Ex-camp counselor at yeshiva-run camp withdrawing guilty plea in abuse case

(JTA) — A former counselor at a summer camp run by a yeshiva in Lakewood, N.J., wants to withdraw his guilty plea on charges of sexually abusing a male camper.

Yosef Kolko, 39, pleaded guilty in May, on the third day of his trial, to aggravated sexual assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and child endangerment while he was a counselor at a camp run by the Yeshiva Bais Hatorah School.

Kolko’s attorney filed a motion last week to withdraw his guilty plea, saying he had been pressured by his Orthodox Jewish community to enter the plea.

Kolko was to be sentenced this week in the case; the sentencing has been postponed due to the motion, according to the Asbury Park Press. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Oct. 17.

Kolko, who also was a teacher at Yeshiva Orchos Chaim in Lakewood, could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison, but state Superior Court Judge Francis Hodgson has said he would consider no more than 15 years, the Asbury Park Press reported at the time of Kolko’s plea.

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