A Monsey man who prosecutors say repeatedly had sex with an underage girl was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison, the Rockland County district attorney's office said.
Eliyahu Zarifa, of 252-H Kearsing Parkway, will remain on probation for 10 years following his release from prison, said County Court Judge William Nelson. Nelson also ordered that Zarifa register as a sex offender.
Zarifa, 46, pleaded guilty in August to one count of felony first-degree sexual conduct against a child, officials said.
He had sex with the girl, who had known him personally, starting when she was 10 and continuing for about six years, at a location in Spring Valley, officials said. The victim is now 17.
Around the time the girl complained about the abuse, Zarifa went on a trip to Israel. He returned to the U.S. shortly thereafter and was arrested after questioning by Spring Valley detectives on Aug. 31, 2011.
In a separate incident, Zarifa has been charged with receiving $4,018 in Medicaid benefits that he wasn't eligible for. He faces one count of felony third-degree grand larceny in connection with the benefits case.
Zarifa worked at B&H Photo Co. and Top Notch Staffing but didn't tell the Rockland Department of Social Services when he sought the benefits, prosecutors alleged.
That case is still pending.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Parietti of the county special victims unit prosecuted the case.
"The courage and poise displayed by the victim when she first came forward and during sentencing was undeniable," District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said in a statement. "In this case, the defendant occupied a position of trust, but chose to violate that responsibility in the most odious way, leaving a young woman physically and emotionally scarred. The lengthy prison sentence meted out by the court is more than warranted."
Zarifa's attorney in the sex abuse case, Kenneth Gribetz of New City, said Zarifa was remorseful at sentencing. "He expressed complete sorrow, he knew he was wrong and he apologized to the victim," Gribetz said.
"The victim spoke at the sentencing, and it was very emotional. You could hear a pin drop. He expressed his sorrow and regret ... and he begged the victim for forgiveness."