" (down low) about being 15.

"Me too," Cohen replied. "Your secret is safe with me," and shortly after sent him a picture of his penis.

When he arrived at the arranged meeting place he was greeted by officers on the afternoon of Feb. 1. While being taken into custody, he said: "I sort of deserve it."

The Minneapolis Community Kollel told the Pioneer Press it was "shocked" by the charges, saying it had never received a complaint from anyone about Cohen.

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