U.S. Report

TRENTON (JTA) — A New Jersey grand jury has charged a former Orthodox Union official with having sexual contact with two young girls at a religious high school in Ocean Township.

According to a statement from the Monmouth County prosecutor, Rabbi Baruch Lanner, who was principal of the Hillel Yeshiva High School, molested the girls — both younger than 16 — inside his school office on numerous occasions.

Lanner resigned last summer from his post at the O.U.'s National Conference of Synagogue Youth after he was accused of harassing and molesting scores of teenagers in the youth group. In a statement Wednesday, the O.U. called Lanner's alleged behavior at NCSY "repugnant," but noted that it was not related to the New Jersey indictment.

Lanner, who denied the NCSY accusations, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He is expected to be arraigned in several weeks.

Supremacist bargains to get lesser sentence

SAN DIEGO (JTA) — A man who published a white supremacist Internet newsletter pleaded guilty to civil rights violations for threatening a Jewish congressman and other officials and for vandalizing two area synagogues.

Under last Friday's plea bargain, Alex James Curtis, 25, will serve no more than three years in prison. Curtis also agreed to apologize to his victims and not to advocate white supremacist doctrine during an additional three years of probation.

In related news, a white supremacist pastor was sentenced to 30 years in prison in Missouri on Monday for abducting six of his grandchildren and keeping them at his farm to indoctrinate them.

During his trial, the Rev. Gordon Winrod repeatedly referred to the court as "the Jewdiciary," but denied that he hated Jews. Winrod has been linked to the Christian Identity movement, which considers white Christians superior to people of color and Jews.

ADL reports spike in N.Y. anti-Semitism

NEW YORK (JTA) — Anti-Semitic incidents across the United States rose by 4 percent in 2000, according to the Anti-Defamation League's annual audit of anti-Semitism in the United States.

Such incidents rose by 50 percent in New York City, according to the audit. The increase here probably reflects reactions to Israeli-Palestinian violence and better reporting, the ADL says.